Metaverse – UPSC Prelims

What is “Metaverse”?
  • The “metaverse” is a network of always-on virtual environments in which many people can interact with one another and digital objects through virtual representations of themselves.
  • There are 3 key aspects of the metaverse: presence, interoperability and standardization.
    • Presence is the feeling of actually being in a virtual space, with virtual others. This sense of presence is achieved through virtual reality (VR) technologies such as head-mounted displays. It improves the quality of online interactions.
    • Interoperability means being able to seamlessly travel between virtual spaces with the same virtual assets. That is, one virtual representation created, can be used in different virtual worlds.
    • Standardization: These are common technological standards which are essential for widespread adoption. This enables interoperability of platforms and services across the metaverse. International organizations such as the “Open Metaverse Interoperability Group” define these standards.
What is the news?
  • There is a new push in tech-firms for dominating the “Metaverse” technology. Recently Facebook renamed itself as “Meta” highlights one such push.
  • Technology industry envision it as the successor to today’s internet.
Why the Metaverse matters?
It is extremely important for the future of the economy and society as a whole. Companies like Facebook are aiming to make it the setting for many online activities, including work, play, studying and shopping.
Term Metaverse:
  • Sci-fi novelist Neal Stephenson coined the term in his 1992 novel “Snow Crash” to describe the virtual world in which the protagonist, Hiro Protagonist, socializes, shops and vanquishes real-world enemies through his avatar.
  • The concept predates “Snow Crash” and was popularized as “cyberspace” in William Gibson’s ground breaking 1984 novel “Neuromancer.”
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