Summary: The web is constantly evolving. Emerging now is a more immersive 3-D environment that features augmented reality, virtual reality and persistent connections. It is called the metaverse, and it may transform online learning.
Original author and publication date: Ray Schroeder – October 20, 2021
Futurizonte Editor’s Note: The Metaverse is emerging. But, what is the Metaverse and how soon before it consumes our lives?
From the article:
Coming out of science fiction is the vision of a three-dimensional web in which we all are connected virtually, wherever and whenever we choose. In a synopsis by the futurist Thomas Frey, we find, “science fiction writer Neal Stephenson coined the term ‘metaverse’ in his 1992 novel Snow Crash, where humans, as avatars, interact with each other and software agents, in a three-dimensional virtual space that uses the metaphor of the real world.”
In recent weeks and months, we have heard more about the trend toward a truly immersive virtual environment emerging online. Notably, Mark Zuckerberg is describing the future of Facebook as the emergence of the metaverse:
As June came to an end, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg told his employees about an ambitious new initiative. The future of the company would go far beyond its current project of building a set of connected social apps and some hardware to support them. Instead, he said, Facebook would strive to build a maximalist, interconnected set of experiences straight out of sci-fi — a world known as the metaverse. The company’s divisions focused on products for communities, creators, commerce, and virtual reality would increasingly work to realize this vision, he said in a remote address to employees. “What I think is most interesting is how these themes will come together into a bigger idea,” Zuckerberg said. “Our overarching goal across all of these initiatives is to help bring the metaverse to life.”
So, one must ask, will this become a real thing or will it remain only a dream of reclusive techno-geeks who lack the social skills to thrive in the “real world”?
At the University of Illinois at Springfield, I recall obtaining an “island” in Second Life some 15 years ago to experiment with building a virtual student union and classroom centers. A small number of students and colleagues would gather together virtually to chat and interact in front of an educational video screen in the union. It was a virtual exercise repeated many times, but the video, people, voiced/typed words and their avatar representations were as real as anything we see and do in person or online. We could fly from one location to another, engage in discussions, view walls of artwork and academic papers. It became a venue for class sessions. And all of it could be screen captured. According to an article on The Verge, others were doing similar work bridging the gap between humans and technology: