Let's ignore the 'techno-anxious' who shun progress like the plague. These tech Cassandras revel in Meta's (formerly Facebook) misfortunes. They shamelessly mock the strategy of a company that has already invested over 20 billion dollars in the metaverse.
There's no denying it, the numbers aren't good. 11,000 jobs cut (13% of its workforce) and a stock market valuation nearly quadrupled since the fall of 2021. Mark Zuckerberg has always been ahead of the curve. He will find his economic model, and he will succeed just as he did with Facebook or WhatsApp.
Approximately 3.6 billion people, nearly half of the world's population, connect to at least one of the three services once a month.
Some think the metaverse closely resembles Second Life, which we knew in 2003. At that time, experts, journalists, and major brands were excited about this 3D video game where everyone could create their own character, roam around, interact with other participants, buy and sell virtual land or clothing using digital currency. However, the game capped at one million users before declining.
However, the metaverse has nothing to do with 'Second Life.' In the tech world, projects like voice recognition and smartphones found success 20 years later.
The main reason to believe in the metaverse is technological progress. Digital tools allow the processing of vastly more information. New instruments have emerged, such as virtual reality headsets, which enable a much greater level of immersion than a computer screen.
Blockchain, this shared and hence fully decentralized database, certifies ownership of digital assets, including artworks or currencies. Thus, it creates trust in a sometimes obscure digital world.
It is important to precisely define what the metaverse is, especially for those over forty, for whom the concept seems as clear as an English November fog.
Metaverse: now that's a peculiar name! The term 'Metaverse' first appeared in 1992 in a science fiction novel, 'Snow Crash,' published by American author Neal Stephenson. In this book, individuals could connect, through specific glasses, to a three-dimensional universe where virtual actions have effects on the real world. Other cult works, like the Matrix movies (1999) or more recently, Ready Player One (2018), also explore digital universes where fiction holds as much, if not more, value than reality.
However, the etymology of the word 'metaverse' alone can enlighten tech neophytes. In Greek, the prefix 'Meta' means 'beyond,' and 'Vers' is a condensed form of universe. So, in simple terms, the metaverse is a world beyond reality.
Currently, there isn't just a single definition of the metaverse or a 'metaverse version 2022.' In this sense, Mark Zuckerberg's Meta, by appropriating the term, has likely slightly distorted it. An open and accessible metaverse is possible. It's up to us, tech professionals, to explain it well.
The simplest way to achieve this is to explain to as many people as possible the virtues of the metaverse and what it can bring to each individual in everyday life.
Enter a 3D world, in front of your screen, or for a total immersion, with an augmented reality headset. Roam around, play, do sports, visit a museum, buy a handbag or clothes, meet your friends, make new ones, attend a work meeting, visit a hotel before going there...
All of this already exists! That's simply what the metaverse is. A decentralized web that, thanks to blockchain, allows access to virtual worlds, called metaverses, where one navigates through an avatar.
Few people today escape Web2. Social networks, online shopping sites, dating platforms, professional networks, are an integral part of our lives. What Web3 offers is to go further by conducting all these activities in an immersive, interactive, and intelligent way.
I am convinced that the future is indeed unfolding before us.
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