What will the Metaverse bring? Some parts of it are already here with for instance gaming where you can be present in the Metaverse by your avatar. But what will it look like in 2040? A majority of experts say that by then, the Metaverse will for a half billion people or more globally be a well-functioning part of daily life.
US-based Pew Research Center and Elon University have collected forecasts from 624 technology innovators, developers, business and policy leaders, researchers and activists.
“Experts are split about the likely evolution of a truly immersive ‘Metaverse.’ They expect that augmented- and mixed-reality enhancements will become more useful in people’s daily lives”, according to a report from the Pew Research.
“Many worry that current online problems may be magnified if Web3 development is led by those who built today’s dominant web platforms”
The research center says that early 2020s technological advances and societal transformations brought about by the pandemic have pushed the development of the Metaverse to the forefront, inspiring tens of billions of dollars in new investments and prompting predictions that the metaverse is “the future of the internet” or “the next internet battleground”.
- 54% of the experts said that they expect by 2040 the Metaverse WILL be a much-more-refined and truly fully-immersive, well-functioning aspect of daily life for a half billion or more people globally.
- 46% said that they expect by 2040 the metaverse WILL NOT be a much-more-refined and truly fully-immersive, well-functioning aspect of daily life for a half billion or more people globally.
- XR will develop fast because of its massive commercial possibilities.
The report says that a notable share of the experts argued that the embrace of extended reality in people’s daily lives by 2040 will be centered around augmented-reality and mixed-reality tools, not in the more-fully-immersive virtual reality worlds many people define today as being “the Metaverse.”
The experts warned that these new worlds could dramatically magnify every human trait and tendency – both the bad and the good. They especially focused their concerns on the ability of those in control of these systems to redirect, restrain or thwart human agency and stifle people’s ability to self-actualize through exercise of free will. They worry over the future freedom of humans to expand their native capacities.
COLLECTION OF TECHNOLOGIES
Laurence Lannom, vice president at the Corporation for National Research Initiatives, offered a compact prediction:
“The Metaverse will, at its core, be a collection of new and extended technologies. It is easy to imagine that both the best and the worst aspects of our online lives will be extended by being able to tap into a more-complete immersive experience, by being inside a digital space instead of looking at one from the outside. At the good end of the continuum are things like the ability of people to interact with others as though they were all in the same physical space without having spent hours burning dinosaur bones to get there; practicing difficult physical tasks (e.g., surgery) on virtual entities; and elevated educational and research opportunities of all kinds as we learn to leverage the built-in advantages of the new environments.”
“The other end is also not hard to imagine – easier addiction to all-absorbing games and fantasy experiences resulting in increased isolation for many; further breakdown of social cohesion as the virtual offers an easy alternative to the hard task of learning to live with each other; and increased political turmoil as the prophets of fear and grievance acquire the ability to command rallies with millions of attendees.”
Edward Baig, freelance columnist and longtime technology reporter for USA Today, says:
“Even the smartest folks today have difficulty articulating the metaverse so that regular people understand it beyond it being this vague thing emerging out of augmented reality, virtual reality, 3D and mixed reality.”
“Of course, measured in tech years, 2040 is a lifetime away and, when you factor in the sheer magnitude of the financial and intellectual investments already being plowed into the metaverse, how could this thing possibly not morph into something likely to have a profound impact on our everyday lives? Whatever it is that draws all of us into the metaverse, it must provide – or at least promise to provide – experiences and benefits that are otherwise impractical if not impossible to achieve in (for lack of a better way of putting it) the real world.”
The idea about a Metaverse was first introduced in 1992 by sci-fi author Neal Stephenson in his novel “Snow Crash”.
The report from Pew Research says that in today’s terms, “the Metaverse is the realm of computer-generated, networked extended reality, or XR, an acronym that embraces all aspects of augmented reality, mixed reality and virtual reality (AR, MR and VR).
“At this point in time, the metaverse is generally made up of somewhat- immersive XR spaces in which interactions take place among humans and automated entities.”