Over the past several decades even before the 80s, the conceptual metaverse was being imagined, as a way for human beings to interact and communicate in virtual spaces. And not just communicate, but to create, build, collaborate, work and even live in. An idea in the minds of authors, technologists, and creatives for the minds of people all over the world from different backgrounds and different vocations of life from various ethnicities and genders.
You see, the intention with many technologies we interact with every day such as the metaverse was never for us to look and stare at our screens, but it was for us to one day operate and live within them. Now regarding the history of the metaverse, we could go back to let’s say the 30s and talk about Pygmalion’s Spectacles, a novel by Stanley G. Weinbaum, or we could jump all the way into the 1990s which could lead us up to a novel called Snow Crash written by Neal Stephenson, who actually coined the name, the metaverse in 1992, which is a book filled with technology, history, politics, cryptography, philosophies, and so much more.
But within this, we’ve got the name, the metaverse, which speaks to a virtual world or existence. Now was the conceptual metaverse discovered within this novel itself? No, not really. Though we’ve seen different literary works in novels, television shows, and films that talk about or show us the metaverse. There have been people that have actually been building the metaverse, which is emerging, and what we are experiencing and witnessing today. So from the 1800s to the 1950s is what we’ll call the visionary generation.
Where we’ll discover things such as stereoscopic technology, literary books, and great hardware that will one day be used towards powering the metaverse. From the 1960s and into the 1980s, we’ll call that the prototype generation, where you’ll see things such as the Telesphere mask, and the virtual interface environment workstation. Did you know that NASA was part of building the metaverse so long ago? We weren’t just attempting to fly to the moon and to other planets, but we were exploring what it could be like to create and to visit virtual destinations. If we take a brief look at the history of what we call XR, which is an acronym for extended reality, we look at some of the most significant milestones of what’s been achieved or expressed since the 1800s.
Then we arrive at the 1990s and 2000s. We’ll call this the enterprise and experimental generation. Here, you’ll see the beginning of go-to-market platforms for virtual augmented reality. Here, you’ll see clinical virtuality and military adoption as well as early-stage enterprise adoption of immersive technologies. In the 90s, we had a lot of attempts to bring virtual augmented reality to mass consumption, but there was a great failure to connect these technologies to the general populace. From these failures came incredible data that would help inform new generations towards the very long study of building the metaverse.
This leads us into the 2000s all the way up to the 2010s, and this is what we’ll call the enterprise and consumer adoption generation. Now, when we leap all the way forward through space and time, it brings us into technology such as ARKit, ARCore, Unity Gaming Engine, Unreal Engine, Euphoria, heavy MMORPGs, mobile gaming for augmented reality, and scaled HMD, meaning head-mounted display, distribution for virtual reality use. This brings us all the way to our present time, which is the time of the emerging metaverse. We’ve come a long way with so much further to go.
I’m often asked about what industries we should look out for that we can suddenly see begin to rise in the metaverse. Here are a few that I know will be prevalent that we are already starting to see some type of movement within. First taking great consideration of the food industry. I know I get it. What does food have to do with the metaverse? It has much more to do with the metaverse.
The metaverse allows us to be able to reimagine more vividly and virtually in shared and collaborative spaces and allows us to take traditional pathways and scenes and recreate different roads and highways of delivery. The food industry is not only about what just happens to be on our plate for supper, but more so there’s an end-to-end process we’re able to experience. How that food arrived at our homes, restaurants, grocery stores, and fulfillment centers. We’re also able to study the types of food that are out there in the world giving us greater access and expansion into global market purchases of agriculture and protein that may not be readily available in our areas and that may even be hard to find in supermarkets alike.
Another great impact when it comes to the industry is the nonprofit sector. Yes, nonprofits represent horizontally almost every industry in the world, but the nonprofit sector as a whole will have a great impact on the metaverse. Because these are the gateways and the doorsteps towards social impact and sustainability, social enterprises, NGOs, and more are already beginning to figure out ways to be able to leverage the power of the metaverse and to be able to reach out to their audiences and participants, their volunteers and workers, funders and alike will be able to give more of an expansive and expressive showcase on the causes that they champion.
The music industry will change forever. Expect to see great democratization of Indy musicians operating within the metaverse. Music platforms will take on more of a decentralized support structure for the flourishing of musical talent. Concerts will be seen and felt. Music videos will be experienced beyond the site with event venues becoming a thing of almost wonder. The more access points of creativity musicians have, the further they’ll be able to expand the possibilities of what the metaverse can actually be. The center of the metaverse community and at the heart of it is creativity.
A few other industries to look out for, are marketing, transportation, real estate, sales, energy, hospitality, telecommunications, science, biotechnology, small business, recruitment, and security. This list will evolve and grow. New industries will be created within the metaverse, industries we’ve never even imagined will be relevant, mainly due to the metaverse being such an essential ecosystem and the smart city narrative. As the world of global markets moves further into virtual, we can expect to see obsolescence with declining micro industries and newly established ascending platforms to replace industries of old.