Nobody knows what to expect from the burgeoning metaverse and when I say no one, I mean it. If you were to ask one technology expert what he or she believes is the future of the novel metaverse, you’d probably get a different answer than from the last expert you asked.
As construction continues, the anticipation of what the metaverse will give to users also keeps building. Many predict it will deliver on those expectations by 2040. However, roughly the same amount of people are skeptical. Here we will delve into what’s at play in this fascinating debate and hear what industry experts are saying themselves.
Elon University and Pew Research are responsible for gathering the responses from some 624 technology professionals and insiders in a somewhat informal survey. These experts included developers, tech innovators, business and policy leaders, researchers, and activists. Each of the participants gave their projection on the direction of the metaverse and what part it will play by the year 2040.
The Metaverse By 2040
The challenge, of course, is that the metaverse to this day is far from a finished product. ‘The Metaverse By 2040’ report described it as a ‘realm of different kinds of computer-generated, networked-extended realities such as mixed reality (MR), augmented reality (AR), and virtual reality (VR), which can all be packaged as extended reality (XR). The report was published on June 30, 2022.
According to the report, “The metaverse is generally made up of somewhat immersive XR spaces in which interactions take place among humans and automated entities.” The statement continued to say, “Some are daily interactions with augmented-reality apps that people have on their computers and phones. Some are interactions taking place in more-immersive domains in gaming or fantasy worlds. Some occur in ‘mirror worlds’ that duplicate real-life environments.”
Although the details of each opinion were all over the map, experts seemed to fall into one of two general outlooks on how meaningful the metaverse will be by 2040.
Over half (54%) of the study’s participants believe the metaverse will improve by 2040. This means it will be more sophisticated and be a fully immersive, impactful part of daily life for a half billion people or more across the world. Experts in this camp cited huge investments, more functionality, technological advances, and new uses for XR being the main reasons for their opinion.
Glynn Rogers, a complex systems and networks researcher, was one of the experts who were optimistic about the future of the metaverse. Rogers predicted virtual extraterrestrial travel based on imagery constructed from many spacecraft sensors “in which virtual craft can be flown, driven or sailed through environments in which humans could exist only with the most extraordinary aids.”
The other 46% think the metaverse won’t be a sophisticated or useful part of daily life for a half billion people or more. This camp expects the technology needed to reach that many people won’t be ready by 2040. They believe people will prefer layers of ‘real’ reality in their lives. Public anxiety about surveillance capitalism and big brother tracking our movements also were listed as reasons.
Barry Chudakov, the founder and principal at Sertiain Research, falls into this camp. He forecasts the immersive mirror-world environments may spawn new psychological issues, commenting that “psychiatrists and counselors will be called in to help people cope with multiple-self syndrome.”