Will The Metaverse Be Eco-Friendly

Will the Metaverse be eco-friendly

The Metaverse sounds like it could be a fascinating place. And if you’ve ever heard of the term Web 3.0, it too sounds like an exciting development on the internet. But both of these things are so new that I don’t think they have any clear boundaries or even defined specifics. They’re both still being developed and created.

And with big names like Meta (formerly Facebook), Amazon, Microsoft, Samsung, and a host of other massive companies looking to develop and be the global leader in these spaces, the technology is sure to be developed quickly and on a large scale.

But with all this innovation, Virtual Reality (VR), and technology, I begin to wonder how green it will be and what kind of environmental impacts these new spaces will have.

First, let’s try to define some of these terms or at least identify them. As I mentioned, these terms are pretty new and can be hard to describe.

What Is The Metaverse

The Metaverse is often paralleled with cyberspace. But in the new cyberspace, it will be 3-D, accessed via VR, and goods and services will be accessible via this new world. You can draw from Ready Player One if you’re a movie buff. Granted, the movie is just a movie, but accessing a world via VR is what it’s looking to be like.

It sounds like a game, right? Companies make the games with fictional worlds and places. But the metaverse setting won’t be an imaginary world but a copy of the natural world you can access virtually. Some companies can take pictures and videos of the natural world and use it as the setting. Like Google maps or Google Earth, these are actual pictures you can access online.

But now, we’ll be able to access them via 3D vs. the current 2D. And this is just the beginning. Most of this world is accessed via VR, which means putting on a headset. I guess that most, if not all, companies are looking for technology that can let us access this world without the headset. This would mean advanced technology via a less bulky headset. It’s all fascinating.

But of the environmental impacts, what are we looking at…

Well, if you’re like me, at first, I thought, this is all via the internet and cyberspace, so it shouldn’t have any significant environmental impacts. But as I did some research, I learned that the Metaverse could have some environmental effects. Both good and bad, depending on how this all plays out.

Potential Good Effects of Metaverse

This is a no-brainer, but if you’re on the internet or in the Metaverse, you’re not out driving, flying, or contributing to carbon emissions. You may remember when the pandemic hit hard, and most of the world was on lockdown. The air cleared up, the waterways were cleaner, and there was overall less pollution.

This was one of the good things about the pandemic. It became very apparent how much waste and pollution we contribute to our everyday lives. Of course, as we came out of lockdown, the smog returned, the water regained its turbidity, and the world continued on its path. Accessing the world via 3D in the Metaverse could reduce this pollution.

Accessing the real world via the Metaverse could also benefit the environment. Imagine seeing the harmful effects of waste, pollution, and climate change in the Metaverse. Right now, we know about these effects because we can read or see them on tv.

But with VR, we’ll be able to recognize the significant negative impacts we’re having on our world. This education can be very motivating and can lead to action. Imagine accessing the rainforest via VR and learning and seeing how climate change is impacting it. Imagine being able to set foot on land in the Metaverse and see the water levels rise to cover your feet. This immersion can hit home with people and can lead to change. It might not be the real world, but it could be very close to experiencing and learning about it via the Metaverse.

Less Stuff

Kids love to play with toys—even some adults. But they are manufacturing all these toys and items that eventually broke and could slowly go away in the dump. If these items and toys can be enjoyed in the Metaverse, there won’t be a need to make these items. I realize this might be a bit of a stretch, but you can begin to see how accessing goods and services in the Metaverse can have a positive environmental impact.

Job creation and working from home have been a benefit of the pandemic. Companies are downsizing their offices, being more flexible to allow for telecommuting while still having productive employees. The Metaverse is sure to create jobs that can be done from home. The aforementioned adverse effects of driving, flying, and commuting can be reduced with the Metaverse.

Potential Negative Effects of Metaverse

Many people on the internet and in the Metaverse are sure to use a lot of power and energy, primarily if you’re operating in a 3D world where it’s likely to require more energy to interact with it. The sheer number of people is likely to increase whether it’s for work, play, or just “internet surfing.” Combined with additional data and power to operate the Metaverse, this could lead to massive energy consumption.

Intel has made a few statements on the Metaverse, and they’re anticipating a significant need for more energy. Raja Koduri, an executive for Intel, says “a 1,000x increase in power is needed over our current computing capacity.” The Metaverse will need faster computers and servers that can run the Metaverse. And if Intel, who is in this industry, is saying that our current computers aren’t powerful enough to run the Metaverse, that’s cause for concern. It seems that more robust and faster equipment to run the Metaverse is likely to require more energy.

I’m not a gamer at all, but I know that Fortnite is one of the biggest online games and is one of the most popular. But apparently, Fortnite can only handle about 100-125 players at a time. And this is without the demands of VR.

Out of sight, out of mind is another term that comes to mind when thinking about the Metaverse. The Metaverse could show us the negative impacts we have on the world, but it would be dismissive and naïve to think the Metaverse won’t be a little cleaned up for use.

If you’re plugged into a headset for hours at a time, you’re likely to forget about the current condition outside of the headset. If you’re working 8 hours a day or playing for hours at a time in the Metaverse, you won’t be focused on helping the world.

This disregard can lead to laziness and apathy towards climate change and global warming. You can see the smog and experience climate change via strange weather patterns when you’re telecommuting. In the Metaverse, you can’t feel that weather on your skin, and you can’t experience it like you can in the real world.

Conclusion of an EcoFriendly Metaverse

The Metaverse sounds like an intriguing place and idea. I firmly believe that it is heading our way. It’s such an unknown right now that it’s hard to say whether it will positively impact our society or have a negative impact. It sounds like the technology needs to catch up a bit before it becomes a reality. Hopefully, the corporations forming the Metaverse will consider the environmental implications and not just try to inflate their bottom line. The public wants environmentally friendly companies and will pay for goods and services produced by eco-friendly companies. If the Metaverse is being powered without consideration for the environment, I don’t think it will last long.

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