Every day, Jonathan at Metaverse News reads a number of fascinating articles regarding web3 and the metaverse. However, some are more captivating than others. And when I read research from the Copenhagen Institute for Futures Studies on potential future metaverse scenarios, my mind was blown.
Currently, Metaverse News is releasing a 5-part article series. This article series draws extensively from the research conducted by the Copenhagen Institute for Futures Studies but has been revised and updated by our own team. Relax with a cup of coffee and dive into this series.
The Free Metaverse
With the goal of creating a new decentralized, interoperable go-to interface to the internet, groups of interested individuals (some non-profit, others for-profit) band together to build a Metaverse that combines the real world with a collective virtual universe employing XR technology. For seamless transactions across the Metaverse, this scenario makes use of blockchain technologies, which permit decentralized proof of ownership of digital and physical assets (via NFTs and smart contracts), and native support of cryptocurren- cies, including as a’masked’ underlying currency that is converted in real-time into the user’s preferred (local or international) currency. Decentralized autonomous organizations (DAOs) hold many of the major brands in this future scenario, and new “Web3-native brands” have developed to become the largest and most powerful in the world.
the Free Metaverse
The name “the Free Metaverse” is coined to describe this eventuality. It is based on open, non-proprietary protocols for representing and interacting with virtual 3D objects, environments, and digital assets, making it simple to reuse the same digital assets in many contexts, much way a JPEG picture may be used in other types of content. Augmented reality allows for the addition of virtually constructed items, characters, and places to the actual world, whereas virtual reality allows for the duplication of real-world objects, people, and locations into artificial environments (augmented virtuality). Digital representations of 3D material often have reduced versions due to bandwidth constraints, with intricate textures created and animated locally on users’ devices. This degree of complexity can be adjusted by the user depending on the device’s capabilities. As a result, users in the same virtual environment can select from a variety of visual representation styles based on the same reduced representation, allowing for a wide range of quality levels of visual representations for the same scene.
Devices for augmented or virtual reality (AR or VR) such as goggles and lenses for output, and haptic devices, laser scanners, or cameras for input, form the backbone of The Free Metaverse’s interface technology. In order to simulate real-world interactions with virtual items, several of these gadgets use cameras or 14 infrared laser scanners that monitor hand movement. Haptic input via gloves or even full-body suits is needed to feel textures, weight, and solidity; however, only a small subset of users is willing to go to such extremes, often reserved for serious gaming or specialized virtual reality experiences. Special sense-pads, such as lickable screens (like the ‘Taste the TV’ prototype presented by the Meiji University’s School of Science and Technology in Tokyo in the early 2020s), allow getting more immersive experiences, such as taste and smell. Voice control and eye-tracking also add to the seamless experience.
On the other hand, a screen and a mouse are still necessary to enter the digital realms of the Metaverse. Children and the elderly find the Free Metaverse easier and more natural to use than the conventional internet due to the Free Metaverse’s intuitive closeness to real-world experiences. Once the system’s first hiccups are ironed out, it will become the de facto standard for accessing and sharing digital material, whether it exists entirely in the virtual realm or is superimposed on the actual world via augmented reality. Much as how the World Wide Web superseded older internet access methods like bulletin boards and Usenet, the Free Metaverse will eventually supplant the World Wide Web, even if the latter will continue to exist as an underlying content layer.
By making an NFT, users may prove ownership of their avatars’ appearances in the Free Metaverse and any derivative works. To prevent commercial interests from claiming rights to every imaginable shape and color, ownership can be auctioned, but no single user is authorized to possess more than a score of universal avatars. Because NFTs indicate ownership, the person of an avatar may be determined, making it harder to get away with harassing or swindling other presences in the Metaverse. Users can have as many specialized avatars as they like for things like playing games, but if they surpass the Metaverse-wide avatar limit, those avatars will not be able to be exported.
Businesses and other groups are free to populate the Metaverse with a limitless number of synthetic characters designed by AI and under its control. The level of realism achieved by AI systems nowadays makes it hard to tell them apart from real people. Since it is difficult for different systems to tell if a purportedly genuine person is, in fact, synthetic, it has become legally compulsory in most countries to alert humans that they are now engaging with an AI.
Many metaspaces contain codes of conduct, such as no virtual nudity and abuse of other users, and have incorporated “per- sonal boundaries” features, such as establishing constraints of personal contacts, although the Metaverse as a whole has few laws beyond those hardwired into the protocols. Also, there are a number of paid and unpaid moderators (both human and AI) who may issue warnings or remove users who misbehave. When this is the case, the vast majority of the Metaverse is safer for users, unless they are enticed out of the safe areas. Parents can restrict their children to only access authorized or approved metaspaces, but tech-savvy kids will find a way. Due to the decentralized structure of The Free Metaverse, it is hard to assure perfect “purity,” and criminals lurk in the shadows, hidden from ordinary search engines and access points, leading some organizations to demand for rigorous administration of the Metaverse.
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