NEED IT TO BE 15 PAGES. ITS AT 12 NOW.
Writing Workshop II
March 23, 2022
Into The Metaverse
The outbreak of Covid-19 has changed the way people interact with one another over the past two years. Casualties rose and small businesses closed down. Events like school, happy hours, proms, and elite Hollywood parties were shifted to Zoom. This pandemic has been globally devastating. Although many weren’t thrilled with the new transition to interacting online, this created the perfect opportunity for tech companies to develop platforms that would bring this type of new virtual world to individuals. One such innovation—and arguably the biggest one to day—arrived on October 28, 2021, when Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced to the world the launch of a new platform known as the Metaverse. The Metaverse is a virtual reality world, or ‘universe’, that gives a new opportunity to stay socially connected. This new platform mimics aspects of the physical world through technology, such as the virtual reality goggles. The Metaverse will also become more realistic through their haptic technology, like for example, gloves that will give 3D touch for users. To a degree, people can “live” in the Metaverse. There are some negative side effects in this virtual world that people worry about, like the desire for isolation, addiction, and mental and physical health. However, the Metaverse does bring forth many new opportunities that everyone should be aware about. Present research on these Metaverse opportunities will exhibit the correlation between effects from Covid-19 and the hype around the Metaverse. Not only that, but it will examine the different types of features and opportunities that the Metaverse will bring to society. The Metaverse will generally improve people’s lives in the post-Covid world by giving individuals a new opportunity of social interaction, entertainment, schooling, employment, and business.
As the Metaverse continues to evolve, one may ask themselves: Do I need another technological distraction in my life? Mobile devices are increasingly being used by individuals to socialize. Many individuals enjoy spending time on the internet utilizing their computers and smartphones. People may argue that technology is a waste of time, and that people should instead spend their time doing something productive. On the other hand, not everyone’s daily to-do list is the same. After a long day at the office, some folks want to unwind (Collins & Chris). As a result, people resort to their computers, video games, movies, or even music to entertain themselves. Because of the coronavirus outbreak, many people turn to video games and films for pleasure. Although this can all be seen as a huge waste of time, taking a break from stress or work can actually make you become more productive in the long run. Everyone needs a quick reset. The way this can work is by not allowing the distractions to consume you. Taking a ten minute television break can be very acceptable because it allows your brain and body to get the necessary recharge it needs to keep going. Most people aren’t bothered by individuals spending more time on their phones and video games than before. The distraction of technology can lead to negative mental consequences, however you may improve your mental health by listening to music or watching TV. The development of the brain, language and cognitive abilities may all be influenced by music (Messieha, 2009). There are many ways a “distraction” like music can improve your mental health. For example, it can help lighten your mood, reduce anxiety and depression, and even help you work more efficiently. Sometimes a distraction from life isn’t such a bad thing. It’s good for an individual to take a break. As long as it’s not overdone, the use of technology can be helpful to individuals in their daily lives.
One main purpose of the Metaverse is to create a strong feeling that an individual is actually in it. This is so the experience will feel as realistic as possible for the user. An important feature for this in the Metaverse is the digital avatars. As a matter of fact, they are one of the main elements in the Metaverse design. Users can create digital avatars for expressing their emotions and feelings. These avatars strengthen the basis for a more realistic experience inside the Metaverse. In addition, the technology that is being created for the Metaverse actually assists the user to access more features inside, such as sight and touch. The Metaverse can be accessed by using virtual reality goggles so that individuals will be able to interact with others who aren’t in the same physical space as you. Metaverse environments will eventually provide additional physical engagement (Friedman). The hands and fingers of the learner may be replicated via virtual reality goggles and controllers that are meant to seem natural. Although the technology is still being developed, companies are building and improving these devices through the virtual reality and headset market. Zuckerberg has said that this technology will be ready in “the next five to ten years” (Hicks,2022). Such haptic technology will allow virtual reality spaces to respond to lost human connection during Covid and try to recreate it in a virtual reality sphere.
