Academics fired up about the Metaverse
Physical real-estate data informing the virtual, modeling the world after virtual development and creating new genomes
If you are on the Earth2 platform already it will not surprise you to learn that being close to the central business district of a city is for many, a priority. What may be less obvious is the amount of academic attention being applied to the topic. Digging around on JSTOR and other sites that host academic journals revealed a treasure trove of analytical resources, more are being added all the time. For example: Goldberg, Kugler and Schär have written a remarkably rigorous paper about virtual 'hedonic regression', specific characteristics of digital real-estate that contribute to demand and price determination. The analysis uses established (physical) real estate data to address parallel trends in the spatial web. The paper also covers key foundational ideas about the metaverse, NFTs and cryptocurrency in a succinct and accessible manner, presumably because they expect real estate agents with no clue about digital worlds to be reading and taking notes.
Sometimes life imitates art, and/or vice versa. In other online environments and metaverses users try to recreate places that exist already in the real world. The things we do in the metaverse are a form of manifestation, a literal birthplace of ideas. Imam and Lahoud have written (for United Nations project UN Habitat) about using the block building game, Minecraft as an urban design tool to enable public involvement in shaping city spaces.
“A Minecraft Model is like an architectural model but in a 3D virtual environment. It must show the right dimensions, points of interest and the correct scale so that the users can fully understand the public space and the relations of the different services in the space. The model must contain all the features of the public space, such as walkways, small bridges, shades, vegetation, and street furniture. It is also advised that the model includes some of the surrounding buildings”. Clearly a lot of development will be based on places and objects in the real world, but could the same be said in the reverse? Might blueprints and megacities in Earth2 end up being physically created as a result of their being manifested in the digital realm? I for one would love to see our 'megacity' built one day.
AI can be used to give non-player characters (NPC’s), or indeed players, unique behaviors and create more diverse outcomes and variables. AI can emulate attributes of living creatures, such as breeding and giving birth to 'offspring' with congenital traits. “the metaverse could become a self-sustaining and persistent virtual world that co-exists and interoperates with the physical world, with a high level of independence.
"[...] the avatars, representing human users in the physical world, can experience heterogeneous activities in real-time characterized by unlimited numbers of concurrent users theoretically in multiple virtual worlds” (Lee et al.). An existing example of this is 'Derace', a virtual horse racing simulator where owners of Digital-Horses (NFTs) can breed, trade, race and of course gamble. Generally speaking, altered state machines may function interoperably, visually changing depending on the platform, like universal emojis. Early adopters secured pedigree horses that are used to breed and win races. It seems likely Earth2 may take a similar path. Some people think horse racing is cruel and that it will be heavily restricted, perhaps even banned in the future. If this happens racing will only take place on platforms like Earth2. How many other activities are too dangerous, costly or immoral (in the real world) to continue taking place physically?
It has been reported that Earth2 will release avatars in a not-too-distant update but how many players are thinking about the autonomous creatures that will inhabit the many ecosystems? The Galapagos Islands spring to mind, just please refrain from building a McDonald's there, even if your property is near the town square. The giant tortoise's are busy trying to get freaky, they will not thank you for it. It is hard enough being a land-dwelling testudinidae, let alone an AI.
It seems likely that thousands of major academic papers on these topics, and other varying aspects of the metaverse will be written and referenced in the coming years. Earth2 is ripe for analysis and with (reportedly) 400,000 users there are surely an abundance of students and educators who will take up the challenge. They look for the most exciting and interesting subjects to research in order to remain mentally stimulated, for me the metaverse is a fertile ground for discovery and evolution. The rigors of study can be tiring and dull, trust me I recently wrapped up 5 years of tertiary study, I never want to see a packet of instant noodles ever again. The good news is, more time for Earth2. Post a comment. What do you think?
Goldberg, Mitchell, et al. “The Economics of Blockchain-Based Virtual Worlds: A Hedonic
Regression Model for Virtual Land.” SSRN Electronic Journal, 2021, https://doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3932189.
Imam, Amna, and Christelle Lahoud. “The Block by Block Playbook: Using Minecraft as a
Participatory Design Tool in Urban Design and Governance: UN-HABITAT.” UN, https://unhabitat.org/the-block-by-block-playbook-using-minecraft-as-a-participatory-des ign-tool-in-urban-design-and.
Lee, Lik Hang et al. “All One Needs to Know about Metaverse: A Complete Survey on
Technological Singularity, Virtual Ecosystem, and Research Agenda.” Journal of Latex Class Files, vol. 14, no. 8, 2021, https://doi.org/ https://www.researchgate.net/publication/355172308.