Is the World Ready for the Metaverse?


Evelyn Pak, Scoop Writer

Imagine living in a digital world. Is that too much to even imagine or could that become reality? CEOs like Mark Zuckerberg and Satya Nadella are already telling us we could make those dreams become reality. But, is the metaverse too good to be true? In a world where you can create your own made-up avatar and play games all day, we can imagine that a lot will go wrong. Right? 


The metaverse has been a growing idea over the past couple years catching the attention of millions of people. Once a total fantasy of science fiction, Mark Zuckerberg has now renamed Facebook to ‘Meta’ to further bring along the possibilities of our future. What does this mean though? With plans to revolutionize our world, the metaverse can become a workplace and technological economy where people can sell, create, and buy goods just like we do now (but a little more crazy and advanced). We will have the ability to transfer life to technology. 


Though the metaverse continues to be a vague topic, a considerable amount of controversy and mixed opinions have arisen all over the world. Before we discuss why the metaverse is both a dangerous but revolutionary possibility, what exactly is the metaverse?


It is impossible to give a straight answer to that question. In fantasy, the metaverse is a virtual play space where you can battle zombies and have futuristic car races, but in reality, the metaverse is a place to connect with people. 


Truly, it is a multiple-type technology base designed to hold a virtual world where people can interact and experience new things far out of the possibility our world holds right now. As said by CEO Mark Zuckerberg, the metaverse holds so much potential. One of the biggest evolving ideas has been avatars. Avatars are essentially your own personal wardrobe of who you are; a developed version of your profile pictures that you use on apps like Instagram and Tiktok and a way to express yourself on different platforms. They’re important because when immersed into a virtual world entirely, there needs to be some way for you to identify yourself. A huge aspect of the metaverse that has been recently evolving is interoperability from one platform to the next. Being able to carry your own personal avatar across multiple virtual platforms is extremely important to creators and developers because, if they want to transfer large aspects of normal life to the virtual world, it must be interoperable. 


The metaverse lies as a large possibility. Being able to attend meetings, socialize, shop, eat, and exercise in a virtual environment is crazy, exciting, and new, but, it is extremely difficult to predict how it could really be for our reality.  It is becoming increasingly easier to predict the dangers and negatives of this exciting concept as it continues to be involved because there are so many different points of view towards the metaverse. 


So, how are WE feeling about the Metaverse?


The Positives


When defining, ‘We,’ there is a lot to take into consideration. Are we talking about our future? As of now, Mark Zuckerberg has released information stating that the metaverse will take five to ten years to develop into a land that we can start to join, leading us to know that the future is sooner than we imagined it would be. Being open to this concept isn’t the only option anymore. The metaverse is going to happen whether we like it or not.

The metaverse is an efficient space. Shopping, working, healthcare, etc. have the ability to become much easier, more functional, and even more enjoyable. Education and schooling can become more immersive and give children new opportunities. Children can transport to different places at different times to learn more and understand concepts in a newer and clearer way. 


Workspaces will become much more tolerable and enjoyable for adults. People will be able to meet together in different parts of the world without the physical trip which will in turn lower pollution creating a healthier physical environment. 


The metaverse will innovate the way we interact with each other and create relationships. An augmented reality or VR headset can and will help us to develop relationships that are difficult to create in the real world. The metaverse opens a multitude of possibilities for the way we interconnect. 


The Negative


The metaverse has been big talk for a while now but many people are still completely unaware of what it truly is. Talking to multitudes of different people of different ages and experiences, many have no clue what the metaverse holds and whether they are on board or against the idea. For our older generations, technology is very hard to grasp. Even now, computers and phones are difficult for older generations to use. It is easy to imagine that when the metaverse comes in full swing, connection between different generations can falter. But, for our generation and the generations beneath us, we will have an easier time adapting to a change as large as this. 


In all reality, the metaverse is going to be a disruption to our society. Socially, people have become increasingly more isolated and sheltered in social media especially after the effects of Covid-19. We notice that in a lot of younger generations, technology and social media has created a false sense of reality. To fully immerse someone’s life into technology will heighten these symptoms so much that it will cause extreme negative effects on that person. In the past decades of growth within technology and social media, a huge part of creators’ development has been curated to satisfaction. In the real world, people are disappointed every day. We learn life lessons and all learn to develop as a person. A huge risk of the metaverse is the fact that these important aspects of real life can be taken away leaving an empty person and undeveloped adult. 


The metaverse will end up being an unsafe environment for a lot of children, privacy will be a difficult concept, and mental health can become extremely hard to combat in such an immersive world.


Overall, the metaverse is going to be a scary and new concept to the world that will take a lot of time and effort to combine with the way our world works now. There are many positive impacts that a virtual world can give us but just like anything, there are negatives as well. Considering we hold the capability and power to create an entire new world, we have the potential to create much more than the metaverse and something more expansive than a world on a screen.