• Toby Sinclair

The Metaverse Book Summary by Matthew Ball

Updated: Aug 1

📚 Buy The Metaverse Book on Amazon

⭐ Rating: 8/10 - Recommended For: Everyone


3 Big Ideas from The Metaverse Book 💡


  1. It's too early. Whether you’re a Metaverse believer, sceptic, or somewhere in between, you should become comfortable with the fact that it is too early to know exactly what a “day in the life” might look and feel like when the Metaverse arrives. Any speculations are likely wrong. Built upon mental models of a world that exists today. Rather than the world of the future.

  2. The Metaverse will not suddenly arrive. There will be no clear “before Metaverse” and “after Metaverse”. There is clear momentum towards the metaverse which will only accelerate as more technological breakthroughs happen.

  3. The Metaverse will disrupt many industries. One likely example is teaching. A teacher in 2022 cannot, by most measures, teach more students than they could decades ago without adversely affecting the quality of their education. In addition, we have not found ways to teach for less time, either (that is, to teach faster). The metaverse could be the technology to break these constraints and open up whole new ways of learning.


🚀 Learn How To Coach In The Metaverse



2 Best Quotes from The Metaverse Book 💬


What is the metaverse:


“A massively scaled and interoperable network of real-time rendered 3D virtual worlds that can be experienced synchronously and persistently by an effectively unlimited number of users with an individual sense of presence, and with continuity of data, such as identity, history, entitlements, objects, communications, and payments.”

According to a report published by Goldman Sachs, 14% of those who’ve tried an immersive VR headset say they “frequently” experience motion sickness while using the device, 19% respond “sometimes,” and another 25% encounter it rarely, but not never.

The Metaverse Book summary Image

Tobys Top Takeaway


WTF is "The Metaverse". Everyone is talking about it. Yet there is little consensus about what it is.


Some people are scared. Some are excited.


The Metaverse by Matthew Ball will appeal to both.


After reading the book I felt excited, scared and dejected.


Excited about the possibilities for teaching. I've already been helping coaches and facilitators learn how to coach in the metaverse. The results are already promising. As adoption grows and technology advances the opportunities become even more exciting.


Scared about how this technology might exacerbate the mental health and privacy challenges the internet revolution has already brought. The Metaverse does not bring forward obvious solutions to these problems.


Dejected because although some argue the Metaverse is already here. There are still many technology evolutions needed for mainstream adoption.


The Metaverse will teach you the why, what and how of the Metaverse. The most robust exploration of the topic I've read to date.



📚 Buy The Metaverse Book on Amazon

 

Big Ideas Expanded 💡


What is the Metaverse?


The term Metaverse was first described by Neal Stephenson in his 1992 novel Snow Crash.


It was with the launch of Second Life in 2003 that many, especially those in Silicon Valley, began to contemplate the prospect of a parallel existence that would take place in virtual space. In its first year, Second Life attracted over one million regular users, and shortly thereafter, numerous real-world organizations established their own businesses and presences inside the platform.


It was also the rise of virtual world platforms Minecraft and Roblox that brought its ideas to a mainstream audience in the 2010s. Throughout the 2010s, bands of users collaborated in Minecraft to build cities as large as Los Angeles—roughly 500 square miles. One video game streamer, Aztter, constructed a stunning cyberpunk city out of an estimated 370 million Minecraft blocks, having worked an average of 16 hours per day for a year.


Much of the tech community continues to dispute key elements of the Metaverse. Some observers debate whether augmented reality is part of the Metaverse, or separate from it and whether the Metaverse can only be experienced through immersive VR headsets or is just best experienced using such devices.


Facebook has said that there can be only one Metaverse—just as there is “the internet,” not “an internet” or “the internets.” Microsoft and Roblox, conversely, talk about “Metaverses.”


Whether you’re a Metaverse believer, skeptic, or somewhere in between, you should become comfortable with the fact that it is too early to know exactly what a “day in the life” might look and feel like when the Metaverse arrives.


Matthew Ball shares a definition:

“A massively scaled and interoperable network of real-time rendered 3D virtual worlds that can be experienced synchronously and persistently by an effectively unlimited number of users with an individual sense of presence, and with continuity of data, such as identity, history, entitlements, objects, communications, and payments.”

Central to most visions of the Metaverse is the user’s ability to take her virtual “content,” such as an avatar or a backpack, from one virtual world to another, where it might also be changed, sold, or remixed with other goods. For example, if I buy an outfit in Minecraft I might then wear it in Roblox, or perhaps a hat I purchased in Minecraft would be paired with a sweater I won in Roblox while attending a virtual sporting match developed and operated by FIFA. And if attendees of the match received an exclusive item at this event, they could take it with them from that environment into others, and even sell it on third party platforms as though it were an original 1969 Woodstock T-shirt.


When a player sees their friend in Fortnite today, they can interact using only a limited set of pre-loaded animations (or “emotes”), such as a wave or a moonwalk. Many users, however, imagine a future where their live facial and body movements are re-created in a virtual world. To greet a friend, they won’t pick Wave 17 of the 20 waves pre-loaded onto their device, but will wave uniquely articulated fingers in a unique way.


When will the Metaverse arrive?


The Metaverse is “already here”

Satya Nadella, Microsoft’s CEO


“The next two or three years, I predict most virtual meetings will move from 2D camera image grids to the metaverse.”

Bill Gates


“lot of [it] will become mainstream in the next five to 10 years”

Mark Zuckerberg


“the metaverse’s day will come[,] that day is just not today. . . . What we see today is indeed a leap from what we had just a few years ago. But it’s also still primitive [and] experimental.”

Steven Ma


The Metaverse will not suddenly arrive. There will be no clear “before Metaverse” and “after Metaverse”.


