Imagine: you put on your headset and, just by switching it on, you are transported into a whole new world in VR. This VR world is called the metaverse. The metaverse is a multiverse that combines virtual reality with real life.
Last year, Facebook changed its name to Meta, and released a Connect 2021 presentation on 28 October 2021. Mark Zuckerberg stated, “The metaverse is the evolution of the internet,” in Connect 2021. Zuckerberg also claimed that the company will invest in a training program for entrepreneurs and creators to learn how to monetize and make virtual products.
But is the Metaverse the best thing for society, and is it safer than the internet? According to an article on harassment and abuse in the metaverse from the nonprofit Center for Countering Digital Hate: “Bad behavior in the metaverse can be more severe than today’s online harassment and bullying. That’s because virtual reality plunges people into an all-encompassing digital environment where unwanted touches in the digital world can be made to feel real, and the sensory experience is heightened,” (The Metaverse’s Dark Side: Here Come Harassment and Assaults by Sheera Frenkel and Kellen Browning). When these attacks happen, it's more intense than on the internet. Imagine getting unwanted touches in the metaverse, with no way to report them.
Nonetheless, Zuckerberg believes in the metaverse so much that he actually invested billions of dollars for the project. Interest in metaverse is not limited to Meta; other companies are into the idea of the metaverse as well. In Roblox, you can create so-called “experiences” through the Roblox studio, and Fortnite, from Epic Games, is even hosting virtual concerts and events within the game.
So the next time you put on your Oculus headset, just remember: this VR world is going to get bigger than you know, sooner than you think.