If someone had told me that Facebook — an app — could change the global culture in the early 2000s, I would have taken them for a fool or best-case scenario, a sci-fi dreamer. Fast forward two decades and what was once a fantasy, has become a living reality.
Facebook as an app and as an organisation has effectively changed the way we communicate and interact with the world as a whole. You can chat, attend live events, have video calls, put up ads, buy and sell, and do so much more with this platform.
Ever stopped for a moment to think about how this came to be? To answer this mystery in one word: Internet.
We as a species had created a network of devices through which we could exchange data. When social platforms like Facebook were beginning to take shape, the rate at which we exchanged data was minuscule. We traded in bytes and kilobits per second.
3G, 4G, and now 5G speeds can exchange 10 Gigabits every second. To put that into perspective 10 Gigabits is equal to about 10,000,000 Kilobits. Yup! That’s fast!
With these speeds we quickly went from text based chatting platforms to photo based sharing platforms to video based creator platforms; Yahoo Messenger to Facebook/Instagram to YouTube/Netflix. We can now stream 4K videos in real time and this is only going to get better.
Obviously, photos are more immersive than texts, and videos presided over photos. This is now the dawn of virtual reality and augmented reality. A reality in which the virtual/digital merges seamlessly with the physical world we usually interact with.
Meta is creating a virtual universe where one can just put on a set of VR headsets and leave this boring world behind for a shot at a fantastical one.
Just by donning a VR headset, we can already visit a virtual location, immerse ourselves in games, movies, photos, and more.
Let’s talk about the future then. Let’s talk about Meta, and the universe it has promised: The Metaverse.
Earlier this month, Facebook as an organisation rebranded itself into Meta. Alongside this announcement, they announced they were working behind the curtains to set the stage for a new age of media and connectivity.
In the near future, Meta is creating a virtual universe where one can just put on a set of VR headsets and leave this boring world behind for a shot at a fantastical one.
Imagine video calls, but you can see the person that you are calling in the room with you. Imagine going to work, where you can interact with all of your colleagues in real-time, but you never really left your room.
Even the sky is not the limit! You can effectively create a world of your own and put it up for the greater community to board.
You will not be bound by the body you were born with and can take on any form you want. You want to be a robot? Sure! You like hanging out with dinosaurs? Why not? You name it and someone can create your world for you.
That’s not all, you can add virtual elements to the physical world. Your home can be an amalgamation of your physical belongings and your virtual assets. Your TV could be a floating hologram. The possibilities are endless.
Then again, Metaverse is not all rainbows and sunshine. While the virtual world can amplify the reach and erase the bounds of the physical, the undesirables from the physical world will undoubtedly bleed into this new one.
You will have bullies, you will have thieves, you will have frauds, and God knows what other breed of cybersecurity threats.
Eventually it begs the question: Should one company be the cornerstone for an entirely new world? Because like it or not, that is the future we are all heading towards.