Exploring the Metaverse
Posted April 06, 2021
We need a name for a new secure, sapient, sensory, reified 3D internet — rooted in blockchain and flowering in virtual reality.
Gabriel Rene and Dan Mapes provide the most eloquent and comprehensive model of the next info-copian technology. But they want to call it the “spatial web.”
It works for their visionary new book, The Spatial Web, but shucks, the web is already spatial, with geo-positioning satellites (GPS), games, directories, geometries, loci, topologies, maps, coordinates, and haptics galore.
Mapes and Rene call for a new set of computational primitives and protocols that support 3D, cognitive, physical, semantic, distributed, and cryptographically secure processing.
Yale Computer visionary David Gelernter, back in 1991, envisaged most of the new net in Mirror Worlds: Or the Day Software Puts the Universe in a Shoebox… How it will Happen and What it Will Mean.
What’s wrong with “mirror world?”
Well, there is competition crowding in the very next year. Introducing the concept as a “metaverse” was Snow Crash, Neal Stephenson’s phantasmagorical novel of 1992 (actually the least of his some-20 monumental works, trust me).
It had everything — the 3D, the hacking epidemic, the polymorphic reality crisis. But he left out the blockchain panacea.
Way back in 1974, StarTrek introduced the three dimensional “holodeck,” a programmable, participant holographic chamber that technologists have been pursuing ever since as a hermetic grail.
A “holodeck” conveyed by teleputers linked and synced around the globe provides the general idea.
Well, forget the names for a moment. The question remains what is the critical path gating technology, the open sesame to the practicalities of the new net we need?
Asking the Right Questions
Is it artificial intelligence (AI) everywhere, providing “prediction machines” that enable us to move into the future and operate there? AI is necessarily dependent on connecting symbols systems to real domains. The symbols will function in terahertz streams but reality lags in many dimensions and textures.
Is it a cosmic convergence of genomes, proteomes, and information tools that bridge the prosthetic gap between the organic and inorganic realms? Again, we suffer the mind gaps between symbols and objects.
Is it simply Elon Musk with his neuralink brain interfaces, his spaceX, his self-driving universe? Elon is great, but he thinks he is building a new mind… when it is actually just his own.
Is it “5G” taking our wireless communications systems into millimeter waves, with 100 times more bandwidth and a tenth the latency, moving us across the “uncanny valley” into real-time interactivity?
With millions of antennas and tiny ranges 5G is close enough for government work, but we’re talking visionary here.
Is it holographic virtual reality and augmented reality empowering us to experience simulated and enhanced spaces? That’s the idea and maybe it’s time has come. But reality is a quantum quagmire.
More on this tomorrow…
Editor, Gilder's Daily Prophecy