By Madison Wilson
What if you could travel all around the world from the comfort of your own home? Well, the CEO of Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg, is working to make this a reality. Zuckerberg calls this the ‘Metaverse’ which is essentially a virtual version of earth. Metaverse supporters intend on users being able to attend events from concerts to conferences virtually. Over the past two months, there has been lots of talk surrounding the metaverse and its purpose. It may sound cool, but the metaverse is not a good idea.
The first reason being metaverse is a waste of time. The metaverse will contain games, social networks, health and fitness videos, shopping, and more. However, all of these activities can be done at home. What is the point of getting a game to virtually do something you can do in real life? It seems unnecessary and silly to put day-to-day activities in a game. Some games such as Call of Duty and Fortnite have a purpose such as defeat the enemy or be the last one standing whereas metaverse’s only purpose is to live life virtually. Like most video games, the metaverse will likely interfere with daily life, leading to reason number two.
The metaverse is a distraction from reality. A writer from Medium, Florin Marchins\, said, “It is that perspective in which technology fully catches human attention, distracting us from the real world completely. We will become addicted to the metaverse eventually and our children will grow with it.” Once the metaverse gets introduced into our lives it will become a distraction from reality. Creating an interference between the seemingly perfect metaverse world compared to the flawed real world. There are a lot of problems with being in a perfect world, one of them being desocialization.
The metaverse will not only pose as a distraction from reality but will cause disconnection from reality. Many games can cause disconnection from reality which makes the metaverse no exception. Journalist, Benoit Merrein, from the Wall Street Journal said, “It’s possible to start to prefer engaging in virtual spaces because of the accommodations that they provide. As an avatar, I can be tall and skinny, I can be whatever I want. And if we start to shift into preferring a virtual life, that may then negatively impact our ability to engage in a non-virtual life, whether it’s self-confidence or belonging or social anxiety.”
While it may seem like a positive to be able to have an escape from the real world, it can have quite a negative impact. Like Merrein mentioned, it becomes a problem when you start to prefer virtual life over reality because it can negatively affect how you socialize with others in the real world.
However, the metaverse can also be a good thing. “The Metaverse will radically increase the affordability of a wide range of experiences and products, giving poor and middle-class people access to luxuries previously only available to the wealthy” said Saul Zimet from the Foundation for Economic Education. Zimet brings up a good point. Traveling the world in real life would cost a whole lot more than traveling virtually. Although metaverse is quite a bit different than actually going on your dream vacation, it’s a lot cheaper and can still be a fun experience. However, traveling isn’t the only experience, things like concerts and shopping will be accessible too.
Metaverse has its fair share of pros and cons. We won’t truly know the impact of the metaverse until it reaches its peak form which isn’t expected for another 5-10 years. However, it still remains a game with no absolute purpose other than to mimic reality. Are you willing to try it?