What is the metaverse?
The metaverse is in its infancy. Trying to predict exactly what the metaverse will become is a little like people in the 90’s trying to guess what the internet would become now. Everyone had different ideas about what would be possible with the internet, but no one knew exactly how it would evolve. Today the metaverse is a digital virtual reality inhabited by your avatar. You wear a headset that functions as window into a 3-D environment that you can interact with by means of motion-sensing controllers that you hold in your hands.
This virtual world has many different portals, almost like different cities that you can explore. Probably the most well-known company to move into the metaverse is Facebook. In fact, they have even changed their name from Facebook to Meta.
Big Companies are rapidly moving into the metaverse
Companies such as Microsoft, Apple, Google, and, Meta, are building virtual worlds where you can socialize, buy goods, learn, and play games. Faster internet connections, more powerful virtual-reality headsets are creating brand new opportunities for business. Companies like Nike and
This new technology will be useful for a lot more than gaming. Product demos can be released worldwide instantly. Employees will be able to receive training in fully immersive 3-D environments. The hybrid home and office work structure will make interactions that happen in the metaverse even more relevant. Sotheby’s recently announced that it would open its own metaverse gallery consisting of Non-Fungible Tokens (NFT’s) An NFT is a piece of digital artwork secured via a blockchain (a digital ledger). As time goes on more and more interactions will take place in this virtual world just like more and more interactions have moved onto the internet since the early 1990’s.
Older Adults in the Metaverse
Future applications for older adults may include telehealth medical visits in which a doctor located anywhere in the county could see your virtual 3-D body. By just putting on a headset you could be whisked away to the louvre in Paris or sitting front row at your favorite concert. Perhaps the biggest impact of the metaverse for older adults may lie in its ability to relieve social isolation and loneliness.
Only time will tell what the metaverse will become. It is highly likely that what we think of it today will be drastically different from what it becomes in 20 years. At this moment we are watching the technology evolve before our eyes, but it is worth the challenge to keep up with what will become possible in the future.
Ty Strahl is a Certified Senior Advisor (CSA) based in Spokane Washington. Her job is to help navigate the many aspects of aging and to help seniors who are in transition to find the right solutions for their individual needs.