Humanity, Hindsight & Hype(r) Relevant As we distill the aspirational idea of The Metaverse
Are we simply experiencing the next pit stop on our innate human quest towards; more influence, more freedom, more connection, and more congruence?
That drive for the Meaning of Life is met with as much force as the drive to have more freedom, more influence, more connection, and more congruence as we continue our push (or be pulled by some cosmic force) into living a more authentic life.
History tells us:
12,000 years ago we formed communities around farming that gave birth to agricultural phenomena - today we continue to come together to facilitate those moments of ‘phenomena’. Thomas Newcomen invents the first productive steam engine in 1712 and 40ish years later? The (first) Industrial Revolution is experienced.
We’ve had at least two revolutions since then, and the fourth - Industry 4.0, very much in debate - could be argued, was given rise to by the Internet circa 1995, and now, 27 years later, perhaps we are bracing ourselves for the full expression of Industry 4.0 that may take until the 2030s to be felt in full.
Does anyone remember the So-Lo-Mo (Social, Local, Mobile) movement of 2007-2009? We thought *that* was a world-shaking breakthrough - it turned out to be an important building block, yes, but the hype, drum rolling it in… wasn’t as grounded into the bigger truth of earth, evolution, and life as the never-ending cascade of concentric circles moving us all into the next revolutionary era.
Psychology reminds us:
That we humans benefit from labels, schemas, and stories to get our head around: new things, foreign-to-us-things, and all the stuff in between.
So while The Metaverse and Web3 are neat little labels assigned to this next unfolding of innovation, we could just as easily operate without these particular labels and recognise this unfolding as ongoing evolution.
These labels can feel confusing or contribute to all sorts of angst and FOMO - because they infer a tangible thing that is here and accessible (that some of us may only be discovering for the first time) - I’d argue that nothing concrete is here…yet!
Metaverse, is, however, the name we put on the flag that we stuck in the ground to say - from this point onwards, this era shall be written about in history books as Web 3 - the data that informed the watershed shift into The Metaverse.
Hype or Hyper Relevant?
The Metaverse? Is it:
(Marketing) Jargon that adds premium to a proposal?
A viable concept that we are all deliberately (or otherwise) working towards while we bump into half-baked derivatives on our way to a fully realised The Metaverse
Already here and I’ve just not copped on yet?
Or a bit of all 3?
It’s a bit of all 3!
The working definition of an aspirational concept of The Metaverse
A watershed NextGen internet; that will give us an immersive tech/real-world experience (referred to as XR - Extended Reality) centred around blockchain, accessed through d”apps; that sees us effortlessly port our identity (data, avatar, digital assets) as we play, work, create, consume, buy, sell, and rent, inside a tokenized economy.
It promises us that anything we can imagine, we can create and consume within a perfectly blended tech/real-world environment that includes a self-sustaining, community-driven economy.
As we examine the (currently) aspirational concepts of The Metaverse - we can clearly see the advancements (and clear lines of inquiry) already shaking our BAU (Business As Usual) world today.
1. We are already bumping into thoughtful, incremental optimization of tech, yet arguably, still half-baked meta derivatives. We are already using d’Apps with blockchain as the center of this emerging metaverse (so to speak) with clear evidence of our move into a new Digital Era. See Figure 1.1 below
2. We have challenges & concerns being actively pursued:
Hacking, catfishing, harassment, hate speech, AI-enabled misinformation, deep fakes,
Data rights, data security, radicalization, platform power,
Centralized Governance to User Governance
3. We are already doing the work to shift hearts & minds into a Meta MindSet before it’s no longer a choice we get to embrace, but a necessity some of us are forced to swallow. The psychological impact on humans will be as big as any other watershed moment we’ve experienced 100x before.
(Click Image to see Hi-res PDF)
We are experiencing a convergence of past technology with emerging technology yielding all sorts of XR ways to connect and create while you own and earn that will see our physical world become *proper smart* and have us existing inside an XR lifestyle.
If history is anything to go by, then this will be less of a crescendo, and more of an unfolding and organising as we move into the 2030s. There are many new and exciting ways of putting this space to work being demonstrated already.
Early-Adopter businesses will want to consider having access to an engineer, lawyer, economist, and Web3 comms strategist to advise you. Executing pilots in this emerging space will likely benefit from having 3D designers.
The fundamental difference between innovative tech advances on our way to a watershed The Metaverse moment is that we are not there until our experience of The Metaverse is:
A fully immersive XR experience
Fully portable and interoperability that is based on your movement, and not on the d’Apps, communities, or people, places, things you are frequenting.
Has an incentivized tokenized economy that is self-sustaining
Clear, robust user governance with checks and balances
Ideas I am pondering and researching for part 2 in this series:
Buying property in a virtual world like - DecentraLand - for 12,000 USD (or the equivalent cryptocurrency thereof) Why? Is that the equivalent of having a website to support your business today? Or a LinkedIn Business Page? I suspect it is a vehicle with which to bring a virtual business to life and allow it to be part of the XR we are moving towards.
What can I learn and apply from the Social-Mobile-Cloud moment of 2005-ish? And history before that?
What are the fundamental business models available in the Metaverse - and where are the 3 most viable ways to generate revenue?
When it comes to understanding your audience and mirroring problems/solutions accordingly - how is this likely to evolve and change as it adjusts trajectories to fit this path on the way into The Metaverse? I’m already noticing B-to-Community as a marked difference from the usual B2B and B2C of yesterday. Only I imagine it won’t be B to Community - as The Metaverse wants more than just a one-way exchange. Maybe it will be a B&C approach. Who knows?
The psychology of this change, particularly those within Financial Services will be an ongoing study, practice, and program NB3 will continue to invest in.
What I am doing to deepen my experience and understanding of what’s coming:
I’m going to use an easy point of entry - An edu-Tainment-based experience that lives in a meta-type space that I’ll design to include as many XR-related attributes as possible - for maximum learning that I’ll pull into a use case after the fact.
Monitor, document and follow use cases from the Financial Services industry that illustrate the pilots taking place in this space and how they are adapting, experimenting, and delivering value in XR-type environments.
Continue to explore the Human Behaviour elements as we move towards this next Era.