It also poses a sociological challenge: Will humans lose the ability to connect with the real world?
The metaverse is «the next great revolution supported by technology». This is how Blanca Ceña, country manager of Vantage Towers Spain, defined it during the latest edition of the DigitalES Summit, which for three days brought together 13,000 attendees and more than 150 speakers to talk about the future and innovation.
Over the next few years, this still fuzzy concept will take the form of a parallel digital universe in which real experiences from the face-to-face world will be replicated and new virtual experiences will be generated. It is one more step in the evolution of the Internet towards more immersive environments that are better intertwined with our analog life.
But despite the expectation generated by a concept that until very recently was relatively unknown, what we know today of the metaverse is no more than «a preview of what we will find». According to Laura Raya González, director of the postgraduate programs and R&D&I projects on Virtual Reality and Computer Graphics at the U-TAD school, in a talk organized by DigitalES, «the real metaverse is yet to be built».
In this line he also expressed José Plano, director of Gaming at Globant, in an interview in our section Cracks of technology’, where he states that in the first stage a large number of metaverses will coexist, which will gradually consolidate into a few large platforms, which will coexist and possibly be interconnected with smaller, niche virtual worlds. «No one knows which metaverses will remain and which will fall by the wayside, but we can already distinguish which technology companies are taking more determined steps in this direction,» he said.
What is necessary for the metaverse to become a reality?
And for the metaverse to become a functional reality at least three elements will need to come together: «Computing power close to the user, with distributed data centers; a network that is adaptive, that can be managed with artificial intelligence; and public-private investment,» he said. Arturo Sotillo, country manager of Ciena Spain, during the recent DigitalES Summit.
From a technical point of view, the metaverse will involve real-time image rendering that will require very high bandwidth and very low latencies. We will also «see an explosion of new devices in areas such as body-adaptive sensing,» Ceña suggested.
For engineering companies, these new virtual environments will mean the emergence of jobs in data management, transportation, infrastructure, or platform and application development. «The metaverse opens up a whole new world to be legislated,» said Virginia Rodríguez, a law and business administration student.
The metaverse from a sociological point of view
And from a sociological point of view? Will humans lose the ability to connect with the real world? These are some of the challenges facing this emerging technological trend, opening the door to a myriad of new job specializations. «People will be needed to design these new experiences,» said Ceña, while the Secretary of State for Digitalization and Artificial Intelligence, Carme Artigas, stressed the importance of generating professional profiles that combine technical knowledge with humanistic skills. Paradoxically, in the digital era, the days of the dichotomy between science and literature seem to be numbered.
In addition to talent, another of the most important challenges of the metaverse lies in finding the use cases that justify the investments required for its development, as well as investments in new high-capacity technological infrastructures. Fortunately, Spain has highly recognized professionals in these areas of development, mostly from the gaming and audiovisual entertainment industries.
Far from fearing that some dystopian scenarios will become reality, «for young people the metaverse is very exciting, because it is the first technological revolution that we are going to live in first person,» warned Rodríguez during one of the round tables at the DigitalES congress. Another young student and speaker at the DigitalES Summit, María Gutiérrez, expressed her confidence that the human species will be able to overcome the sociological threats posed by the metaverse… and subsequent technological innovations. Life, fortunately, does not resemble science fiction.