The Internet will continue to evolve and will no longer seem as it does today. There will be a social infrastructure that outgrows the Internet and expands society beyond what it is now. The Metaverse, it appears, will be that creation, combining the Internet with the limitless possibilities of augmented and virtual reality technologies.
What is the metaverse and how will it replace the Internet?
Steven Spielberg's 2018 science fiction adventure Ready Player One gives us a good picture of how the metaverse might look. The main character in this film spends the majority of his time in a virtual world made up of numerous simulations. The Metaverse, on the other hand, will be more than just a place to play games. It will serve as a sort of follow-up to the mobile Internet.
Life was arduous before the Internet. For example, you had to go to the library, phone a travel agent, or browse through leaflets at a rest stop to get travel information for a future vacation or a location you were visiting. It was inefficient, and finding everything a city had to offer was difficult.
Then came the Internet, which gave us websites that crowd-sourced reviews and prices for everything in a city, from restaurants to lodging. It increased the amount of information available on travel while also removing any single source of authority on the subject.
You'll put on your AR or VR headset and be transported to the city you want to explore in the metaverse. You'll be able to take virtual city tours, peruse the attractions, and see what's on the menu at the best restaurants, all while building an actionable schedule for when you visit one day. It's a combination of information from the travel agent, the Internet, and personal judgement.
This is just one way the metaverse will derive the Internet.
Many experiences, services, and data have been digitised on the Internet. However, they are all scattered and in their own isolated buckets, only loosely linked by links, Google Search, and the occasional social media post. The metaverse, on the other hand, is virtual, shared space where all the leisure's the Internet has brought us can be better linked and exist simultaneously.
Here is how the Internet will evolve in the advent of the metaverse. In each of the following examples, there is an outline how a specific service, action, or experience existed —
1. Before the Internet
2. With the Internet
3. After the Internet in the metaverse
Productivity — Collaborating on projects at work consisted of a conference room meeting or one sent out memos and people report back to them individually — Google Docs and Google Sheets gave us the ability to have multiple people collaborate on the same document simultaneously, while Zoom gave us the video chat and screen sharing technology to share what we were working on from anywhere. — Experiences in the metaverse will allow us to collude on the same project but also be digitally beside our co-workers. It will connect the two distinct experiences of FaceTime and Google Docs — allowing for unbridled collaboration and a feeling of being in the same room.
Commerce — A clothes shopping before the Internet was an event that happened every season and you browsed malls or stores until you settled for what you needed. — The Internet gave us e-commerce shops, endless shopping malls from our sofa, and unlimited store hours — any time of day one can buy. Social media presents us with new styles constantly. — The metaverse will take the best of e-commerce unlimited shopping, the discoverability of social media, and the endless "action" photos and reviews and put them all in one place. Augmented Reality helps you understand how something would look on you, NFTs would make commerce entirely digital for new categories such as fashion and VR avatars will have commerce worlds revolving around them
Art — Art and Music collections used to be a record shelf/shelves or a large rack of CDs. — Music streaming services have given us nearly all the music in existence for around US$10/month (RM41). — The metaverse will bring us back to the intimacy of having your shelf of favourite music with NFTs, but with the unlimited nature that the digital world offers. Further you could own a royalty by being an early patron of artists through decentralised tokens issued against them
Community — If you were lucky, you had friends you could count on to always be great listeners, perhaps someone who went through the same experiences as you and could offer up meaningful advice. — The Internet helped us find our community, tribes of friends that were going through the same thing as us. Reddit communities, Facebook groups, blogs, chat rooms, etc. gave us each a chance to unknowingly vent our resentments and receive genuine help without feeling exposed. — The metaverse will take the same greatness that the Internet brought us in the way of communications and community, except add the physical presence and real-time interaction. It'll still remain anonymous if desired, decentralised and immersive.
Why we need the metaverse?
If the metaverse is a literal representation of the actual world's offerings, you're undoubtedly wondering why we even need it. The metaverse, on the other hand, is built on the mirror of the physical world.
Overall, the internet has done an excellent job of bringing information, services, and experiences to the masses. The metaverse is what will bring all of these crucial aspects of human existence together into a more social structure.
The metaverse also abdicates us from many limits of the physical world. There's no limit to the extent of space we can utilise and build upon. We don't have to worry about shifting in time for travel to see new places. In the metaverse, you're free to explore any feasible lifestyle you wish. Not to mention, solely new economies of trade and service will open up. Although, the metaverse seems like a reflection; a clone of the physical world. It's actually a more powerful version. – Hindustan Times, New Delhi/Tribune News Service