You may have heard of the Metaverse due to Facebook rebranding their parent company to ‘Meta’. However, the Metaverse has been building for quite a few years now (mostly familiar to gamers as online multiplayer games).
It’s where we are going, both socially and professionally.
It is less science fiction and more science fact and is predicted to replace what is currently known as ‘the internet’ and predicted by those in the know, to become (at current monetary value) between $750B – $13T industry by 2030.
With a couple of big digital tech players fighting it out to be the first to conquer the Metaverse, there are a number of variations on the theme of what the Metaverse can and may look like to us consumers and workers.
What The Metaverse will end up looking like is still a little hazy, although a book by Matthew Ball on The Metaverse is bound to steer us in the right direction.
In the meantime, Microsoft and Facebook (i.e. Meta) are spending vast fortunes and resources on their own version of the build. It will not be long before it is not only part of our social reality, but also an integral part of our business reality. Even the World Economic Forum is putting a lot of focus on how Virtual and Augmented Reality will be integrated into the workforce of the future.
Whatever it will end up being, it will be a convergence of the physical and digital (what is being referred to as the Phygital).
In understanding what this means. There are 3 CyberPsychology concepts that need to be expanded upon:
- The sense of ‘Presence‘. This is where the brain interprets the person being physically present in the VR environment, engaging with other avatars who seem as physically real to us as the people they represent.
- The feeling of being fully ‘Immersed‘ in VR – to the point that a person forgets that they are actually physically sitting in a chair in their living room. A step taken in the virtual is visually and cognitively translated as a step taken in the physical.
- The sense of ‘Embodiment‘ happens when viewing the reflection of the representing avatar in the virtual mirror. The psyche encodes that avatar as a ‘real self’. Whatever the avatar looks like, the appearance thereof directly affects and impacts the real-world sense of self (known as The Proteus Effect or The Ideal Elf).