The biggest disruptor since the advent of the internet, the Metaverse is positioned to have a myriad of effects on society; from the way we learn, socialize, relax, and even work, change is coming – the debate on its positive and negative effects on individuals and communities will carry on. Some people voice their support of the technological advancement for the betterment of humanity, while others are concerned with our over-dependence on this immersive technology for social engagement, personal development and career advancement; cautious that this technology will lead to a behavioural shift in humans, leaving us more isolated than ever, and some are also wary about data privacy, protection for children in these unmonitored virtual worlds, and health concerns associated with overconsumption via VR wearable devices.
Tech experts like Vishal Shah, VP of Metaverse – Meta and Catherine Allen, CEO of Limina Immersive, wager that in this decade the Metaverse will change the way we use the internet as we know it. Now just imagine for a moment, a reality with no Google search as we’d have our virtual assistants to do it for us, no more keyboards as we’d walk and talk like in the real world, and no more apps as we travel across virtual worlds, no screen time as we’re just accessing the Metaverse with wearable devices, and finally, no storing by IP addresses but by time and place in these virtual realities!
“Today, I think we look at the internet, but I think in the future you’re going to be in the experiences” – Mark Zuckerberg
The real impact of the Metaverse will only be known when its potential is realized. In 2022, as we sit at the pinnacle of yet another technological revolution – since the creation of the internet way back in 1974 – it is up to governments, corporate leadership, and creative entrepreneurs to shape this technology’s advancement and govern its integration into the mainstream.
Exploring the potential impact the Metaverse will have on organizations looking to create a positive sustainable impact in society; from inter-governmental organizations, non-profits, and the ever-expanding impact investment sector, this immersive technology will be a boon, offering individuals and teams a virtual environment to collaborate more effectively and overcome the physical barriers that are most often associated with multinational teams working in globalized societies. It will also offer organizations like the UN and World Food Programme the ability to virtually map out real-world problems in developing countries, giving philanthropists and impact investors an opportunity to see first-hand – albeit virtually – the need of the hour; commitment, partnerships and resources. It would encourage more people to work toward a more equitable world with smarter, creative and collaborative solutions.
Envisioning an optimistic future, we could witness decision-makers convening for a UN General Assembly in the Metaverse; that would definitely make headlines but if these countries and organizations can leverage this technology to support low-income communities, we could see the Metaverse providing immersive learning opportunities to children, giving them access to the best education, diverse experiences and interactions to learn and develop into truly global citizens – maybe even decision-makers who will make their own headlines in the future.
As I sign off, I would like to say that though we may get caught up in perfectly curated virtual worlds, we must not emotionally detach from the real-world problems staring us right in the face.