During the Covid pandemic, many people lost the ability to physically interact with their loved ones. Researchers during an MIT study explained that “People who are forced to be isolated crave social interactions similarly to the way a hungry person craves food. Our finding fits the intuitive idea that positive social interactions are a basic human need…”(Trafton,2020) The more we lost the ability to socially interact with people, the more we desired it during the pandemic. Individuals began to realize how important social interactions were for them and tried to get it as desperately as possible, whether it was meeting up and communicating from their cars or going on Zoom calls. The Metaverse makes it easier to meet new people without having to travel large distances or even leaving home. This can be extremely useful for those living in remote locations, with limited options for social activities. The ability to have social interactions on the metaverse platform is a very important feature that individuals need.
Before the Metaverse, video chat was the thing that replaced face-to-face interaction while people were under lockdown and stuck at home all day alone. Now, video chat has seen a lot of development recently. Humans have developed the skills to express themselves nonverbally and verbally, including facial expressions and body language. Actual video images of people offer far greater social fidelity than simply speaking to someone on the phone. Video conferencing also allows for group interaction (Chadwick, 2018). Video conferencing is a great way to socialize with others. Another is communicating through video games. A single game can support communication based on text, image, and sound. These games can provide tools for interaction between two people, as well as whole groups.
The popularity of “social simulation” video games is on the rise. In these games, you take on the role of a fictional character living in a computer-generated environment. Games like Minecraft and Grand Theft Auto are examples of popular gaming where you can become a new virtual version of yourself and create a new life. Even virtual nightclubs where people pay to attend, are becoming more popular. Gamers can participate in all of these virtual events as if they were attending an event in real life. Coronavirus has spurred an array of digital equivalents to real-world events in virtual public places. These include anything from happy hours and crafts parties to concerts and nightclubs. They’ve even spawned listener parties and wedding alternatives. Even 4-year-olds may now attend virtual pajama parties. Not only can individuals attend events, they can also run daily errands, such as shopping for virtual products. One’s avatar can enter a virtual shop, walk through the aisles, try out products, and even make payments directly in cryptocurrency. Users can either buy virtual products for their avatars or initiate a real-world purchase and have the product delivered later.
Haptic technology not only has applications for interpersonal interactions, but for entertainment as well. “According to Reality Labs director Sean Keller, people can touch, feel and manipulate virtual objects just as they would a real object. The glove features triggering actuators which apply pressure to the hand, depending on the virtual object being handled” (Szwczyk, 2021). For example, if a person wants to get a massage in the Metaverse, it will feel like they’re getting one. This feature makes the Metaverse become more realistic to individuals who ‘enter’. Our normal senses, such as touch, will become very realistic in the Metaverse. This will ensure the user is getting the ‘real’ experience as if that person’s actually there.
Another realistic feature about the Metaverse is online schooling. Just like social events, school is another thing that has been moved online over the last two years. Now, as opposed to Zoom school, it will feel as if people are actually in school. People won’t have to contemplate taking online classes anymore. Schooling in the Metaverse will give students the full real-life experience as if they were in actual school. There’s even a class that teaches individuals about the Metaverse inside the Metaverse. Online schooling in the Metaverse will make it easier for students all around the world to be able to get together and learn in the same classes. It is true that people do tend to feel that online schooling is hard to learn and focus on. However, in the school in the Metaverse, it will feel like you’re actually doing school in person. Students also might be able to travel while still attending online classes and getting the “feel” of a classroom. Not only does this help students, but teachers too! Teachers can take students on field trips all over the world. Teachers could also utilize the computer displays to highlight a historical monument in the virtual world in this scenario. Still, the actual discussion between teacher and student will occur in the real world. A metaverse’s educational potential may be shown where students access virtual learning environments from the comfort of their own homes, using the equipment they already own. “Virtual reality has the potential to move education from its reliance on written text to a reliance on imagery and symbols” (Helsel,1992). Instead of only reading about a topic, such encounters provide a unique way to learn via first-hand experience.
