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News Article

The Successor of the Internet: The Metaverse

By Cinthya Alaniz Salazar | Fri, 08/20/2021 - 09:12

The Metaverse, originally a science fiction concept from 1992, stands to become the successor of the internet age as technology companies explore this nascent sector hoping to confluence the physical world and virtual spaces.

This new network is still very much just a concept at this point, and can end up looking very different from the way it is currently being envisioned. Just like the Information Superhighway – now known as the internet – was at its beginnings, the metaverse is currently an imperfect approximation contingent on so many moving variables and influences it is unclear what the final product will be. For now, according to Michigan State University research, the metaverse is comprised of three key characteristics: presence, interoperability (computer system communication) and standardization.

Presence refers to allowing users to feel authentically submerged in the virtual space with virtual others. Successfully mimicking this sensation has shown to improve the quality of online interactions as supported by decades of research. In the metaverse, as of now, head-mounted displays are meant to reproduce this sensory stimulation.

Interoperability concerns the seamless travel from one virtual space to another enabled by the instantaneous communication between computerized products. In other words, it would allow a user to start in one virtual setting like Zoom and end up on an app like Animaze. Given the underlying principle of this characteristic, it is expected that it will facilitate the transfer of blockchain technologies such as cryptocurrencies and nonfungible tokens across virtual spaces.

Technical standardization, which led to the development of software languages Java, Python and C++, refers to the widespread agreement on a collection of widespread rules and guidelines, essential for widespread adoption and application. In the metaverse, technical standardization will allow for the interoperability of platforms and services from one independent virtual space to another. Currently, the Open Metaverse Interoperability Group and international organizations are working to define these standards.

Going forward, if indeed the metaverse comes to replace the internet, given the implications this will have for society, economy and world as a whole it is paramount that its creation not be monopolized by one company. As of now however, there is still a technological gap related to hardware, unknown supporting economies and nonexistent regulatory oversight to name a few, how these variables interact with one another will ultimately shape how the metaverse will look like.

As Mexico’s information and communication technologies (ICT) sector grows—largely driven by US tech companies—domestic programmers stand to influence the creation and development of the metaverse that is expected to be adopted globally. This stands to further Mexico’s competitive edge and global influence.

The data used in this article was sourced from:  
Michigan State University, Metaverse Interoperability Group
Photo by:   XR Expo
Cinthya Alaniz Salazar Cinthya Alaniz Salazar Journalist & Industry Analyst