The next expansion of the human race is into the metaverse. Not long ago, the Internet launched us into cyberspace. Now virtual reality (VR) is enabling us to travel though it into the metaverse.
In the metaverse, human beings will increase their realm of discourse and interaction beyond our current perceptions of physical space and time. The metaverse, while seemingly virtual due to its entirely human and non-physical construct, will quickly become indiscernible in many ways from reality itself as we know it today.
As human beings, our personhood is defined by the cumulative collection of our memories and our present thoughts. Our experiences in the metaverse will soon become part of our expanded reality. As we process and store those experiences in our minds, many will become indistinguishable from other experiences. Our brains won’t know the difference.
The journey will shape us
When this convergence happens, individuals and society as a whole will be permanently shaped by the metaverse. The metaverse will influence our collective consciousness and become part of our living history as people and as a species. It will be as if we landed on a new planet and began a society there. We will bring vestiges of the old into a new uncharted territory for human experience.
There is also no doubt that a future society as it will exist in the metaverse will become an influential part of the story of the human race. Our experiences in the metaverse will shape the society that we currently know. The trajectory of the human race will be altered.
The crucial difference between our expansion into the metaverse and a colonization of a far-away planet is one of cycle time. We will be able to seamlessly transport ourselves in and out of the metaverse freely and in real time. For this reason, the pace of change and social evolution in the metaverse will be as quick as our brains can adapt – and will therefore influence our worldly existence nearly in real time.
Neuroscience will be our guide
The seamless connectivity of the Internet has already become a basic backdrop and enabling technology. Virtual reality (VR) technology is the fundamental transportation system that enables us to see and be present in the metaverse. But our ultimate experience of the metaverse will be the inputs and outputs of these travels and experiences as processed and perceived by our brains.
The human brain, from a learning and memory perspective, and an emotional one, will be incapable of discerning between certain experiences in the current universe and the future metaverse. It is therefore critical that we approach our exploration of the metaverse armed and informed by the apt and stabilizing introspection afforded by neuroscience.
We need to consider how new experiences in the metaverse will shape our brains and minds. If we intend to maximize human performance, we will need to consider how this new environment will accelerate learning, push our cognitive capabilities, and force new experiences of empathy. When both computer and neural processing co-exist in a simultaneous and unified way in the metaverse and life as we currently know it, the metaverse and “real life” will become one. This fused state will simply become our new universe.
Don’t fear, transcend
Much as been contemplated about singularity – and concerns have been raised about the potential dangers of where artificial intelligence will take us in the future and in the metaverse. I don’t fear it. I believe that our destiny as human beings is a continued expansion of our cognitive and empathic capabilities such that we discover heightened abilities to maximize who we are and what we can do for each other. Many people have sought, and some have achieved, this transcendence. Experiential neurotechnology will enable more of us to transform ourselves in this way: “Had we but world enough, and time…”