Don’t Fear the Metaverse, We’ve Been Through It Before, by James C. Lee. As a long-time gamer and metaverse enthusiast, I’ve experienced both the positive and negative effects of metaverse use. First, you might lose track of time, or lose your attachment to reality. Secondly, you might not be aware of the real world, or it may not be apparent to you that there is another world out there. Metaverse-like behavior is extremely common on mobile devices, and the average American spends 5.4 hours a day staring at their screens.
Metaverse is a living, breathing world
“The Metaverse” refers to a collective virtual shared space, reminiscent of the real world, where avatars of real people roam freely. The Metaverse allows people to communicate and transact in the world, similar to a game. In collaboration virtual worlds, currency can be used to purchase avatars and land, and individuals can attend events and participate in social activities. Musicians can perform virtual gigs, fashion designers can design avatar apparel, and more.
There are many reasons to be wary of the Metaverse. Experts worry about the spread of misinformation in virtual and augmented reality, as well as about the safety of children. A recent poll revealed that women are especially afraid of the Metaverse, and questions have been raised about its virtual moderation. And what about all those cryptic “Metaverse” emojis?
You’ve probably heard of this new world and its virtual avatars. In 1992, Neal Stephenson’s novel Snow Crash predicted the emergence of a virtual reality-based internet with user-controlled avatars. Today, this world is being built by Meta, formerly known as Facebook. Meta has branded its metaverse as “the next evolution of social connection.”
Mark Zuckerberg is envisioning a future where people congregate in a vast virtual three-dimensional space, wearing Oculus headsets. Sadly, these platforms are attracting some of the same toxic users that have plagued traditional social media sites. Women have been groped in the virtual space, and children have flocked to VR platforms such as Meta’s Horizon Worlds, despite little effort to prevent child abuse.