The Metaverse Is Ready For The World, But Is The World Ready For The Metaverse?

Metaverse hurdles
Metaverse hurdles

The Metaverse Is Ready For The World, But Is The World Ready For The Metaverse?

It’s easy to become so enthralled by the potential of a technology that we forget that so much of its value is bringing those benefits to the right people at the right time. It reminds me of the old joke:

What’s the most… timing… important thing about comedy?

If you count the headlines and the reddit posts and the Google search trends, the interest and excitement about the Metaverse suggests that the technology is ready for people to use, enjoy and explore. But, is this technology maturing at the right time? Here are a few possible snags the Metaverse might hit during adoption.

It’s Too Complex
For people used to crypto and virtual-augmented realities, people who have been raised on online gaming and Pokémon Go, the transition to the Metaverse might be seamless, easy even. That would only be a small percentage of the total population, which means that there are hurdles for mass adoption — and mass adoption will be necessary to justify the incredible investment in the technology.

It Will Require Too Much Energy
The Metaverse is using a lot of energy. The cryptocurrency backbone requires a lot of energy. Some experts suggest we will need orders of magnitude more energy. To get (nearly) everyone using the Metaverse, more energy expenditures will be necessary. The question is: Where will that energy come from, what will be the cost — financially and environmentally?

The Infrastructure Will Suck
Along with the same lines as the energy debate: If our current technological infrastructure strains under the weight of our current requirements, how will it respond with an even greater load from the Metaverse? More investment will be required to prepare for this demand.

More Workers
The Metaverse will not just consume energy, it will consume vast quantities of intellectual and creative output, In the tightest labor market the (real) world has ever seen, creating that workforce might be a challenge.

The Technological Leadership Will Suck
Building the Metaverse will require more visionary leadership, which is in short supply right now. We will need to train and coach leaders to extend a creative vision into the Metaverse.

The creeping desire to centralize the Metaverse will be a constant threat. It could strangle the power and potential of the Metaverse before it has a chance to flourish.

Ethical Missteps
If early pioneers in the Metaverse stumble on ethical issues right out of the gate, it will cast a long shadow on growth and development of the Metaverse. Caution must be exercised to do the right thing in the right way at the right time.

All of these critiques are not to meant to suggest that the Metaverse is doomed. Far from it. It means that the most talented, most creative and most industrious Metaverse pioneers are needed right now to help tackle these issues. Or roadblocks can turn into chasms and chasms could create a Metaverse winter which may delay the technology’s full potential by years.

Matt Swayne

Matt Swayne

With a several-decades long background in journalism and communications, Matt Swayne has worked as a science communicator for an R1 university for more than 12 years, specializing in translating high tech and deep tech for the general audience. He has served as a writer, editor and analyst at The Quantum Insider since its inception. In addition to his service as a science communicator, Matt also develops courses to improve the media and communications skills of scientists and has taught courses.

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