Humans aren’t known for settling. We are constantly looking for bigger, better, newer things. It is the primary reason why technology is constantly evolving. Probably not long after the internet was invented – maybe 15 minutes or so – great minds started to ask “how can we make the internet better?”
It wasn’t that the internet was bad. It was just the thought that maybe there could be something better.
Over the years innovation has changed not just the look of the internet but also its purpose – giving us a whole world of online gaming, eCommerce, and search functions that the world could never have imagined. In the 1990s we had dial-up modems and AOL disks. Then came mobile data, smartphones, WiFi, and we’ve never looked back.
Now, companies are talking about the metaverse: but will it really replace the internet?
What Will Replace the Internet?
Metaverse companies, whether they are helping build the nodes that make up the content of the metaverse (like companies working on virtual reality systems), or building the structures and pipelines that will connect these nodes, or even selling (and buying) metaverse stocks, aren’t necessarily asking “what will replace the internet?”
Instead, they are constantly looking for new ideas that they can develop and are focusing on innovative ways to bring those products to market. By doing this, companies are naturally expanding and improving the way the rest of use the internet.
Medium.com says, “The Metaverse will be an extension of the Internet, not a replacement. Think of it as Internet 3.0.”
Why is the Metaverse Hard to Imagine?
Part of the challenge facing companies is that the metaverse, still in its early stages of development, is a bit hard to define
Sure, we have companies working on virtual reality, and other companies working on solutions like cryptocurrencies and NFTs, but it’s very hard to visualize what the metaverse will actually become.
As Wired correctly puts it: “To a certain extent, talking about what ‘the metaverse’ means is a bit like having a discussion about what ‘the internet’ means in the 1970s. The building blocks of a new form of communication were in the process of being built, but no one could really know what the reality would look like.”
Philosophically speaking, the best means of wrapping our heads around the possibilities of the metaverse is to think about it in internet-like terms. Maybe it’ll be a bunch of sites, connected by a sort of web. Maybe we’ll access it part-time through screens and internet-like access points. Maybe it will be something completely different.
The speculation is one of the reasons that it’s so tempting to pit the internet and the metaverse in an adversarial relationship and ask if the metaverse is the new technology that will replace the internet once and for all.
But this might not be the case. Maybe the metaverse will be completely different, making it impossible to compare the two – much like AR. The metaverse may even necessitate the continued existence of the internet, relying on existing infrastructure in order to make its way into homes.
In the same way that the invention of the car didn’t eliminate the locomotive, the metaverse may not replace the internet… it may just make it better.
The one thing we can say for sure is that, the way the future looks right now, the metaverse is coming – and companies should pay attention to what’s going on around them. Want to learn more about how your business can move into the future of the digital universe?