Thirty years ago, Neal Stephenson published Snow Crash, a dystopian novel about a future where people live in a virtual world to escape a physical reality steeped in ice-cold capitalism. The vision in the early 1990s was that the digital world would be freer, more open, governed by individuals rather than giant corporations – an egalitarian, decentralized world in cyberspace.
That didn't quite happen, but the vision lives on. Today, the term Web 3.0 stands for the vision of an internet that is not ruled by big tech companies and advertising money, but instead manifests decentralized ownership and control. In parallel, the concept “metaverse” has gained ground in the general discourse. The metaverse is about how we experience the digital, shaped by interfaces, experience technology and digi-social innovation. Although two separate streams of development, the metaverse and Web 3.0 are partly intertwined, with some metaverses incorporating the logics of Web 3.0. At the same time, we are also observing how the metaverse idea has been embraced by established tech giants – Facebook has even incorporated it into its new name.
What kind of digital future are we heading towards? Will the metaverse happen? What kind of value can it bring to different industries? Will there be one or more metaverses and how will they look and function?
Welcome to the meta-digitalization!
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