The Metaverse: About Opportunities and How Misperceptions Reinforce Anxiety
Culture, X-Article

The Metaverse: About Opportunities and How Misperceptions Reinforce Anxiety

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Written by Marc Demar

If you ask people whether they think the world is getting better, you most likely get quite negative feedback. In fact, surveys show that under 10% of people in many developed countries believe that. The overwhelming majority believes it is getting worse.

The terrible tragedy in Ukraine and increased geopolitical tensions make things worse, without doubt, but the developed world’s negativity is rather consistent. People tend to be more optimistic about their own future, but when it comes to the world as a whole we seem pretty unanimous: Poverty, hunger, climate issues, wars; we are going down the drain.

The surveys also suggest that those who participated weren’t exactly deeply knowledgeable about the global issues. Take poverty for example. Many people seemed to believe poverty increases or stays the same. As a matter of fact, in the early 1800’s more than 75% of the global population lived in extreme poverty. These days it is around 9% and it has been declining fast and consistently since the 90’s.

It doesn’t mean we have no serious challenges. We definitely do. And poverty is more than just a lack of income. It is also manifested in limited access to education and other basic services, social discrimination and exclusion from society.

The point is that misperceptions and the things we do not quite grasp tend to make us more negative and increase our anxiety.

About Technology and the Metaverse

I regularly run into people who believe technology will be our downfall. And it does not get better if I mention the Metaverse, which seems to be a synonym for a colder future, most likely controlled by just a handful of corporations.

What most of these people have in common though is that they do not appear to know much about the subject at all. It isn’t that they have done research and after thorough contemplation came to their conclusions. Their standpoints are more often than not driven by fear of change, the unknown and plain misperceptions about what the Metaverse is and isn’t.

This doesn’t mean their opinions don’t matter. They absolutely do and I think it is up to the Metaverse pioneers and first movers to show the world that what we are building and the Metaverse according to our vision represent a great opportunity.

About Opportunities

You could ask yourself ‘opportunity for whom?’ The Internet gave Facebook (Meta) the opportunity to build a business model that evolves around selling your data. How will ‘the next iteration of the Internet’ be any different? Will a few huge corporations control the Metaverse and its direction and essentially keep doing what they always have been doing? Monetize your every move?

Yes that’s possible. Meta won’t go away and lure many people into its version of the Metaverse. But the opportunity we have right now is to steer into a fundamentally different direction and build a future that is much more creator oriented, without large corporations turning your ventures into gold.

Launching a new platform, like Somnium Space, built on top of decentralization technology, is like starting a new country: People move from established, ossified institutions and social classes to new land with new opportunities for development and success and plenty of upward mobility for anyone who wants to participate.

That’s why decentralization matters. That’s why a Metaverse built on top of the blockchain matters. It comes with opportunities that never existed before. And going back to the poverty issue, it will allow people who could never participate to participate, allow access to financial services they never had access to.

The Metaverse is not being developed for purely altruistic reasons, let’s not fool ourselves. In the end we’re all trying to make money. You can call this greed, but whether we like it or not our society is build on our quest for more. It has driven us to the highest level of achievement. It provides a form of motivation and inspires us to push for better social and economic situations.

One does not rule out the other and we should learn from mistakes of the past. While we cannot alter human nature, we can definitely move; change our institutions, our networks, our ways to interact and conduct business.

Image by UltraLord

Final Worlds

“I’d rather go for a walk in nature and get some sun [instead of hanging out in the Metaverse]”. This comment was written by someone who hung out on social media.

There was a time when people said the same about spending time in front of a computer and ‘browse the Internet’. We all know how that went. Whether it be on social media, streaming services or the like, we now spend a global average of 145 minutes per day on Internet. In some countries this exceeds 3 hours per day.

You can like it or not, but humanity has been projecting itself more and more into the digital realm for decades now. In that sense, the Metaverse is nothing new.

Also, the Metaverse does not compete with the physical world any more than Instagram does. In Somnium Space’s case, it mimics physical world phenomena to increase the immersive feeling, but just as there is a time for the Internet (to socialize, do business) after which your grab your coat and go for a walk in the autumn rain, so is there a time for the Metaverse (to socialize, do business) after which you return to that other reality called physical world.

There is nothing fake, nothing cold and nothing dangerous about the Metaverse. It’s a new land with new opportunities that we can either grab or not.

See you there!

Marc Demar
Marc Demar

A @somniumspace native, editor of the @somniumtimes,
believer in the future of decentralized, persistent, immersive VR, traveler, trader, writer

March 20, 2022

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