What is the metaverse? 2 media and information experts explain: The metaverse is a network of always-on virtual environments in which many people can interact with one another and digital objects while operating virtual representations – or avatars – of themselves. Think of a combination of immersive virtual reality, a massively multiplayer online role-playing game and the web. (PS: do I have to care?)

The metaverse is a concept from science fiction that many people in the technology industry envision as the successor to today’s internet. It’s only a vision at this point, but technology companies like Facebook are aiming to make it the setting for many online activities, including work, play, studying and shopping.

The Metaverse Was Lame Even Before Facebook vs Why you should care about Facebook’s big push into the metaverse: On a philosophical level, the metaverse, as Zuckerberg and others have defined it, is a way for us to make our virtual lives more seamlessly integrated with our real ones. (…)

The idea is to create a more immersive internet, in which we’ll use tech like AR and VR to spend our time engaging in virtual spaces and experiences rather than the physical world. The term was first coined in Neal Stephenson’s 1992 science fiction novel Snow Crash, but now, Zuckerberg and many other tech executives want to make it a reality.

Matthew Ball, a technology investor who wrote a definitive series of essays about the metaverse, explained it to me in part like this: “Right now the internet is primarily something that is ‘push.’ You are pushed information, you receive an email, you receive a notification, you then pull up your device to access that.” The difference with the metaverse is that it’s an “embodied engine” you are “already within, rather than reaching out,” Ball said. (…)

Today, Facebook still has to operate under the parameters set by Apple and Google, which make and control the world’s dominant smartphone operating systems. But in this new world that will likely rely on VR/AR headsets and digital sensors, Facebook is striving to create its own rules and operating platform.

So even if you’re not itching to jump into the metaverse anytime soon, you should pay attention to it, and to how Facebook is investing in it.

The metaverse is already here, and it’s called the internet. Sure, VR, and AR are impressive mediums that will for sure take over a lot of the things that we currently do on 2D screens. If you try today’s VR tech, you can already see glimpses of how social hangouts, games and working virtually will get better in the future. So, why is Zuck talking about this big new metaverse thing? Well, the cynic in me believes because they want to own this new internet.

Trapped in the Metaverse: Here’s What 24 Hours Feels Like: will she or won’t she puke?

Don’t mock the metaverseThere are good reasons to take the metaverse seriously. One is historical: as computers have become more capable, the experiences that they generate have become richer. The internet began its life displaying nothing more exciting than white text on a black background. Flat images were added in the 1990s. Video came to dominate in the 2010s. On that reading, a move into three dimensions is a logical consequence of the steady growth in computing power.

An Interview with Mark Zuckerberg about the Metaverse: What’s your vision on how that plays out?

I think it’s probably more peer-to-peer, and I think the vocabulary on this matters a little bit. We don’t think about this as if different companies are going to build different metaverses. We think about it in terminology like the Mobile Internet. You wouldn’t say that Facebook or Google are building their own Internet and I don’t think in the future it will make sense to say that we are building our own metaverse either. I think we’re each building different infrastructure and components that go towards hopefully helping to build this out overall and I think that those pieces will need to work together in some ways.

AR Pioneer Warns That Metaverse Could Make “Reality Disappear”: Among [Louis] Rosenberg’s concerns is that third parties could introduce “paid filter layers” that allow certain users to see specific tags over real-life people. These tags might float above every person’s head, for instance, and provide bits of information about them.

MasterMetaverse1.png Framework for the Metaverse: we should not expect a single, all-illuminating definition of the ‘Metaverse’. Especially not at a time in which the Metaverse has only just begun to emerge. Technologically driven transformation is too organic and unpredictable of a process. Furthermore, it’s this very messiness that enables and results in such large-scale disruption.

“Metaverse” creator reacts to Facebook name change: How do you feel about a storyline that you wrote in “Snow Crash” now turning into our potential global future?

It’s flattering when readers take the work seriously enough to put their own time and money into bringing similar ideas to fruition. After all the buildup in the last few weeks, the Meta announcement has a ripping-off-the-bandaid feeling.

Almost since the beginning of the genre, science fiction writers have occasionally been given credit for inspiring real-life inventions, so this is not new and it’s not unique. I was aware of that fact thirty years ago when I wrote “Snow Crash,” but I didn’t necessarily expect it to happen.

Good science fiction tries to depict futures that are plausible enough to seem convincing to the readers — many of whom are technically savvy, and tough critics.

So when depicting a future technology in a work of science fiction, you have to make it plausible. And if it’s plausible enough, it can be implemented in the real world.

Neal Stephenson Explains Silicon Valley’s Latest Obsession (2017): As Silicon Valley competes to build the best Metaverse, do you think consumers will be drawn more toward immersive virtual-reality experiences, like the one Mark Zuckerberg is selling with Facebook’s Oculus headset, or augmented-reality gear, like Apple’s Tim Cook is interested in developing?

I think that those two options are more different than a lot of people realize. You look at somebody wearing a VR rig on their head, and somebody wearing an AR rig, anything that’s on the market now, and those two people kind of look the same. But what they’re seeing and experiencing is completely different. If you’re in a VR simulation, every photo that’s hitting your eye, everything you see is a virtual object that’s rendered from scratch by a computer graphics system.

If you’re in an AR application, you are where you are. You’re in your physical environment, you’re seeing everything around you normally, but there’s additional stuff that’s being added. So VR has the ability to take you to a completely different fictional place—the kind of thing that’s described in the Metaverse in Snow Crash. When you go into the Metaverse, you’re on the street, you’re in the Black Sun, and your surroundings disappear. In the book, Hiro lives in a shabby shipping container, but when he goes to the Metaverse, he’s a big deal and has access to super high-end real estate. AR’s a whole different bag.