July 2021 (Updated Nov 2021)
What it is: The metaverse is the next jump in the internet. It’s when your physical and digital life totally blur into a single augmented, virtual, crypto, creator-and-app centered, reality.
Core ideas of the metaverse are that it will: Be persistent and always on; Be synchronous and live; Be without any cap to concurrent users; Be a fully functioning economy; Be an experience that spans both the digital and physical worlds, private and public networks/experiences, and open and closed platforms; Offer full interoperability of data, digital items/assets, content; Be populated by “content” and “experiences” created and operated by an wide range of contributors; Go beyond flat screens and keyboards/taps/touchscreens to neural devices; Be run by advanced AI systems, from the deep-back end to front-end systems generating augmented frames, avatars, and landscapes.
Specific examples of parts of the early metaverse today:
-Video games like Fornite, Animal Crossing, Minecraft, PUBG, Apex Legends
-Crypto like Bitcoin, Ethereum, Decentraland
-Creator output like TikTok or YouTube videos, Substack letters, Cryptopunk NFTs
-VR headsets like the Oculus Quest 2, HTC Vive, Sony Playstation VR
-Upcoming AR glasses from Facebook and Apple, or FRL’s neural wristbands
Today’s version of the Metaverse is like the Blackberry in 2003: helpful and engrossing, but still niche and limited to tens of millions of users. We are moving toward an iPhone moment like in 2008, except for AR glasses and future VR headsets (by 2028?), after which billions of people will join the Metaverse.
What you can do to experience the metaverse now:
-Play a video game like Fortnight or Minecraft
-Buy some BTC/ETH/MANA or NFTs and join a Discord channel for it
-Buy an Oculus Quest 2 headset and explore, or meet a friend
-Buy an NFT at OpenSea or SuperRare, or make and mint an NFT to sell at Rarible
-Go talk to some people in Decentraland
-Follow writers on Substack or start your own
-Start a chat with GPT-2, GPT-3, or Blenderbot
The biggest problem of the Metaverse: we need more interoperability and common protocols, like the IETC standards for the internet. No one company or government should control this or neural tech. Maybe the Open Metaverse Interoperability Group or the W3C Metaverse Interoperability Community Group will take off?
The Metaverse originated with this vision in Stephenson’s novel “Snow Crash” (1992)
Readings on the Metaverse
- NYT on the Metaverse, 2021
- Matthew Ball’s Metaverse Essays
- FB’s Wrist Based Metaverse Controller – and here is Zuck’s vision at Connect 2021
- Scaruffi on the Metaverse, 2020
- Tim Sweeney on the Metaverse, SIGGRAPH 2019
- Metaverse Value Chain
- Metaverse and AI
- Social and the Metaverse
- Parisi’s Seven Rules of the Metaverse
Novels: Snow Crash; Ready Player One; Neuromancer; Rainbow’s End