We have featured pieces on the Metaverse in recent months, about what they mean by it and what implications it may have for all of us. But with Facebook diving right into it by going as far as changing its name to Meta, interest has shot up even more in the past few days. Jaspreet Bindra, who writes a column for The Mint about all things tech, especially focused on AI, takes a shot at helping us the laymen understand it in a simple way. Bindra says this is nothing new and it should be seen as all our virtual experiences put together. He helps us look at it through four lenses – the mixed reality lens involving VR and AR technologies, the gaming lens (the massive multiplayer online role playing games), the screen avatar lens (our Zoom/Teams experience) and the crypto/NFT lens with an alternate financial universe.
“The metaverse, to me, is all the above merging into a parallel universe with its own infrastructure and applications that replicate and go beyond the real world. Perhaps the best description is from Shaan Puri, a serial founder. To paraphrase his Twitter thread (bit.ly/30aQIdw): Most people think the metaverse is a virtual place…. But what if it’s not a place? It’s Not a Place, It’s a Time. Yes, a moment in time. You know in AI, there’s an idea of ‘the singularity’? It’s a moment in time where AI becomes smarter than humans. The metaverse is the moment in time where our digital life is worth more to us than our physical life. This is not an overnight change. It’s a gradual change that’s been happening for 20 yrs. Every important part of life is going digital. Work –> from factories to laptops, boardrooms to zooms. Friends –> from neighbours to followers. Games –> more kids play Fortnite than basketball & football combined. Identity –> filters are the new makeup. Stories are your personal billboard to broadcast who you are. What matters more. What you look like in real life? Or what you look like on Instagram? Everything goes digital. Your friends, your job, your identity. And now with crypto, your assets are online too. Bored Apes are the new Rolex. Fortnite skins are the new skinny jeans. If everyone hangs out online all the time, then your flexes need to be digital. Play this forward another 10-20 years, we will cross into the metaverse. The moment in time where digital matters more to us than physical.”
Or maybe the best description of the metaverse was given by Neal Stephenson, who coined the word in his book Snow Crash, where it refers to a shared virtual space inhabited by both humans and digital “daemons”. Stephenson famously said he was just “making shit up”. Maybe that’s what it is.”

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