Will the metaverse lean more toward dystopia or utopia? If you base your answer solely on Hollywood’s vision of the future, you might say the former, considering that blockbusters like The Matrix and Blade Runner paint an ominous future where technology has helped fuel massive inequality and human suffering.
But that’s just one vision. In many ways, humans have been exploring metaverse-like worlds for decades, through text-based role-playing games to Second Life to the consumer-grade VR systems that have become popular over the past decade — and we’ve done it all without ushering in a dystopia.
The metaverse soon will enable immersive, collaborative, and social experiences that could change not only leisure but also learning. For young students, the technology could replace paper mache models of volcanoes with something very much like The Magic School Bus.
That’s not to say there aren’t legitimate concerns about the metaverse, especially when it comes to questions about who owns what in this emerging world. Matthew Ball, author of The Metaverse, explains more in this interview with Big Think.