By James Clarke-Lister
There are still no flying cars like in the Jetsons, but at some point in time, we’ve all likely had thoughts about living in other realities. Daydreams about being somewhere else at a particular point in time, are the thoughts paving the way for technological innovation. This idea of an alternate reality experience has a name, one quickly becoming familiar. The term Virtual Reality (VR) describes an encounter that stimulates experiences performed (virtually) through a technological medium.
Items like Sony’s Oculus Rift is a device similar to the Wii.
Goggles immerse a player into the VR experience, using what is called the VR headset. The Wii was an early adopter of this idea of bridging the virtual and physical world together – remember Wii bowling?
Overall these devices and the notion of virtual reality are still a mere foot in the water for the ocean technology has in store.
Earlier this year, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced Facebook will be incorporating a new branch to their business called Meta. “Imagine you put on your glasses or headset and you’re instantly in your home space – it has parts of your home recreated virtually, and has concepts that are only possible virtually” – what Zuckerberg talks about is the Metaverse, a world similar to your own, yet dissimilar in many ways. Now people tend to argue between “that is so cool!” or “we’re all going to become virtual zombies!” Although both sides are valid, exploring history can help understand this potential in our society.
During the famous reveal of the first-ever iPhone, Steve Jobs notably touched on the idea of technological innovation. ‘There are certain moments in time’, Jobs said, ‘where something beautiful is created that significantly disrupts industries and even changes the way we as a society see the world, – a new frontier’. Jobs was right.
The Printing Press started nearly 600 years ago. Today it would seem inconceivable to have a world without books. Now, many of us read on an E-Reader!
The invention of the telephone was a first where humans began utilizing a technological medium to interact with one another. Perhaps today, we talk and communicate even more using a phone device over socializing in person. Albeit this convenience can have downfalls, it’s hard to now imagine a world without a telephone. It seems technology has been a double-edged sword, but one which has always strived to serve overall as a tool.
The obvious rise of social media is another example.
Despite its risks and long-term uncertainties, social media enables mass mobility, giving voices to those otherwise without – a tool nonetheless. Video games and other screen-related activities are portals into the land of virtual reality, where people work collectively and interact with one another. Many agree there is a feeling of connection when playing and talking online with others that holds great value. These opportunities have been substantial throughout the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Many who suffered during quarantines would have been unable to speak and see those they love, without these technological advances. Now, imagine the Metaverse. It’s like Facetime, but better.
The same logic applies when we encounter new conditions of long-distance longings.
Is Metaverse a solution?
The development of the Metaverse and its applications is expanding fast. The MARS house is a luxury Metaverse dream home on Mars designed in May 2020 by Toronto-based digital Artist Krista Kim, the first-ever digital home sold. MARS was acquired for 288 ETH, the digital currency asset Ethereum, equivalent to roughly $600,000 CAD. In your Metaverse home you can invite friends and loved ones to a virtual dinner party. You design your world. You control this virtual environment all the way down to the type of flowers you want on your virtual dinner table. With this house, you never have to shovel the walk again. Sounds interesting doesn’t it? So where does one buy these products? Just like the real world – someone must create them and market them.
Andrés Reisinger, a pioneer in 3D virtual architecture, sold architectural renderings for $340,000 within the year. He isn’t alone. Many digital artists and architects are now expanding to more than just physical art, but digital art too. This can be anything you can think of from furniture, appliances, paintings, to the outfits your virtual self would wear. Silly to some, is any of this really different from a daydream? In our era, the Metaverse may become the realest solution to meeting with others when physical contact is not accessible. Whether it becomes a business meeting or a casual hang-out with friends, this reality shortens flying miles, reduces costs, and contributes to the reduction in carbon output.
The entanglements of this new reality are still in infancy, and there are many questions still unanswered. How will this affect real estate and investments? What are the health implications of using a technology long-term – what is too much?
Will it be addictive? Needless to say, this tip of the iceberg of a newfound frontier will function separately from our physical reality and it’s clear the demand is real. So, is it time for you to experience a virtual home?