The Metaverse Is Not Dead. It’s Resting!
A few weeks ago, I saw this article by Kevin Ervin Kelley on LinkedIn. (It has since been modified to include a reference to my comment).
To summarize, the article basically said that the Metaverse is dead thanks to the new generation of AI programs and chatbots. It named companies other than Meta that withdrew funding.
Here’s the comment I left:
“This article gels with the common wisdom on the subject. And it makes a compelling case. However, there are aspects of what was to be the Metaverse that neither time nor lack of current funding/interest can stop from happening one day.”
The Metaverse Is Not Dead
Don’t bury the overall idea yet. The Metaverse is not dead. It’s merely resting!
ChatGPT and its competitors have entirely taken the public focus and interest away from other initiatives. They now have all of the funding. But the fact that the company that called itself Meta has diverted its research funding away from the technology it named itself after does not mean that this technology will not now happen.
You may also want to read: Content Marketing in The Metaverse and Beyond
What Is The Metaverse? What is Web 3.0?
The terms Metaverse and Web 3.0 (which hashtags as #web3) have been used interchangeably. Despite being largely intertwined, they are not the same thing.
This article from Wired is one of many that seeks to summarize what the Metaverse actually is. Perhaps it doesn’t do it in the easiest to follow.
This perhaps more impenetrable article from the Blockchain Council details the differences between the Metaverse and Web 3.0.
Perhaps the most accessible language comparing the 2 technologies is in this article from Forbes. It was published just before much funding was shifted from the Metaverse to AI.
Here are the two summary paragraphs:
“Web 3.0, also known as the semantic web, is a next-generation version of the internet that aims to make it more intelligent and intuitive for users. It does this by using artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning algorithms to understand the context and meaning of the data that is being shared, making it easier for users to find the information they are looking for.
The metaverse, on the other hand, is a virtual world that is created and maintained by users. It allows people to interact with each other and with virtual objects in a fully immersive and interactive environment. The metaverse is expected to become a major platform for business, entertainment and social interaction, and it is already being used by a growing number of companies and individuals around the world.”
As you can see, the Metaverse is not Web 3.0. But, like AI, it is a part of Web 3.0.
Why The Idea Of The Metaverse Is Not Dead
As initially discussed in the brilliant and essential Neal Stephenson book Snow Crash, the Metaverse is a virtual world that people will “jack into”. Some will go there for entertainment, whereas others will shop there or use it as a means to hack others.
Ultimately, it can easily be envisioned that your avatar will:
- Go into a shoe shop and try on virtual shoes
- Speak to customers, friends, and family as if you’re in their presence
- Go to a seminar along with hundreds or thousands of other avatars in a remote version of a meet-and-greet
- [Please comment on other uses you envision. There are MANY!]
The Bottom Line
From even the extremely simplified explanation above, it’s easy to see that the metaverse is inevitable. The only question, really, is, when will it all happen?
In many instances, the Metaverse will replace in-person business dealings and the pressing of the flesh.
Yes, there’s a scary element of lack of direct human contact. But it will surely be better for the environment, and we do tend to find a new balance as technology evolves. If anything, I see it as a virtual step back towards human contact, as a partial counter to the negative, dehumanizing aspects of social media.
Please tell us what you think will happen with the Metaverse. Do you see it as positive, negative, or a mix of the two? What are you excited by and/or scared of?
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