The Metaverse: Understanding Its Potential and Limitations
The potential and limitations of the metaverse, an immersive virtual world serving as a digital twin of the real world, have garnered increasing attention in recent years. Despite the hype and bold predictions, the true potential of this fast-evolving technology is not yet obvious. To understand the metaverse, it is essential to explore its current state and future direction. Stanford University’s Jeremy Bailenson, who has been researching the metaverse and virtual reality for decades, provides valuable insight into this technology.
What is the Metaverse?
The metaverse is a shared virtual space that is accessible to everyone. It allows users to experience a world that is beyond the physical realm, where they can be anything they want to be, interact with virtual projections of real people, and even touch and feel things in a way that is impossible in the physical world.
The Potential and Limitations of the Metaverse
Certainly, the metaverse has great potential in various fields. For instance, it can be especially useful in management training. Bailenson explains, “you have an experience while wearing another person’s body and you get to walk a mile in that person’s shoes.” This can help increase empathy and promote diversity training in organizations.
Another area where the metaverse can have a major impact is entertainment. In this virtual world, users can participate in exciting, immersive experiences that provide a sense of escape from the real world.
However, it is important to note that the metaverse is still a work in progress. Bailenson is candid about its shortcomings and believes that its development will be “driven by use cases that make sense.” He warns that the metaverse is not going to change our lives tomorrow and that it may take some time before it becomes a ubiquitous technology.
Making the Metaverse Safe, Accessible, and Economically Viable
To make the metaverse a safe, accessible, and economically viable technology, it is important to have a clear framework in place. In May 2022, the World Economic Forum launched “Defining and Building the Metaverse,” an initiative that aims to guide the creation of a safe and inclusive metaverse. This initiative is divided into two tracks: the governance track focuses on defining recommended governance frameworks to prevent harm and ensure equity and interoperability, while the value creation track focuses on how economic and social value can be created in the metaverse.
Building a Safe, Engaging, and Useful Metaverse
In conclusion, the metaverse is an exciting technology with great potential in various fields. However, it is still a work in progress, and it is important to have a clear framework in place to ensure that it is safe, accessible, and economically viable. Companies and regulators must work together to build a metaverse that is engaging, useful, and inclusive for all.