Of course, anyone can access a virtual learning environment from anywhere, which is a benefit now shared by metaverse learning environments. Metaverse settings provide an immersive experience. There are numerous advantages for teaching children how to use virtual reality in the classroom compared to traditional methods, such as allowing them to “visit” places from the past or conduct “risky experiments” in a safe environment. One may think that the Metaverse is simply another video game that will simply distract individuals from real-world studies. However, the Metaverse can give a few advantages that conventional games do not. Metaverse surroundings, for starters, aren’t constrained by graphical aesthetics. Because of their comical graphics, games like Roblox, Minecraft, and Fortnite may cause kids to lose focus on the material they’re supposed to be studying. Metaverse environments may be built such that they resemble real-world environments. For example, an instructor may construct an atmosphere that is exceptionally magnificent and kids of all ages, depending on the Metaverse they choose. Not to mention that metaverse surroundings may imitate real-world locales, enhancing the immersion to a new level. “Then groups of people could together explore the wonders of a cell, inside of volcanoes, the depths of the ocean with virtual reality” (Stevens,1995). Nothing is more believable or understandable than when you’re seeing it with your own eyes. The Metaverse and its realistic setting will give students the firsthand experience that is needed for proper schooling.
Metaverse learning settings may provide a sense of security that cannot be replicated in the actual world. Students’ interactions in the Metaverse will be entirely under the authority of instructors, who will be able to prohibit bullying or segregate youngsters for disciplinary reasons by simply modifying virtual permissions. As a result, students are free to concentrate on their studies rather than being distracted by bullies or other negative influences. Parents can ensure their children are learning in a safe environment that is free from bullying and peer pressure. Students will be able to put all their time and energy into their studies instead of worrying what others think. Since the year 2010, there have been approximately 54 school shooting incidents in the United States”(Lee,2013). Children will be spread out in their homes rather than being confined to a single location, which may help avoid school shootings.
The Metaverse will not only help students, but it will also help people out of school looking for employment. The Metaverse will give people new opportunities for jobs. Similar to job hunting in the real world, individuals will be able to search for their roles in the virtual world. As the Metaverse evolves, its economy will fuel unique job opportunities that are not available anywhere else. “The promising value advantages associated with the metaverse provide vital indications for metaverse jobs in the existing and future job markets” (Weston,2022). For example, one could be a Metaverse tour guide and help new users explore all the virtual reality experiences inside the platform. Events like Metaverse weddings could also create jobs such as virtual reality wedding planners, decorators, and so on.
Users can also rent real estate to host events or build places of business in virtual reality. It can also bring advantages for people struggling to express their ideas at interviews. “When you’re interviewing [people] on a screen, you don’t know a lot of things about them. But when you have the possibility to express many new things like you can express with your avatar in the metaverse, I think there will be a lot of opportunities to really understand people much better than before (Handley,2021).” It brings a whole new opportunity for people having trouble expressing their skills to the world. Could this actually help people make a living in the real world? The answer is absolutely, yes! “Quite rightly so, the metaverse is expected to possess a booming job market. In this 3D world, powered by augmented and virtual reality technologies, where people can work, socialize, and play can also have high-paying jobs” (Sanyal,2022). Job hunting in the Metaverse is going to become extremely popular sooner or later and it’s going to be an opportunity a lot of people aren’t going to want to miss out on. In addition, the Metaverse can help people be successful in their jobs in the real world.
There are many ways doing business in the Metaverse can benefit individuals. Whether it is teams working together on a project, training sessions or holding client meetings and product showcases, the metaverse provides more efficient systems to do business. “You don’t need to go to a place to attend the meeting” (2022). Business can be done without being in the same physical space with each other. More things can be accomplished in a more timely and efficient manner. The fact that businesses are racing to join the Metaverse experience for business only strengthens their view that the Metaverse will become an essential component of the global economy and alter business and social life on a level equivalent to the internet for this group. This also emphasizes the power of large technological corporations on the internet today and how that influence may be transferred to the Metaverse.
