Tomorrow started today – Is Metaverse a different kind of living?

Words by Circklo team in Sustainability, Digital Transformation & Technology

The interaction between humans and machine started several decades ago. Technology, especially that driven by innovation and ingenuity cannot be stopped in its tracks. With these, the limits of what was considered only recently a matter of science fiction, are quickly becoming the reality of today.

Living in a universe so remotely separated physically, intellectually, and emotionally from what many consider real life can be a daunting thought, particularly for those age groups who have grown up in a time where the industrial revolution and the ability of flying aboard a plane were the heights of both technology and their comprehension.

Living in an entirely virtual world and interacting with a variety of avatars and scenarios may be for many another form of escapism or ‘headspace’. This may be particularly helpful for those who are mourning or grieving the loss of a loved one; they can choose a place of emotional and personal safety, a place that is completely inaccessible to outsiders, one where they can artificially make it possible for their loved ones to continue to live on.

In his quote to Circklo, Eric Weaver, the founder of Transparent Path, said ‘We’ve all felt it: the deep feeling of loss when a loved one passes. The fervent wish we could still engage with them. Enjoy their personalities. Get their feedback or guidance. Or simply be around them. What if you could bring a loved one back to life, hear them speak in their own voice, have them react to your questions, and get realistic, true-to-life answers or advice?

And if you are a parent, you know the desire to stick around and help guide your children, whatever their age, as they make their way through life. Even after you pass on. What if you could leave an intelligent, true-to-your-personality “legacy version” of yourself behind in the metaverse after you pass — to both counsel and guide your survivors?

The potential of augmented and virtual reality is enormous. And the implications these bring for conventional and life sciences, both positive and negative, are almost as infinite as Deep Mind's computing and prediction capabilities.

To put it plainly: how can we get our heads around something which many of us – including the designers of the most sophisticated pieces of code and algorithms of the metaverse – cannot grasp? How can we predict the risks and opportunities of an alternative form of universe that, as a race, we find defining its parameters almost impossible?

We asked Hassan Al Noon, the Managing Director of Multiverse Innovation and one of the world’s most prolific minds in artificial intelligence and deep technologies, for his thoughts on the future of the metaverse. In Al Noon’s view, ‘the metaverse is the natural next step in the digital transformation age. COVID-19 caused a rapid transformation of our digital mindset, and the metaverse will play a vital role in the way interact with each other through the digital sphere in the years to come.’

The metaverse is something that computer geeks and gamers have been advocating and supporting for several years now. The metaverse did not start, nor will it end, with Facebook’s rebranding or with Mark Zuckerberg’s online reach, power or influence.

The beauty or nightmare of deep tech is that no one can own it all – yet, many can play a role in how that online reality is augmented, in the experiences that are created and in the technology that supports it all.

The Futures Platform argues that the metaverse is going to become a global virtual world, from a multitude of perspectives and points of view. If we can virtually go on holiday, anywhere we want, what is going to happen to the tourism industry worldwide?

If we can escape the mundane and the trivialities of daily current life, including the human physical interaction so many of us missed in the past two years, and retreat in – pretty much – our heads, what is the future for the hospitality industry?

If many of us find the online spaces the metaverse will open up for us far more entertaining and appeasing than the reality in our ‘other’ day to day world, what is the future of the human race going to look like? The mortality rates? What will happen to our brain functions and our capacity to discern fact from fiction?

There are, as with any emerging technologies, incredible opportunities too that can be further capitalised on by the metaverse. According to John Preston, Sociology Professor at the University of Essex, ‘the metaverse will allow students to have an increasingly “cyber-physical” university experience, where the virtual world merges with the real one. Many students have already experienced something similar. During the pandemic, learning has shifted between online and in person.’

Today the humanity is at a tipping point of multiple global disasters: climate change, pandemics, resource depletion, famine, and nuclear threats. Collectively, and even individually, we can choose how advanced technologies such as the metaverse can help us all mitigate and even eliminate these problems or, conversely, we can choose to retreat in a virtual world that we use as the ultimate form of escapism for all our problems.

Technology in and of itself is never bad. It all depends on what we choose to do with it.