Metaverse Narratives: 1992 vs. 2022
On October 28, 2021, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced that the company would be renamed Meta. From a week before the announcement, the media has talked about Metaverse, which has more than tripled based on Google search. Since then, big tech companies such as Microsoft, Intel, and Qualcomm had announced Metaverse plans to make ideas for the virtual world mainstream and will be remembered as the day when they led people to think of Metaverse as a solid function of the future.
Of course, compared to the experience in the real space <actual space, web space>, the current Metaverse is still a half-baked and clumsy experience, and it is still an unfamiliar object that more than half of the public does not understand.
However, the Metaverse is gradually transcending the limits of real space and raising its presence as a fungible space. Research institutions such as Gartner are also expected to see the Metaverse develop by 2030 from Emerging to Advanced, and Mature stages are predicted to grow while overlapping each other.
In the process of Metaverse growing into a new space, it is necessary to establish it as an experience-accumulating place suitable for us so that our lives are not unilaterally dominated. In other words, we must have a mission to make the Metaverse a place similar to or better than reality through new spaces and interactions.
To this end, companies, public institutions, as well as individuals must understand what exactly the Metaverse is, and it is important to understand how prepared we all are in their current situation for these changes.
Metaverse is a compound word of ‘meta’ meaning transcendence and ‘universe’ meaning world. However, it isn’t easy to imagine what the Metaverse is and what happens in that space in this dictionary. So let’s see the Metaverse narrative to overcome this.
The Metaverse was first described in the 1992 dystopian science fiction “Snow Crash.” So let’s reflect on the meaning of the difference by comparing the Metaverse that big tech company’s plans to change its name to “Meta” in 30 years.
First, the two Metaverses are virtual network connections using personal devices such as goggles/earphones or Oculus based on the Internet. The common point is approaching space, thinking, and acting like reality through one’s avatar.
But in the 1992 Metaverse, anything can happen so that you can experience almost anything, including the horror of death. On the other hand, in the 2022 Metaverse, only what the user wants is allowed; for example, in the case of production and sales of virtual products, it is possible within the acceptable range (from the Meta).
In addition, the 1992 Metaverse is a world completely separated from reality, and when an avatar is infected with a digital virus, it affects their brain in real life (Snow Crash). While 2022 is a virtual workspace that expands like a Horizon Workroom, where what is yet to be done.
The Metaverse Narratives will converge into one concept over time. In other words, as Google is usually called the Internet, a virtual space connected using virtual technology is called a Metaverse, and multiple Metaverses will emerge and eventually be integrated into the Metaverse.
Where do we stand and wait for this huge change in the world? Before waiting, let’s consider why these virtual worlds are getting closer. In the real world described in the 1992 novel, the global economy collapses in a situation of hyperinflation, the federal government loses control, and a small number of giant corporations take its place and monopolize the market centrally. While we consider the real world like this, the Metaverse is another world we want to transcend as an escape from this reality.
However, the Metaverse we will face in the future is not an escape from reality but, in a Kantian sense, a transcendent virtual world in which critical consciousness is alive. We look forward to a world that is not just an expanded world where the two worlds are separated and experienced with different selves, but a world that makes us like ourselves at the boundary of the two different worlds.