7 Ways the Metaverse Will Forever Change How We Work
The word metaverse has been bouncing around a lot lately. Although the technology is not fully developed, the closest examples of the metaverse today include the virtual worlds Second Life, Fortnite, Roblox, and Decentraland.
Furthermore, Facebook changed its name to Meta in anticipation that it will transform the Facebook platform into a 3D virtual world—once the appropriate 3D devices and 5G networks are widely available.
When fully deployed several years from now, the metaverse will change the world, and especially the business world, in various powerful ways. Here’s how.
The metaverse is a 3D virtual world that is accessed using virtual and augmented reality headsets, but it can also be accessed by ordinary computers and mobile devices that will still give you access to the metaverse, but in 2D form. The metaverse is the logical next step in your social media experience. It incorporates many aspects of social media into a three-dimensional world with the user represented as an avatar.
Imagine Jane in Chicago and Joe in California are dating. The metaverse will enable them to sit in a bar in New York and have a drink as if they were physically together, while surrounded by other virtual couples doing the same thing, with music playing in the background. Although Jane and Joe will be sitting in their different apartments thousands of miles apart, they will nevertheless be together in New York in avatar form.
Obviously, their avatars will not actually be in the real New York, but in an online representation of New York. It will, however, look, feel, sound, and even smell as if they are in a restaurant in New York.
However, one day soon, avatars will be holograms. Because a hologram can exist in the real world, one imagines that one day, it will be possible for Jane and Joe to literally beam into a real bar in the real New York in hologram form. One can imagine their holograms walking in and sitting at a real table, next to real people.
After all, if Michael Jackson could come back from the dead in 3D form and perform at the Billboard Music Awards in 2014, supported by real dancers, Jane and Joe’s holograms can certainly meet for a drink or attend a live concert at the Madison Square Garden. The technology is already here. It merely awaits integration into our lives.
Dating isn’t the only way the metaverse will change our world. It’ll directly affect your workplace, too.
1. Meetings and Conferencing
Avatars and holograms will dramatically cut business costs related to meetings and conferencing. Why would Elon Musk fly his private jet to Shanghai to review gigafactory production efficiency when he could simply beam himself in and take a walk around with his engineers?
It will be a while before this can happen. However, Microsoft has already produced Mesh, a platform that enables people to collaborate as if physically present in the same room. Mesh enables team members to gather as 3D avatars or holograms in a virtual world. Mesh will animate your avatar by following your face and movements with your webcam. A user can look at the person they’re talking to and point to features on a project they are working on together as if they were together in an office or a lab.
This will be useful in the next pandemic as nobody will need to wear masks, stand apart or worry about getting sick.
2. New Jobs
The metaverse will radically change existing jobs and create new ones. Jobs that previously required in-person interaction will suddenly have virtual options, meaning that freelancing and remote work opportunities will expand exponentially.
For example, a virtual customer in a virtual shopping mall will receive assistance in selecting a dress or a new laptop from a virtual customer service attendant working from home.
However, the same technology will vastly expand the powers of management to monitor employees. Management will have access to just about everything a worker does. Intrusion into worker privacy will need to be regulated. Otherwise, it will be a problem.
3. Training of Soldiers
The US Army is already training its soldiers in the metaverse in partnership with Microsoft. Instead of planning missions with terrain models cobbled together with boxes, sticks, rocks, and other improvised materials, Microsoft is building headsets that will enable soldiers to see where they are and what’s around them by projecting holographic images, three-dimensional terrain maps, and a compass onto their field of vision.
The headsets will enable soldiers to see the combat environment from the point of view of the enemy. They will view a holographic image of a building and determine how best to access it or escape. Soldiers will be able to see where their other platoon members are, even in dark or dense environments. The headsets will allow soldiers to see through smoke, rain, and darkness. It will also enable them to see around corners.
“Soldiers will be able to rehearse and train in more realistic scenarios using augmented reality to prepare themselves for what they are walking into,” says Master Sgt. Marc Krugh.
4. Medical Surgeries
One day, a heart specialist in Nairobi will perform open-heart surgery on a patient in Seattle using precision robots. This will rely on reliable 5G networks in both locations and a precision robot in the Seattle hospital, that the doctor in Nairobi will operate using a VR device.
Again, the technology is already here. After all, a US Airforce pilot sitting in a booth in the Nevada desert can fly remotely piloted aircraft, such as the RQ-4 Global Hawk, above the skies of Afghanistan, thousands of miles away, as if he were actually inside the aircraft. It is the same principle in action, but surgery, not aerial surveillance.
The metaverse will enable real-time problem-solving and design across large organizations. Indeed, Boeing has already announced that it will build its next plane in the metaverse.
How will this work? Organizations will prototype systems in the metaverse. They will test and analyze functionality to make optimal designs without needing access to actual hardware.
Sensors and robots will be able to test software in the metaverse and simulate real-world physical integrations before finally implementing them in the real world.
Meanwhile, customers will be integrated into the product development process from the very beginning, enabling them to provide feedback on new products without any risk to health and safety.
Consumers will walk around a shopping mall, pick items, try them on, purchase, and wait for delivery from the comfort of their living rooms. Once they have identified the item, a robot in an automated warehouse will identify a replica, pack it and ship it.
7. Salaries Will Be Paid in Cryptocurrencies
A metaverse is a strange place. Many old-world rules and norms will simply not apply, and one of these is fiat currencies. Cryptocurrencies are already the preferred method of buying and selling virtual items in the metaverse, rather than dollars and euros.
Governments are playing almost no role in the metaverse, so this trend is irreversible. The horse has bolted. Therefore, in the future, it will make sense for employees to get paid in cryptocurrencies.
The word metaverse has been around since it entered popular fiction in 1992 when American author Neal Stephenson used the term to describe a fictional, dystopian world, in his novel Snowcrash. In the fictional world of Snowcrash, governments are largely irrelevant after ceding their power and territory to corporations. Countries have been replaced by territories owned and governed by corporations.
Well, the metaverse is here, and just like in Neal Stephenson’s dystopia, governments have no role. Corporations have already carved up the metaverse into virtual territories they own and control. Will the metaverse be good or bad for employees? Will it be good for society? Or will it favor corporations?
It all depends on how well it’s regulated.
While the metaverse’s core tech is still a way off, there are ways we’ve already laid the groundwork for it in our online culture and spaces…
About The Author