CorpVerse Series #4. Consumer Metaverse. The Conjunction of the Spheres
Regardless of which metaverse you believe in, as long as it is played (?) or lived (???), people will interact with the physical world, breaking out of the matrix at least to satisfy their needs. Although there will definitely be precedents when this will be forgotten, but let's leave these horror stories to the regulators.
And the metaverse worlds themselves will strive to penetrate each other, inflating a common bubble and increasing the user's retention inside. It sounds familiar, doesn't it?
Wait, wait, wait... where are all these righteous people who should shout that the Metaverse should be safe, take care of the soul and body, and bring a person together with nature, and not make him an electricity-consuming machine? They will all be in the Metaverse as well!
🔮Insight. Welcome to the Eduverse!
Digital twins of "children" activities are streamed in real-time to parents' devices. They might kinda remotely watch over their kids without watching.
Technological progress is tireless and all-penetrating, and the Metaverse follows its way. One day at lunchtime, you will hear from your colleagues about a technological innovation introduced at the school where their children study. They call it "Eduverse" and say that it is the future of education and upbringing.
They show you the tablet, but do not forget to mention that you can also watch in 3D with mixed reality glasses, it’s just more expensive, the LEGO avatars of kids scurrying around the virtual classroom in real-time, meanwhile at that moment the real children are sitting in a real physical classroom. Here Mary, the daughter of your colleague, raised her hand in response to the teacher's question - a dialog bubble lit up above the Lego woman. “Oh, we learned it yesterday!” Mom exclaims contentedly.
"How did we get to this point," you think? And remember that schools have banned the shooting of children and live broadcasts on the Internet, but virtual broadcasts of avatars successfully bypass the prohibitions of regulators. Unexpectedly, while eating a salmon croissant, you discover the world of educational metaverse with digital twins of educational processes. Welcome to the Metananny platform.
⚗️Experiment. Who wants a virtual pizza if you can eat a real one
Metaverse builders provide standard templates for in-world presence for popular small and medium business types.
The Metaverse providers are trying to drag typical offline businesses into it directly or through aggregators, hoping to ride not only the streams of advertising money but also sit on the transaction pipe. They offer ready-made pre-configured virtual presence templates that are easy to integrate with the generic software layer of the good old-fashioned but quite digitalized offline. Such a Wix for the Metaverse.
You think how lucky it is that you can buy gear without taking off your helmet. And it is Mark who makes sure that even in the Metaverse you are dressed, fed, and satisfied.
Therefore, walking through the expanses of virtual battles, you stumble upon a Dodo pizza tent (Lisa, hello!) and order a fresh margarita for five minted coins. After 30 minutes, a bell rings in your helmet and a message pops up that the courier is standing outside the door. Bon appétit.
⚙️ Practice. Shut up and take my money for this usually unnecessary thing, whatever it is.
Leading media, gaming, and tech companies sell embeddable and reusable Metaverse blocks: rooms, apps, items, behaviors, and NPCs.
Completely digital characters backed by unknown authors or entire agencies are the new stars of social networks and the Metaverse experiences. The ideal webcam girls work 24/7 and don't go to the bathroom, eat or sleep. AI and deepfakes are reaching out to virtual porn.
In the meantime, media franchise rights holders—gaming, mass media, entertainment, and technology companies—are starting to ship off-the-shelf embeds. Want a Sherlock Holmes room, a Harry Potter understairs shelter, or an Enterprise cabin? How about a Halo's Chief helmet or the helmet from the Peripherals TV series for your avatar? Maybe add the butler Alfred from Batman?
Special effects, wallpapers, behaviors, gear, ready-made NPCs, buildings, and rooms can all be monetized at the price of replicating zeros and ones. This is the second place where we mean NFTs. But... only if the virtual experience itself takes off as a way to burn off hours of your spare time.
🚸Risk. Metaverse as a squeeze of society
The Metaverse raises public concerns about being safe (abuse, bullying, etc.), lack of moderation, and child protection.
It becomes evident to society that the Metaverse is not the world of pink ponies and rainbows, but quite a projection of what the real society really is. It can be unsafe and everyone can become a victim of abuse, bullying, or harassment.
It turns out, what a surprise, the Metaverse designers didn't think about this at all in any of their blueprints, whitepapers, and architecture designs. All defense mechanisms are fixes and blotches just like in a real society.
With moderation in the Metaverse, everything is as bad as on the Internet (not surprising, since these are the same companies!). And the potential for disinformation is perhaps even greater.
Damn, but didn't we dream of making virtuality as close to reality as possible? Here it is!
📧 This is Human Spectrum Lab, a newsletter about Exploring the Human Spectrum and Shining through the Future.
In this series of posts, we will share pieces from our research around the Corporate Metaverse done by Constantin Kichinsky, Aleksei Kalenchuk & Ekaterina Filatova. For the context, it is more a future foresight, rather than a strong fixation on how things are today.