Journey to the Metaverse the dark side of a bright future

(ORDO NEWS) — Imagine a chilly February day. You wake up, put on your smart glasses, go through the weather forecast, a list of scheduled appointments, and unanswered messages while your smart device asks where you’d like to have breakfast today.

Tired of the cold winter, you find yourself on the coast of the Indian Ocean, so realistic that it seems that its waves are about to touch you.

This is more like something from the realm of fantasy, right? We hasten to please you (or upset you), this is not science fiction, but the metaverse or its ideal representation.

The Metaverse is a virtual world in which objects that do not exist in reality coexist with absolutely real things and actions in the context of a single platform. The main idea of ​​such a universe is the merging of the physical and digital worlds in one ecosystem.

In simple words: the metaverse allows users to be transported to another reality with the help of digital avatars. Such alternative realities in theory should partially replace or become a complete analogue of our world in all respects – from education and entertainment to economic issues.

By the way, some metaverses have their own currency, which can already be used for purchases in the virtual world, and the purchased goods will be delivered in reality. At the moment, this is the predominant, if not the only, way for business development.

It should be noted that the metaverse arose as another way to earn money. But why now? Started in 2007 by Steve Jobs, the mobile revolution has come to an end, and the Internet is present even in the most remote corners of the Earth.

The creators of the metauniverse see the next step in development as the unification of the two worlds. So, according to analysts at Goldman Sachs, over the next 5-10 years, the metaverse should become a lever for the transition from Web 2.0 (mobile Internet, cloud technologies, etc.) to Web 3.0 (decentralized Internet, local platforms). However, there are always obstacles on the way to the “ideal” world.

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Device question

The main reason for the lack of success of the metaverse idea at the moment is that technology has not yet reached the necessary level of user convenience. Helmets, goggles, gloves – all this is as inconvenient as possible, but not because of the bulkiness, as you might think, but because of the way data is entered.

Remember the Google Glass augmented reality glasses that failed to make a breakthrough in the market? The reason for the failure lies not in the dubiousness of technology, but in the way data is entered – you need to take a picture of what you want to find, or say “Ok Google!” in the old fashioned way. Only no one gives a guarantee of recognition accuracy in a noisy metropolis.

However, even if the problem of the device itself is solved in one form or another, as, for example, Apple is trying to do, the problem of communicating with gadgets will still remain.

Even if users have long been accustomed to voice input, communicating daily with Siri and Alice, we still do not speak the same language with devices – the command language remains unnatural for a person. The same applies to VR / AR – in order for users to be comfortable (not necessarily correct), it is necessary to provide the ability to enter data “from the brain”.

Customer service issue

If we talk about customer service in the new reality, then the first and main question that you should ask yourself is – why? Users are immersed in the digital world primarily not for shopping, but for a new user experience.

Therefore, from the point of view of service, it is rather not the standard support questions that are of interest – assistance with the delivery and selection of goods, returns – but the questions of methods and the maintenance of devices itself (suddenly someone will be shocked).

However, this does not apply to gaming metaverses, which lack customer service as such. You won’t ask for help getting past the boss, right?

By the way, at one time, Amazon released the Kindle Fire tablet, embedding in it the ability to communicate with support using a video call. At that time, the innovative case has now become our routine.

To date, optimal customer support lies in minimizing the number of his actions. It doesn’t matter where your customers are – in the metaverse or in the real world.

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The question of advertising

In the future, the metaverse will provide space for the development of a growing e-commerce market – in the new environment, it will be possible to earn money both on advertising and on the sale of goods.

However, in reality this does not apply to all companies. For example, companies such as Microsoft (choose the gaming metaverse vector) are product businesses and do not consider advertising as their main source of income.

One way or another, advertising moved to the online format a few years ago, so now the presence of brands in the metaverse is more of a PR-promotion method than a performance channel.

If a company chooses to use the metaverse as a platform for advertising, then they should think about advertising virtual goods, not physical things.

Here it is important to create a direct contact for the user with your service so that he transfers the virtual experience he has received to the real world. However, the ability to measure the effectiveness of such companies is limited – standard tracking tools are not yet technically ready for the new reality.

The issue of selling goods

Remember the coins you had to buy in order to purchase additional lands to expand the farm in your smartphone or the super ability for the game character? These are virtual goods, that is, virtual game items that are now at the peak of popularity in the metaverses.

The largest companies recreate clothing collections in the virtual world, and realtors buy land for further resale. This is not unreasonable: running a store in virtual reality is much less labor-intensive and cost-effective than running a real store with employees.

However, the acquisition of one’s own car in the metaverse and even its maintenance at TO does not continue in real life due to the initial lack of complete immersion in another reality. So, the sale of digital goods cannot replace physical things. This is rather a curious addition for those who are interested in diversifying their digital life.

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A question of safety and ethics

Users are concerned about the protection of personal data even where the border between the digital and real world is gradually blurring.

At the moment, there are no laws and penalties in the metaverse for their violation, so privacy issues are of primary concern to specialists, since hacking and falsifying game accounts are not uncommon.

It is fair to assume that the metaverse will also face a similar problem. One of the most important elements in this case will be the digital identification of users.

If the idea of ​​the metaverse is fully realized, the user profile will contain not only the date and city of birth, but also information about bank accounts and even biometric data.

The fact is that security issues in the metaverse are completely in common with the regular Internet, where the main factor is the number of participants and the breadth of opportunities for creativity.

If you just give free rein to the imagination of users, you can imagine what will come of it. The same as with the unmoderated ML model GPT-3, which eventually turned into “Hitler”.

The idea of ​​the metaverse is truly innovative and interesting, but we are not ready for a complete transition and immersion in a new reality, since at the moment the infrastructure of the worldwide network is simply not enough.

According to cyberpunk books, the metaverse will catch up with us one day, but in a distant future, where ordinary lenses can transport us to a digital universe, and with the help of synapse signals we can control bionic limbs.

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