How significant is the influence of the metaverse? Will it significantly change our habits and online activity, or can it be incorporated into the current trajectory of technological development?
The metaverse has the potential to change the game, affecting everything from mobile slots to the latest virtual reality (VR) technology. Technically, we already have the technology it needs to function, but the main problem holding it back is that many technologies do not share a common platform.
So what exactly is the metaverse? And what technologies need to be integrated for it to succeed?
Defining the metaverse
The metaverse allows its users to create a digital identity. In theory, this “avatar” will have access to any digital platform, regardless of which company owns it. It also allows users to transfer digital assets between these platforms without restrictions.
To make this dream a reality, platform developers need to embrace integration, which is a hard sell when you consider how competitive the tech industry is.
As a basic example, let’s say you’re a metaverse user and you’re on a platform owned by a tech giant. You have just purchased a digital asset on this platform, such as a car or clothing. In the current technology landscape, you will have to accept that your purchase can only be used on that particular platform.
You wouldn’t be able to use that asset on another platform, and that’s when the biggest challenge for the metaverse comes into play. See, the metaverse wants digital personas that can be transferred between platforms, and the tech industry is not one to take platform sharing lightly.
First, it goes against the competitive nature of the industry. Second, it would mean proprietary technologies would have to be shared between billion-dollar companies.
Several tech giants are mulling this conundrum as we speak. The main problem that stops many companies is that if they all agree to share the metaverse, wouldn’t that make the owner of the metaverse the one who comes out on top?
The answer depends on various factors, the most important of which is the integration aspect. How do we get all these technologies and platforms to work seamlessly together when they are owned by completely different companies with different design philosophies?
If we can reach an optimal level of technological integration and find common ground for these technological companies, the metaverse may yet become the way of the future. But which technologies require integration? Let’s look at the three most prominent types of technology relevant to our discussion.
The immersive nature of the metaverse would be impossible without Augmented Reality (XR) technology. XR is an umbrella term for VR, Augmented Reality (AR) and Mixed Reality (MR).
Devices giving access to the metaverse must have at least some form of XR capability. However, some XR devices are less practical than others. VR is still expensive in the grand scheme of things, and only a focus on accessibility can make it a mainstream platform for mass adoption.
On the other hand, AR devices (like your smartphone) are affordable but not as immersive as their VR counterparts. Only time will tell which XR category will ultimately win. We may end up with a mix of XR devices, essentially leaving the choice up to the individual.
Artificial intelligence (AI) is another key area of technology for the metaverse. It has the potential to affect multiple aspects of the metaverse, from avatar creation to world generation.
Through machine learning and data analysis, AI can streamline the user experience. It can collect biometric data and create databases, automatically translate languages and even measure our behavior patterns.
After all, AI is very versatile and can improve the efficiency of multiple metaverse systems. However, there’s simply no way of knowing what the extent of AI’s influence will be. For all we know, the whole system may eventually work.
Digital currency can play a huge role in the metaverse. Cryptocurrencies and non-fungible tokens (NFTs) have been around for several years, but they have yet to cross over into the realm of “accepted norms”.
The decentralized nature of crypto may be just what the metauniverse needs. Ultimately, the main concern right now is the lack of control for platform providers and the end user. Corporations and conglomerates will be the ones holding all the proverbial cards, especially when it comes to information control.
If NFTs and crypto coins like Bitcoin and Ethereum can facilitate safe and secure transactions, then we won’t have to worry about currency conversion and international trade policies. Everyone will have the same payment system, which will make cross-platform integration of goods and services much easier to implement.