Our World and the Metaverse

Nicola Stewart
January 2, 2024

What is the Metaverse?

Our world is constantly evolving and it is only fair that we say the same thing about technology. Over the years we have witnessed major breakthroughs within the industry however, many believe that we are only just at the beginning of it all. When put to good use, each major development  lets entire populations enjoy significant social, industrial, and economic improvement. Yet not every technology lives up to its promise, and it is worth looking closely at the big projects on the horizon to determine which ones will leave a positive and lasting impact on our world.

The metaverse is among the largest of these projects, and also one of the least understood. Coined in the early 1990s, the term ‘metaverse’ has loomed over the software industry for decades – seen by some as an unrealistic fantasy, and by others as an aspirational goal. But what exactly is the metaverse, and why has it garnered so much interest over the past year? 

A new town square 

Imagine a world where our digital selves are projected into a shared virtual environment that anyone online can access. This is the metaverse – a fully realised 3D digital space that is open to all, where live users can connect, interact, and socialise with other people over a fast network connection. 

Everyone in this world has a customisable appearance, often (but not necessarily) based on how they look in real life. To a certain extent, what we can do in the real world can also be done in the metaverse, with the help of advanced computer hardware and especially VR/AR technology. Depending on how you look at it, the metaverse will be either a shallow and sanitised version of real life, or the world’s most realistic and interactive video game.

Indeed, a lot of the technology behind the metaverse owes its roots to the gaming industry. Popular gaming platforms such as Second Life, Minecraft, Roblox, and others that support multiplayer functionality have opened the door to a more advanced form of online communication, which can be repurposed for casual social settings, mainstream e-commerce businesses, business meetings, and more.

Simultaneous advancements in 3D graphics, internet speed, and computing power have begun to let users experience realistic and immersive environments through VR and AR technology. Imagine virtually walking around the streets of Bangkok with a pet dragon for instance, or being a dragon yourself and flying around a digital replica of the city. The possibilities are so vast, and the technology is so flexible, that stylised experiences are likely to be developed for every user demographic. 

 

Building new worlds

In 2021, Facebook announced its intention of building this metaverse, rebranding the company ‘Meta’ to signal its commitment to the project. Though some wonder whether Meta’s investment will pay off, Mark Zuckerberg’s team has both the resources and the track record to earn the benefit of the doubt.

Demand for better digital communications platforms has only increased since the pandemic prompted remote work and remote learning far more common around the world. The metaverse is currently the most ambitious attempt to combine these technologies with the promise of a more interactive and universal social media space.

If all goes well, businesses will sell their products and services through public rooms in the metaverse, while coordinating their internal communications in private meeting rooms within an adjacent digital space.

As Thailand makes progress toward its industry 4.0 ambitions, the metaverse could become a valuable tool for developing breakthroughs from industries such as medicine through to coding on screens the size of a house. There really are no limits when it comes to the metaverse. However, its success is by no means assured – though if it lives up to even a fraction of its promise, future demand for employment opportunities in related areas is likely to grow. As we continue this series of articles, we will discuss these and other key issues in greater depth.

Summary

Our world is constantly evolving and it is only fair that we say the same thing about technology. Over the years we have witnessed major breakthroughs within the industry however, many believe that we are only just at the beginning of it all. When put to good use, each major development lets entire populations enjoy significant social, industrial, and economic improvement. Yet not every technology lives up to its promise, and it is worth looking closely at the big projects on the horizon to determine which ones will leave a positive and lasting impact on our world.