In any case, it’s no accident that puts the possibilities and dangers in the context of the internet. The internet can be used to do good or harm at any given moment. Experts think the Metaverse will become the next central computer platform, triggering an evolutionary step-change in hardware, software and experiences. To monetize the Metaverse, it is more practical to look at it as a framework for human connection rather than a commodity that can be sold. New products, items and services may be created and sold more easily with this widening spectrum of business models. “In the metaverse, these assets can be digital art, video game characters and even parcels of virtual land, which have seen meteoric rises in value in the last year. In November 2021, a plot of land in the virtual world Decentraland sold for $2.4 million” (Sherman,2022). Once you purchase real estate, you can sell it at a higher value. Non-tangible items in the Metaverse are becoming valuable to individuals, just like cryptocurrency and NFTs. The new revolution of technology makes these things possible, like for example the blockchain, which is the system that records all information and transactions that go through. Because of this, it is very difficult to change, hack, or cheat the system.
Technology is advancing at a breakneck pace in today’s culture. Like the evolution of technology itself, it’s just going to keep getting better and better. Devices like the smartphone and smartwatch have made it easier for people to communicate with each other. Also, computers are becoming increasingly faster, more portable, and higher-powered than ever before. We even have cars that are more reliant on computers and software with features like GPS, parking, cruise control, monitor emissions, temperature control and much more (Alex,2019). Some people believe that these technological revolutions have enabled us to communicate with one another in ways that were previously unimaginable. However, technology has been argued to be making us less sociable and causing us to feel alone (Friedman). Technology has been known to cause more isolation between people. Does the use of technology do more harm than good?
Many think that technology hurts human connections and friendships, making individuals less friendly and less trusting of others. Research studies have shown that technology may help couples handle conflict better, communicate better, and feel closer. This is not always the case, though. Everything in the contemporary world revolves around technology. It’s become a part of everyone’s everyday routine. Every day, technology improves, whether it is utilized as entertainment for individuals with disabilities or as a type of distraction from their daily lives. When it comes to technology, there is no turning back. People must learn to adapt to these new realities. We can’t attempt to ignore the massive changes that technology is causing. Rather, we must learn to embrace it and use it to our advantage because we can’t outrun it. It will always be a massive part of our daily lives, whether it’s for work or social interaction.
Coronavirus has made the world more cautious about health and wanting to interact with new people. And although it has cost people their businesses, it has also brought new chances for certain people to become successful. Young people looking to invest and make money or even to simply educate themselves will have a hard time ignoring this new golden opportunity. Research shows that the general population can easily fall to addiction and technology is one of those major addictions, just like from any electronic device. As long as people use the Metaverse for the right reasons and use it as a secondary lifestyle, they will be able to manage themselves the right way and thrive. Covid changed how we socialize, entertain ourselves, have school, work, and do business. The Metaverse will improve upon how we do those things online. Covid gave everyone a taste of what going to school online was like, and now individuals will get the benefits of that in the Metaverse. The same is true about entertainment, social interactions, work, and doing business.
Overall, the Metaverse should improve the post-Covid world. Whether or not people agree, at the end of the day, it’s being created whether we like it or not. Times are changing and the world is evolving technologically. It’s important to understand what we’re getting into before it becomes a normal thing. This could easily become a good thing in the world if it is used for education, business, and secondary entertainment. Technology can become society’s greatest weapon if we allow it to take over our lives. But if we learn to use it for the right reasons and take advantage of all its benefits, we will be able to make the world a better place for ourselves and everyone around us. Corona Virus has normalized the increased use and desire for technology and social interaction. And the Metaverse will serve to help with both. The future is coming faster than we think and the creation of the Metaverse is just the beginning.
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