We are Evolving from Reality into Simulation with Metaverse!

Üsküdar University, Faculty of Communication Assoc. Prof. Aylin Tutgun Ünal wrote an article on Metaverse for Lacivert Journal. 

Now, transmission of values will be carried out through our avatars. Traditions, cultural values and habits that used to go around from mouth to mouth within our close environment, now are adopted by a mixture of close environment and online network by pixelating with entrance of social media including global networks into our lives.  As a result of this, individuals at the same house develop different value systems and habits.  Now, Metaverse has participated in this situation that is getting difficult to meet on common ground, and as being agents in transmission of cultural values and traditions, avatars will represent society within an online universe and individuals that form that society. In that way, we are evolving from reality into simulation with Metaverse!

Although it seems that we are switching rapidly from social media generation into Metaverse generation, we must be prepared well for a winter of Metaverse. Just like every new technology, Metaverse will also experience few winter seasons, however, it will experience spring eventually.  We will continue to carry out our studies, however, with right and confident steps… We will raise the right awareness for the term of Metaverse and we will focus on how to benefit from it in many areas…

Is the Universe of Metaverse Real? Or Virtual?

Metaverse contains a technological ecosystem within itself. Within this ecosystem, it contains technologies such as AR/VR/MR and holograms.  It is anticipated that people will be able to do many activities such as gathering around, visiting each other, working together, sharing information, accessing education contents, shopping and even having access to healthcare system within this meta universe called Metaverse with the avatars of individuals in the physical universe. When Metaverse technology developed sufficiently, people have opportunity to do many physical activities such as shopping, going to movies, spending time in cafes and so on with virtual reality devices and wearable technologies without any effort.

It is possible to access physical elements that we perceive around use without interaction factor in the online universe with Virtual Reality. Therefore, VR is not a new idea. Indeed, it is known that the first application of VR dates back to 40-50 years.  VR is a method that provides a reality sensation by creating an imaginary world or copying a real environment by using elements of real sounds, hearings, images.  Here, everything that we feel is a three-dimensional world that provides a sense of reality via virtual reality, however, is created via a computer.

Metaverse will bring more than one virtual world, it will have permanent effects and it will contain online, 3D world concept that will have interaction. Individuals will wear haptic accessories (such as gloves, cloths, etc.) and they will feel objects that they touch as if it is real while they are wandering around in this virtual 3D universe.  With this aspect, Metaverse and Virtual Reality are separated from each other.  We will be wandering in a universe that will make possible to trigger sensations such as touching, feeling. We can visit a museum with VR glasses but we cannot feel an object when we touch it. With Metaverse, sensation of touching will be activated and even, when we fell, our knees will hurt and when we get close to a fire, we will feel the heat. Well, how will this be possible?

Winter for Metaverse will be experienced!

According to statements by Director of Facebook Reality laboratory Andrew Bosworth, the above-mentioned products will be possible to be implemented only within 10-15 years. According to his statement, it does not seem possible to enter the Metaverse completely. When it is considered that there are stages of popularization of wearable technologies, suitability of technological infrastructure, especially creating simulative contents suitable to a three-dimensional universe and integration, it can be said that this 10 to 15-year period estimation seems quite optimistic.

Discussions on Metaverse which is now in the beginning stage, reminds the processes when Artificial Intelligence Technologies were initiated.  Beginning of Artificial Intelligence dates back 1943-1956. Since it is introduced to science in 1956, it had a huge impact on business world, works that can be done by artificial intelligence were listed and new inventions planned to be carried out were discussed in meetings just like it is seen for Metaverse. After exactly 18 years, it was reported that artificial intelligence failed to meet the expectations in a critic report and artificial intelligence experienced the first winter (1974-1980). An artificial intelligence called IBM Deep Blue was reported to win a world chess champion in 1987 and it is understood that studies could not exceed the limit of repetition of each other during 1987-1993. In that way, the second winter of artificial intelligence was experienced.

Winter of Artificial Intelligence 1-2 went down in history as an example that experienced winter two times.  Of course, the contributions made by artificial intelligence technologies cannot be discussed especially in the field of medicine. However, we must be prepared that we will experience a similar process in the development of Metaverse. It is not difficult to foresee that Metaverse will experience a winter in a time that expectations peak.  That’s why, it must be begun with right determination of expectations and raising the right kind of awareness on the definition of Metaverse.

New expertise areas will be needed with Metaverse…

Many areas are being discussed in terms of application methods in Metaverse medium, however, the field of education will be one of the areas where Metaverse will create a transformation.  It is needed to change many components and factors to provide education and training in Metaverse medium, therefore, it is indicated that there will be need for new expertise areas and experts. Some of the areas can be listed as follows: Metaverse Education Design, Metaverse Content Designer, Metaverse Design, Avatar Design, Metaverse Artificial Intelligence Applications.

Metaverse education design models will be needed

If Metaverse is included in education system, there will be a need for new generation education system designs and education models that is gamified. Metaverse includes digital game components because of its nature. Many elements such as Place, Avatar, Scenario, Interaction are gamified and connotate simulative systems. So, many components such as three-dimensional places, avatars, creating an experience of contents with try/fail methods, user centrism, interaction will be part of the education-training system, and we must know that two-dimensional education design used in digital platform will transform and there will be need for a new design of Metaverse Education Design models in according to the philosophy of new education-training. Otherwise, it will be risk of designing  a systemized education without an education design model.

We will call it Metaverse Generation or Gamers…

Individuals of Metaverse generation will enter to metaverse with their avatars and they will participate in a gamified education-training process by touching, experiencing.  This generation, which will be also called as Gamer generation, will be first generation to experience sensation of touching realistically with haptic accessories (such as gloves, cloths, etc.). Nowadays, there are some trials of comprehension with initiatives such as avatar design, establishment of Metaverse environments, however, applications of the system will be realized within at least 10 to 15 years as Director of Facebook Reality Labs said. Thus, those who will be born 15 year from now, will be born in a Metaverse universe and those who use this technology will be called as Metaverse generation or Gamers.

Those who born in 2000 and later, are nowadays known as social media generation and it can be said that they are the generation of first builders of metaverse.  Since Facebook changed its name as “Meta”, Metaverse technologies that are under the worldwide focus, mostly drew attention of the youngest generation. Therefore, Metaverse will be a world designed by the youth. Social media generation will design it and Metaverse generation will be the first user…

Awareness on Metaverse

When Metaverse is discussed, there are some conceptional misunderstanding such as “It means purchasing field with NFT” and discussions occurred on this matter that is not understood correctly.  On the news seen on media with occurrence of Metaverse, fields, even bridges purchased with NFT were on agenda. Therefore, explaining the theoretical framework in the right way is also topic of discussion in scientific meetings and an important responsibility falls on lecturers to raise awareness on Metaverse.

In consequence, every new advanced technology ease, improve and contribute to our lives as long as they are used in a right and beneficial way. If its purpose of usage is misguided, it can yield unpleasant consequences. Unfortunately, wrong usage that requires a treatment can occur with the emergence of new technologies. Just like it is seen in technology addiction, cyberbullying, negative psychological impacts are possible to be experienced. That’s why, we can list similar elements for Metaverse as social media literacy skills. With right dose of usage, our priority must be to make our everyday activities sustainable.