Coined by sci-fi author Neal Stephenson in his 1992 novel, Snow Crash, Metaverse is the next- gen internet. And is nothing but sorcery. Yes, you heard me right, witchcraft (ufiti).
Growing up in a rural Malawian setting, my grandfather, a Blantyre Synod evangelist, Che Wilson M’manga, would tell stories about witches’ ability to fly each night in lichelochoppers into London, New York, Paris and where not?
These stories were tragedies; the witches always came back empty-handed. Could they not fly straight into vaults of gold and silver and loot? At such a tender age, that was the succinct explanation why Africa was generally poor.
Just imagine, being transported by the internet into the out-of-this-world South African tourist destination, Cape Town, and joined by a Malawian in polish diaspora, Naomi and engage in a real-time conversation. All the while, both of you are physically in Malawi and Poland. That is what Metaverse is all about. Magic.
In biblical terms, it is about being apart physically yet being joined in spirit.
Metaverse is a salad of social media, online gaming, augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR). Did I just talk to myself? Augmented reality is about wearing special glasses that make you see a totally different world. These are sort of stuff that you see in science-fiction.
AR overlays visual elements sound and other sensory input into real world setting to liven user experience. Virtual reality makes it look real-time.
Metaverse will create human interactions without being physical. It will go beyond just offering digital content; it will be the convergence of digital and physical worlds.
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg is one person who has been hypnotized by Metaverse philosophy. He believes that AR glasses will eventually be widespread and smartphones will be brainy enough to complete the equation.
The recently unveiled iPhone 13 can capture near-Hollywood movies; add augmented reality glasses to that mix and you have a Metaverse.
Facebook has already shelled out $50 million into Metaverse R & D. It’s a big industry and will soon create 10,000 high-skilled jobs in the European Union alone.
At this year’s Facebook Content Conference on October 2 2021, Mark Zuckerberg announced that Facebook would rebrand to Meta. Now you know why. Or you have not been listening.
The take-home lesson from Covid-19 pandemic is that the workplace, the classroom, the church and mosque do not have to be physical. We can converge into all these virtually.
Does that sound like a dystopian nightmare? I think not.