As the metaverse becomes more of our future, there are many questions to ask. One of the biggest questions is how will the metaverse affect our internet? The metaverse, a phrase describing a virtual universe powered by the internet, is already here in the form of online gaming, virtual reality (VR) technology, or augmented reality. As the metaverse relies on the internet for power, it’s important to better understand the implications that this new technology may have on our current ones.
As experienced now, online video gaming or video streaming can slow down the internet by clogging its bandwidth. With a metaverse that involves more than just these things to power, our current internet may not be able to support this technology. As 5G internet is still continuing to be rolled out around the world, there are geographic locations that are more likely to have a functioning metaverse than others. Places where 5G is already prevalent, or where internet improvements can be easily installed (such as in developed countries or big cities) may see themselves having a more functioning metaverse. In other places like developing countries, or places with internet cafes, the metaverse may be more strained, or even nonexistent. The technology of the metaverse is limited by the power of the internet that supports it.
Depending on what internet infrastructure the metaverse adopts, there could be more serious issues. If the metaverse will use new internet infrastructure, this could lead to a large digital divide between those that have this new internet infrastructure (and the metaverse) and those that don’t. Even if our current internet infrastructure is adopted by metaverse technology, a digital divide will still exist between people who have better and faster internet than others. This does not necessarily mean that the divide will be permanent, as metaverse companies (specifically big companies like Facebook) may invest in developing a better internet to support even access to this metaverse globally.
As the metaverse is most likely to be internet-powered, there are other questions to ask, specifically about privacy. With big companies like Facebook investing heavily in metaverse technology, users may have concerns about data mining, a process that Facebook already participates in. Additionally, depending on where metaverse power sources are installed, there could be potential privacy issues with individual households. As metaverse technology continues to develop, these questions must be answered before society can properly adopt this technology.
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