Interview with Dr. Sebastian Klöss
Metaverse hasn't just been around since yesterday and has developed enormously over the last 20 years. What might the metaverse look like in 2035?
The term metaverse has actually been around since 1992 - but the metaverse hasn't yet. At the moment, only its key technologies exist, such as augmented and virtual reality, artificial intelligence, 3D assets and blockchain. There are also individual applications and platforms that can be described as metaverse precursors. In 2035, these different offerings will be more interoperable and permeable, similar to today's internet. It will then be a matter of course that the Internet will have a 3D extension in the metaverse, where we meet, store and be entertained, where we work and learn together, design and plan, validate and test. The physical world and the virtual world will be seamlessly connected. With augmented reality glasses, for example, we will augment our real environment with virtual objects or even our connected friends. And buildings, machines and factories will have virtual digital twins of their real-life counterparts.
If in the future we have a seamlessly interacting metaverse that connects all virtual worlds, could it be that people will have to decide in which of the two worlds they earn their living?
Basically, that is already the case today. I can earn money on and with the Internet or in the real world. However, this comparison also shows that it is rarely a clear-cut either-or. Because the Internet and the real world are not two separate entities. It will be the same with the metaverse. The metaverse, with its new possibilities for collaboration, training and shopping, will be part of our professional lives. On the other hand, the opportunities to earn money with completely virtual goods, such as virtual clothing or virtual luxury products, could grow. However, this already exists to some extent today, particularly in the gaming sector.
Hypothetically speaking, could a seamlessly interacting metaverse solve the problems of today's society in one fell swoop? Example: Can the metaverse create new jobs, reduce the number of unemployed and relieve the burden on mobility infrastructures in cities?
The one technology that can solve all of our society's problems in one fell swoop will probably never exist. Unfortunately, the Metaverse is no exception. Nevertheless, it can be a tool that can serve as a solution for some pressing social issues. One example is the shortage of skilled workers. As the metaverse supports location-independent collaboration, companies in more rural regions can access skilled workers who live in distant cities and would not move to the countryside. Of course, this would also relieve the pressure on mobility infrastructures if real-life remote work takes the place of commuting. Another example is inclusion. The metaverse opens up the opportunity to interact with others or work together, regardless of physical limitations or origin. Last but not least, the metaverse can contribute to better education. As a supplement to traditional teaching media, it can convey complex interrelationships in a vivid way - and above all in such a way that they are stored like a real experience and not just like knowledge that has been read.
Dr. Sebastian Klöss
Head of Consumer Technology, AR/VR & Metaverse, Bitkom