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How Metaverse Was Predicted Three Decades Ago 

July 7, 2022
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The internet launch in the early 90s had taken shape, and sci-fi author Neal Stephenson had a dream to replace it. Neal was writing "Snow Crash," a novel describing an interactive and immersive virtual realm accessed with VR sports headsets. Stephenson imagined a fantasy universe, where computer devices are used to interact with friends, shop, attend concerts, and do any magical thing that seems impossible. Therefore, one word dashed to his senses…."metaverse."

Decades later, Neal Stephenson’s Metaverse is becoming a reality through augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) technologies that keep advancing. Major Silicon Valley behemoths such as Google, Microsoft, and Meta are embracing the new technologies that utilize 3D protocols to transmit content, while designing better interactive platforms. 

Currently, techies are confident in forecasting that the Metaverse will revolutionize and supplant the internet with better productive features.

According to Citibank's prediction, by 2030 the Metaverse will have more than 5 billion active users (60% of earth's population) and will be worth more than $13 trillion. The “Snow Crash” predicted the Metaverse with its description echoing the real world. The novel, set in the 21st century, envisaged the reality of hyperinflation ravaging the economy of the United States. This scenario creates inbound inequality that wreaks havoc on society. In this respect, this future occurs when the private sector is dominated by controlling organizations, rendering the government ineffectual in the shadows. 

Three decades since anticipating the alluring future, Stephenson intends to nurture it to the best possible reality. Stephenson, alongside Bitcoin Foundation co-founder Peter Vessenes, recently launched Lamina1, which uses blockchain technology to build a decentralized space. The Lamina 1 project has since attracted investors, including LinkedIn co-founder Reid Hoffman.

The metaverse will provide distinctive experiences, from interactive storytelling to live music and even role-play games. Stephenson defined a vivid vision for Lamina1 to empower creators of experiences, functions, and definitions in designing smart contract structures alongside useful utilities, for building metaverse applications. In addition, Stephenson intends to build some of the experiences and functions that resonate clearly with the 'Snow crash' universe story. 

Neal Stephenson maintains that Lamina1 should be a platform where third parties can use  infrastructure for their products to pursue their goals. Presently, there are enormous metaverse projects that have taken shape. 

One of the best known is Decentraland, a recent metaverse project that allows users to trade virtual lands through platforms like Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs) using MANA cryptocurrencies such as Ethereum. Major brands including Adidas, Samsung, Miller Lite, and Sotheby's have appeared and bought properties in Decentraland. By engaging in this metaverse project, the brands elevated the appeal of trading in Decentraland.

Sandbox is an Ethereum-centered platform where the creation and monetization of gaming experiences takes place. The Sandbox is a widely known metaverse where an individual shelled out a whopping $450,000 to be Snoop Dogg's virtual neighbor. The virtual land creates room for digital recreation, alongside a great music venue for entertainment and an avenue for making money.

Moreover, Meta metaverse is another project being built, and it will take a decade to be fully functional. All metaverse projects aim to provide interactive features where users can beam to each other as they travel from websites when browsing.

Neal Stephenson is remarkably known for novels together with relevant and admirable tech information. He was also the principal futurist of Magic Leap, which provided augmented reality (AR) technology until 2020. Stephenson's excellent PR comes in handy with major connections in the tech world with many readers, including Jack Dorsey and Bill Gates. 

Neil Stephenson's Metaverse is not a utopia. It's more like a physical infrastructure- constituting servers and cables owned by L. Bob Rife, a creepy tycoon with vast knowledge in creating a computer virus called "Snow Crash." The virus hijacks the brains of people in and outside the Metaverse, making infected individuals lose their ability to think and, in turn, speak in tongues.

The phrase "going viral" did not exist in 1992, but the “Snow Crash” extended the tale for the present social media platforms. Stephenson's aim in writing about social media was to major in tactile human trait, which is the propensity of the mind to be hijacked by ideas. 

Jennifer Hershey, an editor of “Snow Crash,” was appalled at how Stephenson forecasted the current disparity of the have-nots and the haves in today's era, which is an undisputed reality.

Furthermore, Stephenson noted that the “Snow Crash'' is neither utopian or dystopian, but it has a chance of becoming either of the two. By predicting the Metaverse, Stephenson is surely a most decorated sci-fi author, but he cannot claim to forecast what will transpire after the Metaverse. 

Vast innovations with many emerging developments are the epicenter that can upscale the look of the future Metaverse. In this respect, Metaverse by projection will be a more advanced interactive internet platform with better transformations integrated to suit users' welfare in the coming decades. 

Read the Article on Washington Post