3 Questions We Should Be Asking About the Metaverse

While the metaverse is growing in popularity, thanks to Facebook’s name change to Meta, there are still a lot of questions being asked about what the metaverse will look like. The term, coined by science writer Neal Stephenson in his book Snow Crash, describes a future where experiences are virtual and powered by the internet or a computer. We already have some of these experiences currently through using virtual reality (VR) software, or online gaming. While the metaverse is already being anticipated by millions of video gamers around the world, others are concerned about this adoption and asking questions. We’ve selected three specific questions below: 

What Sort of Internet Will Power a Metaverse? 

This question not only asks about the funding of the metaverse but its infrastructure. Because companies like Meta are proposing an internet-run metaverse, it’s important to understand what sort of internet is likely to power this metaverse. The internet is far from ubiquitous globally, which can make powering a metaverse somewhat challenging. Without a major infrastructure change, this could create a digital divide between those that have a powerful enough internet to power a metaverse, and those that don’t. This question also gets into which companies are funding the metaverse. Will the internet companies be funding the mainframe of the metaverse, or will big data companies like Meta be controlling it? 

Will the Metaverse include Data Mining? 

With big data companies like Meta already doing data mining on their users, it’s important to ask if this process will be translated into the metaverse. This question is especially relevant if Meta is going to be a big producer or controller of this metaverse. Users then have to be much more careful about how they interact with the metaverse, and what sort of data this metaverse requires from them. 

How Will the Metaverse Be Incorporated into Our Current Internet? 

This is a similar infrastructure question, but also addresses how society will adopt the metaverse. Will internet companies have to install a separate system to power the metaverse? For older individuals currently struggling to properly use social media, it could be that the metaverse will be trickier to adopt than expected. This must be taken into account when looking into creating a usable metaverse. 

There are many other questions to ask when it comes to the metaverse, but these three cover many different important aspects of the metaverse’s funding, structure, and adoption by society. 

Picture Courtesy of Pixabay.com

Kenna Hughes-Castleberry

Kenna Hughes-Castleberry

Kenna Castleberry is the Science Communicator at JILA (formerly known as the Joint Institute for Laboratory Astrophysics) at the University of Colorado, Boulder.

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