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As this is the final piece of our “Building the Metaverse” series, I find it fitting to conclude by painting a picture of what the metaverse could look like and how it might operate.
I am not going to bore you by re-introducing the idea of having an avatar interacting in a virtual world and using crypto and NFTs as a means of tender, because I know you are already well-versed in those arenas. Instead, I want to focus on the idea that the metaverse could connect people from all corners of the world in ways that we never thought possible.
This will be a fairly technical post — but don’t worry, I’ll try to break things down as best as I can.
Dimensionality and spatial computing
The metaverse will be composed of many dimensions, and each one of those dimensions will be filled with all sorts of content. You will have the 2D web, 3D virtual worlds, 4D augmented reality (AR), and even 5D mixed reality. But what exactly do I mean by “dimension”?
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In short, a dimension is simply a way of measuring something. So, the 2D web would be everything that exists on a flat plane like a traditional website. A 3D virtual world is, well, a world that exists in three dimensions where you can move around and explore. And AR is when digital content is overlaid onto the real world.
Mixed reality is a bit more complicated and it is the dimension that I am most excited about. Mixed reality is when you take the real world and mix it with the virtual world to create a new hybrid reality. This is different from AR because digital content can interact with the physical world.
Think about it this way, in AR, you might see a virtual dog on your coffee table. But in Mixed reality, that virtual dog could walk off the table, onto the floor, and then pee on your rug (I know, gross).
The point is, the metaverse will be composed of many dimensions and each one of those will offer something unique. And because of that, the metaverse will connect the world.
But before we can get to that point, we need to lay the foundation with spatial computing. This is a way of representing digital information in a 3D space.
As we alluded to earlier, the metaverse will be composed of many dimensions. So to make all this work, we need to have a way of representing different dimensions in a 3D space. And this is exactly what spatial computing will allow us to do.
The metaverse as a global platform
Now that we have laid the foundation, let’s talk about just how the metaverse can connect people from all over the world. The first thing to understand is that the metaverse will be a global platform.
What this means is that anyone from anywhere will be able to access the metaverse and interact with others. There will be no barriers to entry and everyone will be on an equal playing field.
This is in contrast to the traditional internet composed of many different silos. For example, you have the U.S. internet, which is different from the Chinese internet, which is different from the Russian internet. The profound difference lies in regulatory environment, censorship, and data privacy. All these factors make it very difficult for people from different parts of the world to connect with one another.
But with the metaverse, there will only be one global platform that everyone can access. This is a very powerful idea, because it will enable unlimited language translation, real-time understanding of culture and customs, immutability to regulation and censorship, and much more.
The metaverse as a decentralized platform
In addition to being a global platform, the metaverse will be a decentralized platform. No one central authority will control it.
Instead, it will be a distributed network powered by the people who use it. This is a very important distinction because it will make the metaverse much more resilient to censorship and control.
The traditional internet is centralized, which means that there are a few companies that control everything. For example, Facebook controls your newsfeed, Google controls your search results, and Amazon controls what you buy.
But with the metaverse, there will not be any central authority that controls what you see or do. This is a huge shift that will lead to a much more open and democratic internet.
The changing nature of transactions and ownership
Another key aspect of the metaverse is that it will change the nature of transactions and ownership. Today, all transactions are mediated by centralized institutions.
For example, when you buy stocks, you are actually buying a piece of paper that represents your ownership of that stock. But with the metaverse, you will be able to own digital assets directly.
This is a very important distinction, because it will lead to a much more efficient and transparent market. Today, there are many middlemen that take a cut of every transaction.
In the metaverse, transactions will be direct and there will be no need for middlemen. This will make the market much more efficient and it will also reduce the cost of transactions.
Putting everything together: Adapting in the age of the metaverse
To conclude our series, let’s consider how to adapt to the immense paradigm change that the metaverse will bring. We need to learn to think in 3D and stop limiting our imagination to the 2D world that we live in today. What do I mean by that exactly?
In the 2D world, we are used to thinking about things in terms of left and right, up and down. But in the 3D world of the metaverse, there are an infinite number of possibilities. We need to start thinking about things in three dimensions.
We also need to get comfortable with the idea of digital ownership. In the metaverse, you will own digital assets directly. This is a very different concept from owning a piece of paper that represents your ownership of an asset.
And finally, we need to learn to think about the world in terms of networks. The metaverse will be a decentralized platform that is powered by the people who use it. This is a very different model from the centralized internet that we are used to today.
In spite of these differences, if we learn to think in 3D, get comfortable with digital ownership, and start thinking about the world in terms of networks, we will be able to adapt and thrive in this new era.
Imagine this as a final thought — the metaverse is not just a game or a recreational diversion. It is the next evolutionary step in human social interaction and it’s time to start preparing for it.
The metaverse is coming, and it’s going to change everything.
Daniel Saito is CEO and cofounder of StrongNode
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