“The augmented metaverse will replace smartphones, but will not replace reality,” futurist Ruslan Yusufov

The coming year 2023 may be a breakthrough year for the development of the metaverses. According to futurologists, modern technologies will make it possible to erase the boundaries between the virtual and real worlds, create new conditions for the development of mankind. What to expect from the metaverse sector in the next twelve months and whether metaworlds will be able to replace reality, the BeInCrypto editors discussed with futurologist, founder and managing partner of MINDSMITH Ruslan Yusufov.

On the prospects for the development of metauniverses

The future is clearly linked to the fusion of physical and digital experiences. A viable metaverse will expand the range of human experiences rather than attempt to replace the physical world, but it will be more of a functional extension of what we already do than a dramatic revolution in our social habits.. A documentary film that will make us a participant in the events described, teleportation directly into the crowd at a concert, travel to other planets.

“In my opinion, the introduction of augmented reality (XR) into everyday life will be associated with the tools of augmented (AR) and mixed (MR) reality, the capabilities of artificial intelligence systems, and not with full immersion in the worlds of virtual reality (VR), which many today defined as the metaverse. It is unclear how critical an aspect of human daily life in the near future will be a fully immersive metaverse.. I admit that virtual reality will find niche applications in entertainment, education, shopping and certain aspects of communication, but will not be widespread in work interactions and will not replace other forms of communication,” the expert says.

According to Ruslan Yusufov, most of the metaverse will consist of places that we dive into as needed (like the Internet today), and not some one place in which we will live permanently. Probably, it is similar to the transition from silent cinema to sound cinema – cinema both there and there, but there is a nuance. The Internet will go from two-dimensional to three-dimensional, complemented by layers of rich virtual content superimposed on the real world, there will be a two-way connection between the physical and digital world: we will be able to “enter” and interact with digital content, or, conversely, “pull” digital content into the physical world. The content of the Internet that we access through the screen today will become a place to visit.

On the role of AR and VR technologies in the development of metaworlds

An important role among AR interfaces will be occupied by conversational agents. The physical world – every object, place, person – will be completely covered with relevant data, interactive information and impressions.. Each element of the processes of human life will be enhanced and supplemented by artificial intelligence, capable of providing interactive support for managing systems that are too complex for human cognition.. Artificial intelligence will create virtual worlds and populate them with useful bots that will replace the applications we are used to today.

“The augmented metaverse will replace smartphones as our main interface for accessing digital content – the transition will begin in the mid-2020s and be completed by 2030-2035. The digitization of our lives will only increase, and user interfaces will become better and more diverse, capable of providing an orchestra of tactile, visual, and sound experiences.. By the end of the decade, numerous vendors will offer low-cost headsets, glasses, contact lenses, clothing items, gesture control interfaces with a full range of mixed reality features, ”commented the futurist.

A person will gain experiences that are limited or even impossible to access without a metaverse: people with limited mobility will be able to travel, medical students will be able to perform autopsies on virtual bodies, business conferences will not require air travel, and remote work will no longer be a painful patchwork quilt sewn from bells, chats and endless meetings in video conferences.

The Metaverse will only succeed if it complements the human in a decentralized and human (rather than corporate or government) data ownership model.. Attempts by corporations to create worlds for users, which are considered solely as sources of income, are doomed to failure or very narrow application.. The Metaverse should become a natural habitat in which one can work, study, have fun, and gain new, previously inaccessible experience.

On the influence of metauniverses on human life

As Ruslan Yusufov assures, the metaverse will have the greatest impact on the entertainment industry, education, trade, healthcare, industry and the defense industry.. The pandemic has accelerated the demand for numerous online tools, and the metaverse is the next evolutionary step that can improve remote collaboration, personalize learning, expand marketplace opportunities, enrich business communication and consulting, conduct remote medical procedures, provide new tools for creativity, opportunities for communicating with famous people and traveling to exotic places (both existing in the physical world and not), creating new types of communities, providing public services, etc.

“The Metaverse is the next step for the online presence of any service that launched a website in the zeros, a web or mobile application in the tenths, automated business processes in the twenties; by the 2030s, finance, utilities, healthcare providers, educational institutions will be in the metaverses, and not necessarily in the form of today's organizations – many will not be able to reorganize and go to the archive shelf, ”he said.

See also: Virtual cities and digital skyscrapers: how the metaverse develops

Alternative cyberspaces will allow people to virtually get inside other people, animals or machines. Digital twins will function as human alter egos in multiple worlds – far beyond today's avatars.. The issue of psychological health will be acute – it will be necessary to learn to cope with the multiple “I”. Soon, most people won't be able to tell the difference between avatars representing humans and avatars representing artificial intelligence.. It is likely that in the coming decades we will see the next stage in the evolution of homo sapiens, which occurred as a result of the integration of people and artificial systems – biotechnological implants and artificial intelligence, having received homo augmented.

On the problems and threats posed by the metauniverses

Despite all the positive aspects of the development of virtual worlds, Ruslan Yusufov also warns of the possible dangers that will be associated with integration into the metaverses.

“The allure of the many positive scenarios pales in comparison to the growing opportunities for harassment, surveillance, sexual exploitation and misinformation.”. The Metaverse will create new opportunities for global unity and internecine strife, for individual freedoms and total control, for an even more effective expression of love and hate,” the speaker is sure.

Since the commercialization of the online space, the tech giants with their centralized platforms have made the internet the place where profit-driven algorithms run, which (apart from the rise of trillion-dollar companies) has raised serious privacy, personal security, polarization concerns. society, segregation, bias, hate speech, sexual harassment and misinformation on a global scale. The Facebook experience proves that it is possible to be valuable to society, but at the same time a completely dystopian tool.

If the metaverses are backed by corporations that have proven themselves incapable of holding themselves not only ethically but also legally, how will our data be used against us? The business model of such companies is based on selling user data to advertisers, business analysts and political intelligence (remember the high-profile public case with Cambridge Analytica), which use it to manipulate the public, influence consumer behavior, launch disinformation campaigns, and sometimes even pushing to extremist interests.

On the role of regulation in the development of metauniverses

Metaverses open up wide opportunities for espionage and data theft, so today it is worth paying more attention to regulating the work of metaworlds.

“On a micro scale, employers will use the new environment to spy on employees working remotely because there is no law against doing so.. And on a macro scale, we have unprecedented opportunities in population control.. I admit that some blatant abuse by corporations and states can slow down or stop the implementation of the metaverse, but hardly for long: the entire history of the Internet clearly demonstrates that we tend to choose new functionality at the expense of civil rights, and the problem of privacy and personal data remains the lot of geeks, or human rights activists like Snowden,” commented Ruslan Yusufov.

The Metaverse can become an online community with its own rules, cultures, economies, mechanisms and institutions of governance, which will require the resolution of issues related to borders, currencies, trade regulation, access to data. We will probably even see the emergence of “digital states” – the virtual territory is limitless and provides opportunities for expansion. This is certainly a challenge to the sovereignty of offline governments that will try to control the development of the metaverse – through legislative regulation or corporate mechanisms.. Regulation at the global level can be an extremely difficult task, requiring a willingness to develop common approaches in a geopolitically heterogeneous world.

In addition, states need to control the financial infrastructure, for example, to be able to impose sanctions in case of disagreement on fundamental issues.. What will be the digital sanctions in the metaverse? Who will decide on what basis to distribute access to the benefits of augmented reality? In a world dominated by cancellation culture, entire nations could be cut off from the metaverse.

Earlier we talked about whether the dream of the metaverse will survive the decline in interest. Forecast for 2023


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