Jason Dorrier writing for Singularity Hub, a site covering and analyzing technology, has an article up titled What Is the Metaverse? The real question he asks in the article is, what are we going to do with the metaverse?
While Jason published his article May 21 (today), he used this video from February 2015 to illustrate what a virtual world (VW) looks like.
Jason points out that the HyFy world is an open world and will be filled with whatever people create. I suppose that is somewhat a novel idea for those unfamiliar with Second Life™.
Jason points out how CompuServe and AOL were dwarfed by the Internet. The Hyperlink made interconnected web pages much more useful than the isolated sandboxed portals. Jason conveys Philip Rosedale’s idea that virtual worlds that have links to other places will cause virtual worlds to follow the growth path of the Internet. If that is true, virtual worlds will supplant the Internet just as it supplanted CompuServe and AOL.
That is an interesting idea. The Internet had little supervision when it was growing. People were free to develop whatever they thought up. Now with control of Internet’s content pushed into regulation under the early 1900’s railroad laws, because of Americans rejected the proposed restrictive Net Neutrality laws and ICANN, the group controlling domain names and IP addressing, being moved toward control by an International Panel of mostly anti-free speech countries that is not going to be the case with virtual worlds.
There is a timing issue. Philip may make it under the wire. But, he may not. I believe growth of virtual worlds is on the cusp of a change in free speech. When a Progressive Liberal like Kirsten Powers writes a book titled The Silencing: How the Left is Killing Free Speech, there are serious problems.
Only time is going to show us how this shakes out. I do think virtual reality (VR) and easily accessible virtual worlds will change the Internet. But, with government so much more involved it is going to be much harder for the little guys to make it big. Those that can lobby the government will have an BIG advantage.
None of that tells us how people will use the VR/VW in the future, but it hints at some of the limits. We can be sure there will be porn and sex.
I’ve been looking at what is coming for VR and how real it may get. The techs are exploring and learning what can be done. With VR headsets it is possible to have a person walking down a circular hallway and thinking it is a continuous long straight hallway. The visuals can show an elevator and have the in-game person thinking they are on a different floor. My point being that the perceived world and the reality of where we are and what the physical is does not have to match as much as I would think.
We know how the Internet is being used. It has been the single largest tool for giving people back a voice. Iranians used it to show what their repressive government was doing. We saw Obama support that government when the Iranian people were starting to rebel. It played out in real time on the Internet.
In the future will people be able to use VR and VW’s bring us to a bloody street strewn with bodies as it happens? Will we be able to stand with students in Tiananmen Square (China 1989) as it happens? How will our experience in an immersive environment that puts us in the middle of the action, affect us?
Will we start to confuse reality and virtual reality? If your experience is so real in VR, how will we mentally distinguish which was virtual and real in our memory? Could that be used for propaganda? Of course it could.
There is lots to think about. We have some pretty good ideas of how VR will be used. I think those of us in SL have a better idea than most. It is those things we cannot imagine, yet, that will be fun and amazing.