The history of the metaverse begins with the science fiction book ‘Snow Crash’ written by the American Neal Stephenson, published in 1992. It was in this book that the term metaverse was coined. This book depicts people using virtual reality (VR) technology and digital avatars – one’s persona in a digital world. The term virtual reality – the immersive experience of putting on a headset and seeing and being able to work in a digital world – became popular in the 1980s, while widespread commercial release of VR headsets began in the 1990s.
Over the years, VR devices have developed and been popularly used in video games. Mark Zuckerberg and Facebook’s role in the history of the metaverse began in 2014 when the company acquired the Oculus digital reality hardware/platform. During 2021, Facebook saw a rebranding as Meta- regarding the company’s projected future as a pioneer of the Metaverse.
According to Mark Zuckerberg, the metaverse is “a new phase of interconnected virtual experiences using technologies such as virtual and augmented reality (VR and AR). The idea that by creating a greater sense of virtual presence, online “interaction” can become much closer to the experience of in-person interaction, i.e. the metaversion is an immersive, next-generation version of the Internet possibly provided by virtual or augmented reality technology. AR pioneer Louis Rosenberg says metaversion is the future of technology and will transform society over the next decade.
There are two different concepts. Virtual metaversion – a virtual reality world based on avatars will be very popular, but it will not be the means through which immersive media transforms society. The Augmented Metaverse—the merging of the real and virtual worlds into a single immersive and unified reality—will touch every person on the planet and rapidly transform society.
John B Sheldon, an adviser at the Space Policy Unit in London, says the Web 1.0 of the 1990s was passive, the Web 2.0 of the early 2000s was interactive thanks to social media, and Web 3.0 will be immersive, tangible and decentralized as a result of emergence and confluence . of several technological trends such as virtual and augmented reality, 5G networks, blockchain, cryptocurrency, etc. The term metaverse in modern English means Meta ‘transcending’, while verse means ‘universe’. Therefore, metaversion is a technological concept that transcends our current universe of neatly demarcated physical and virtual worlds.
Metaverse is a disruptive technology that will create virtual worlds and connect people from all over the world. It combines elements of various technologies such as virtual reality, augmented reality, blockchain, cryptocurrency, artificial intelligence, 3D reconstruction, brain computer interface. It will provide an immersive social media experience by introducing a 3D space. Although it doesn’t fully exist yet, some platforms like Roblox and Fortnite contain metaverse-like elements.
The term metaverse is catching everyone’s attention, including CEOs of leading companies like Mark Zuckerberg and Satya Nadella. It has the potential to shape our future by creating advanced immersive and interactive digital experiences. Metaversion has a wide range of applications – real-world activities such as trading and exchanges take place inside. It uses cryptographic technology and non-functional tokens (NFTs). Meta is developing a better version of social media platforms that will open up opportunities for businesses and marketers. Travel is adventurous, the metaverse will allow people to virtually visit places they cannot physically go to. In the metaverse, media and entertainment will look very similar. To enter the virtual world, just put on the AR-VR headset, you can attend virtual concerts, visit virtual theme parks and so on.
Even India is not far behind in leading the metaverse revolution. It is expected to play a massive role in the metaversion space due to the presence of unique advantages and promising signs such as a growing youth population, growing domestic markets, a vibrant start-up ecosystem and a huge talent pool. According to a DappRadar report, India ranked fifth behind the US, Indonesia, Japan and the Philippines in terms of interest in metaverse projects.
Indian IT firms like TCS, Infosys, Zensar technologies, HCL technologies are working hard to build the metaverse. Tech Mahindra has announced the launch of a metaverse business to offer immersive experiences to customers. The company will start with four main hubs in Dallas, London, Pune and Hyderabad. It offers a virtual car bazaar, Meta Bank – a virtual bank, Middlemist – an NFT marketplace, etc.
India has witnessed the growing use of metaverse technology. A couple from Tamil Nadu hosted a wedding reception in the metaverse. Investors are showing interest in cryptocurrencies, NFTs, etc. Ajit Mohan, VC and MD of Meta for India, Bengaluru, said that the country will have the largest ecosystem of app developers in the world within two years, so many metaverse apps will be built here. . In the last week of February this year, Infosys announced the metaverse Foundary, a set of 100 ready-to-use templates and use cases to help businesses that build on the metaverse get on board.
Every new technology brings challenges. Therefore, it is always desirable to troubleshoot before accepting. Personal identification and representation are essential when it comes to the real world. In the metaverse, there will indeed be a self-identity in virtual environments. Users may unknowingly spend more time in the metaverse due to full immersion. Therefore, during the initial stages of immersion in the metaversion, assistance with the perception of time and space will be needed to help users feel comfortable inside the virtual environment.
Security systems need to be improved to protect personal data. It would be necessary to develop a unified system that could be used to verify owners of virtual assets in the metaverse. It would also be necessary for governments to conduct research into the domains of virtual law once they delve into the metaverse.
Although in the nascent phase, the metaversion is coming and it will change everything. It is one of the most exciting technological advances of the 21st century. It will change the perception of interactions on the Internet and social networks. It will be mainstream by the end of the decade. It will undeniably revolutionize the world of communication and change the way we work, play and live.
(The author is a former IFS officer)