This is the arc of all technological transformations. The mobile internet has existed since 1991, and was predicted long before. But it was only in the late 2000s that the requisite mix of wireless speeds, wireless devices, and wireless applications had advanced to the point where every adult in the developed world.


What makes technological transformation difficult to predict is the reality that it is caused not by any one invention, innovation, or individual, but instead requires many changes to come together.


How will the metaverse impact business?


Teaching


A teacher in 2022 cannot, by most measures, teach more students than they could decades ago without adversely affecting the quality of their education. In addition, we have not found ways to teach for less time, either (that is, to teach faster). The metaverse may be the technology to break these constraints.


3D virtual worlds and simulations, as well as VR and AR headsets, will fundamentally reshape our pedagogical practices. Students from around the world will be able to strap into a virtual classroom, sit alongside their peers while making eye contact with their teacher, then shrink down to blood cells which travel through a human circulatory system, after which these previously 15-micrometer-tall students re-enlarge and dissect a virtual cat.


Fitness


Today, millions of people exercise each day using digital services such as Peloton, which offers live and on demand video-based cycling classes with gamified leaderboards and high-score tracking, and Mirror, a Lululemon subsidiary that boasts a wider range of fitness routines delivered by a partly transparent instructor projected through a reflective mirror. The metaverse will continue this trend.


Wellbeing


Mindfulness, meditation, physiotherapy, and psychotherapy are likely to be similarly altered, by a mix of electromyographic sensors, volumetric holographic displays, immersive headsets, and projection and tracking cameras that collectively provide support, stimulation, and simulation never before possible.


Dating


Dating is another fascinating category when considering the impact of the Metaverse. When will the first metaverse native relationships emerge? What is sex experienced through an ultrasonic force field? Or when five, 100, or 10,000 “concurrent users” combine to construct some form of real-time rendered, mixed reality orgy, rather than a concert or battle royale?


However we think the metaverse will change business, we will likely be wrong.


Here is a great example:


These predictions remind me of how many once envisioned newspapers like the New York Times would be altered by the internet. In the 1990s, some believed that “in the future” the Times would send a PDF of each day’s edition to every subscriber’s printer, which would then dutifully print it before its owner woke up—thereby obviating the need for costly printing presses and elaborate home delivery systems. The more daring theorists imagined this PDF might even exclude sections the individual reader did not want, thereby saving both paper and ink. Decades later, the Times does offer this option, but almost no one uses it. Instead, subscribers access a constantly changing and never-printed online copy of the paper that has no clear divisions between sections and essentially cannot be read “front to back.” Most news readers don’t even start with a newspaper at all. Instead, they consume their news via aggregator solutions such as Apple News, and social media newsfeeds which intermingle countless stories from disparate publishers, alongside photos of your friends and family. The future of entertainment will probably involve similar remixing. “Film” and “TV” will not go away—just as oral storytelling, serials, novels, and radio shows still exist centuries after they were first created—but we can expect rich interconnection between film and interactive experiences (broadly considered “games”). Facilitating this transformation is the increasing use of real-time rendering engines, such as Unreal and Unity, in filmmaking.

What is the role of blockchain?


Put simply, blockchains are databases managed by a decentralized network of “validators.” Most databases today are centralized. A single record is kept in a digital warehouse, managed by a single company that tracks information.


The first mainstream blockchain, Bitcoin, was released in 2009. The sole focus of the Bitcoin blockchain is to operate its own cryptocurrency, bitcoin (the former is usually capitalized while the latter is not, in order to distinguish between the two). To this end, the Bitcoin blockchain is programmed to compensate processors handling bitcoin transactions by issuing them bitcoin


Not long after Bitcoin emerged (its creator remains anonymous), two early users, Vitalik Buterin and Gavin Wood, began developing a new blockchain, Ethereum, which they described as a “decentralised mining network and software development platform rolled into one.”


There are still numerous obstacles facing a potential blockchain revolution. Most notably, blockchain remains too expensive and slow. For this reason the majority of “blockchain games” and “blockchain experiences” are still running mostly on non-blockchain databases. As a result, they are not truly decentralized.


Five perspectives on blockchains role in the Metaverse:


  1. It’s a wasteful technology propped up by scams and fads, and it receives attention not because of its merits, but due to short-term speculation.

  2. Blockchains are indeed inferior to most, if not all, alternative databases, contracts, and computing structures, but may nevertheless lead to cultural change around user and developer rights, interoperability in virtual worlds, and compensation for those who support open-source software.

  3. Blockchains will not become the dominant means for storing data, computing, payments, LLCs and 501(c)(3)s, and so on, but they will become key to many experiences, applications, and business models.

  4. Blockchains are not just critical technologies for the future but also the key to disrupting today’s platform paradigms.

  5. Blockchains are essentially a requirement for the Metaverse—at least one which meets our lofty imaginations and we would actually want to live in.


How much of the blockchain remains hype versus how much is (potential) reality remains uncertain—not unlike the current state of the Metaverse. However, one of the central lessons of the computing era is that the platforms that best serve developers and users will win. Blockchains have a long way to go, but many see their immutability and transparency as the best way to ensure the interests of these two constituencies remain prioritized as the Metaverse economy grows.


Given the computational requirements of large-scale real-time rendered 3D virtual worlds, as well as their need for ultra-low latency, some experts debate whether we can ever fully decentralize such an experience—let alone “the Metaverse.”


Many people believe the key technical problems will be resolved in time.



📹 Prefer Video?


The Metaverse Book Summary Video



🎨 Prefer Visual?


The Metaverse Book Summary Sketchnote


The Metaverse Enablers

Source: https://www.matthewball.vc/all/forwardtothemetaverseprimer



🎧 Prefer Podcast?


The Metaverse Book Summary Podcast