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20 June 2022

Are you ready for "The Metaverse"

Beverly Clarke profile image
Written by

Beverly Clarke | National Manager at Computing at School

A recent headline by the New York post read – “Experts predict living in the metaverse by 2030”.  Another headline from the Gartner group read – “Gartner Predicts 25% of People Will Spend At Least One Hour Per Day in the Metaverse by 2026”

This had me intrigued.

What is this metaverse and how will I find myself living in it.  I set off to find out more about the Metaverse.

Gartner have defined “The Metaverse” as a collective virtual shared space, created by the convergence of virtually enhanced physical and digital reality. It is persistent, providing enhanced immersive experiences, as well as device independent and accessible through any type of device, from tablets to head-mounted displays.” - https://www.gartner.com/en/articles/what-is-a-metaverse

In reality we are looking at a virtual space, with some of the following as part of our everyday:

  • Digital currencies (crypto currency)
  • Non Fungible Tokens (NFTs)
  • Interaction with 3D Avatars
  • Our very own Artificial Intelligence (AI) twins

Some aspects of the Metaverse that are already in action, such as:

  • Virtual reality games where players interact with each other as avatars
  • Theatre productions and Musical events hosted in virtual spaces
  • Virtual sporting events

I still wanted to know more, so while writing this article I explored  ReadyPlayerMe to create an avatar for my life in the Metaverse. The image for this blog is what I created. I haven’t customised it.  It seemed a fair likeness to me.

However, it got me thinking about the size of the database used to generate the avatar and if there were any considerations that we need to take into account when looking at a world population?  What do you think?

There are also lots of other questions starting to emerge regarding the Metaverse:

  • Who owns the intellectual property rights for all of the items that we are creating freely in the Metaverse?
  • The levels of energy consumption needed to power the metaverse, especially when thinking about Digital currencies
  • The overall impact upon the planet
  • The overall impact upon mental health

There isn’t one quick answer to any of the above, it is all still up for debate.  It is important to note that there won’t be just one metaverse, but that there will be many metaverses.  Think of it this way.  The internet as we currently know it, will be and is disappearing. Our current internet is web2.0, the newly emerging version is web3.0 that will be supporting the Metaverse – below, is my attempt at a summary of the differences.

Web 1.0

Web 2.0

Web 3.0

Slow

Email driven

The Internet

Centralised platform

Apps to share

Centralised companies

The Metaverse

Decentralisation at its core

Digital assets for individuals and companies

Digitalisation of everything

Democratisation of access

Non Fungible Tokens

Great collaboration for individuals and businesses

Could you add a few more items?

With my education hat on, I found this BBC Video - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V6VsxcVpBVY which sums up the current state of the Metaverse and can be used to spark classroom discussion.  My further questions for you are:

  • What will education look like in The Metaverse? For pupils and teachers
  • Do some subjects lend themselves better to the Metaverse?
  • What legislation will be needed in the Metaverse?
  • Are there any security implications in the Metaverse?

For further background reading - this Gartner article  has an infographic which can be used to sum up the Metaverse when teaching.

Discussion

Pete Dring
20/06/2022 19:55

Thanks Beverly - interesting article. I hadn’t come across Ready Player Me before for 3d avatar creation. I like that you can download the avatar and import it into Blender or Unity to put it in your own animations or games.

Matthew Wimpenny-Smith FCCT
23/06/2022 15:25

Thanks for this really interesting blog post.

Stuart Ball
23/06/2022 16:18

This is wonderful @Beverly_Clarke . Come on @pddring and @mwimpennys and anyone else reading this where are your Avatars. Post here :slight_smile:

Matthew Wimpenny-Smith FCCT
24/06/2022 08:50

@stuartball- I’m going to make mine this weekend!

Matthew Wimpenny-Smith FCCT
24/06/2022 08:59

If only I look this good in real life! Check out my Ready Player Me avatar! :joy:

Thomas Lintern
24/06/2022 09:08

My favourite definition of the Metaverse is "When the idea of the ‘digital self’ becomes more important than the physical self.
I think by this definition, we are already living in some version of a metaverse. Every important life moment is now shared via Instagram/Facebook/Twitter (did it even happen if you didn’t make a post about it), people are now working from home, completely digital. People meet their partners through dating apps. Meetings are now conducted through Zoom/Teams etc. The list goes on…
Obviously we still have developments to come and maybe some day it will be fully virtual reality, but I think there is a case to say that the Metaverse is more than that and has already started.

Stuart Ball
24/06/2022 09:28

@mwimpennys - Brilliant… I went with the defaults. I can assure you this is pretty accurate :rofl:

Pete Dring
24/06/2022 10:02

I’m honoured to be a digital twin of @mwimpennys but with darker hair: Check out my Ready Player Me avatar!
I had parents evening online last night. I really like that appointments have a hard cut off after 5 minutes so that it doesn’t overrun. Most parents like the convenience of being able to join in from work or home but some miss the occasional conversations you could have if you were physically in the same space. I did wonder if parents evenings could ever work in the metaverse. I hope not… I’m not keen on the idea of being accosted by hostile looking (or scantily clad) avatars to discuss their child’s academic progress! I do worry sometimes that avatars can reinforce gender stereotypes in an unhelpful way.

Stuart Ball
24/06/2022 10:02

@pddring keep that idea in mind for our chat on Monday. My thought is in the Metaverse will we all look like @mwimpennys :rofl:

Beverly Clarke
24/06/2022 12:05

Cool avatar. Definitely #Metaverse ready :slight_smile:

Beverly Clarke
24/06/2022 12:07

Good points. It is interesting to see how things will develop. We still have digital currencies to add into everyday transactions. I think this will change things up quite a bit.

Beverly Clarke
24/06/2022 12:10

Well that is thought provoking! Maybe some guidelines will be needed on “appropriate avatars” and avatars that contribute to equality? Also need discussions around what is going on in the background of avatar design. I think we should pose this question to our learners and get them to debate?

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