The Metaverse isn’t here yet, but it has a long history

PRI ESPL INT .SANFRANCISCO FES11 METAVERSE The Metaverse isn’t here yet, but it has a long history By Tom Boellstorff, University of California San Francisco, Aug 15 (The Conversation) Nattie’s Metaverse romance begins with anonymous text messages. At first, C only admitted to living in a nearby town. Nattie finally learns that Clem is a man with a lonely office job like hers. Because Nattie lives, so to speak, in two worlds, the world of office boredom and an online world where she has no shortage of social connections. Texting brought them closer: the trouble became easier because he told her, and she hit it off. Nattie soon realizes that she is forming a kind of romance around her who is a very close friend and a long way off”. Their blossoming relationship is nearly ruined when Clem’s co-worker visits Nattie’s office pretending to be Clem, but the deception is exposed just as their dot-and-dash romance is about to take off. With that last sentence, I revealed the end of Wired Love, source of the quotes above. Published in 1879, Ella Thayer’s novel about the telegraphic world made some remarkable predictions. Yet Wired Love is firmly rooted in the era of what journalist Thomas Standage calls the Victorian Internet. Many aspects of the current metaverse were familiar 143 years ago. Old is new History is more than fun facts: it deeply shapes ways of thinking and acting. As an anthropologist who has been studying virtual worlds for almost two decades, I have discovered that the metaverse’s rich past shapes the ever-present. This is no coincidence. The contemporary metaverse is heavily owned and developed by companies whose profit models require focusing on the Next Big Thing. This often sidelines the story with major financial and social implications. At its core, the metaverse is defined by the concept of a virtual world. As described in Wired Love, the telegraph and later the telephone were the first virtual worlds. The multi-user dungeon, or MUD, appeared in the second half of the 20th century. These virtual worlds appeared on local computer networks in the late 1970s and entered dial-up Internet services in the 1980s and 1990s. Richard Bartle, co-creator of the first MUD, noted that in 1993 more than 10% of all Internet traffic was in Muds. Virtual worlds with graphics, including avatars, from Habitat, launched in 1985. With the advent of broadband in the 2000s, many important aspects of the contemporary metaverse were established. Longtime metaverse watchers like Wagner James Au have repeatedly pointed out how new developments have revived long-standing debates. Real Estate and the Laws of Virtual Physics Consider what the history of the Metaverse reveals about virtual real estate. Experts are excited about the virtual rush to land and highlight the location. For example, the virtual world The Sandbox sells plots for around $2,300, but in December 2021, someone paid $450,000 to buy land next to a virtual mansion owned by rap star Snoop Dogg. Why did the price go up? Co-founder Sebastien Borget explained that Sandbox has a limited number of plots and people can only access adjacent plots. Therefore, only a few people can own the virtual land next to Snoop Dogg. I believe Sandbox owes a lot to the Second Life virtual world, where building practice spaces have been called sandboxes since its launch in 2002. Second Life originally had point-to-point (P2P ) teleportation. You can be anywhere in an instant. But in 2003, Linden Lab, the company that owns Second Life, disabled P2P. Residents trying to reach a destination give birth to the nearest telehub. This has an impact on real estate. Valuable for business and leisure, plots of land near telehubs fetched a premium until 2005, when Linden Lab suddenly announced the end of telehubs and the return of P2P. Land located near old telehubs no longer has particular value; some people lost thousands of dollars. The most powerful owner can’t change the laws of physics, but Linden Lab can literally recode the rare that no longer exists. Fast forward almost 20 years. Lots next to Snoop Dogg’s virtual mansion are rare: lots cost $450,000 because Sandbox doesn’t have P2P. But if the company suddenly adds P2P, the $450,000 investment will be almost worthless. That experts tend to ignore this fact reveals the danger of forgetting the history of the Metaverse. Sensory or social immersion? Another example of the historical significance of the metaverse involves the idea of ​​virtual environments. Virtual worlds don’t just connect places; they are places in their own right. People played chess with the telegraph 150 years ago; these virtual chessboards are not located at each end of the wire. In 1992, Bruce Sterling noted that phone calls don’t happen on your phone or on someone else’s phone. It takes place in a virtual environment: The place between the phones. The undefined place is there, where you two, two people, meet and talk. In 1990, Habitat’s founders concluded that the metaverse was defined more by the interactions between the people who lived there than by the technology that created it. They are especially skeptical of virtual reality technologies, knowing that the almost mystical euphoria that currently seems to surround all this hardware is, in our view, excessive and somewhat out of place. The problem is not the potential of virtual reality, but the Matrix-like idea that sensory immersion is required in the metaverse in every case. The key difference between sensory immersion and social immersion. The idea that virtual environments require virtual reality doesn’t understand immersion. It also works, because not everyone can see or hear. The history of the Metaverse shows that social immersion is the foundation of the Metaverse. Learning from History The Metaverse has a long way to go, but it has a long history. Proximity and immersion are just two examples of important topics this story can elucidate. This is important because the current widespread mystery is no accident. The evolving version of the metaverse is largely owned and developed by Big Tech. These companies aim to create the perception that the metaverse is new and futuristic. But the metaverse stories are real; they can reveal past mistakes and contribute to a better virtual future. (The conversation) AMS AMS 08151252 NNNN

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