Professor Ganascia recalls, in his column, that in “the science fiction works where it was introduced, the metaverse is presented above all as a negative utopia”.
This article is taken from the monthly Sciences et Avenir – La Recherche n°907, September 2022.
Since Mark Zuckerberg decided in October 2021 to change the name of the Facebook company to “Meta” -in reference to the metaverse he wants to build-, the word has gained great popularity. However, this neologism, coined in 1992 by Neal Stephenson in the novel ““Snow Crash”, is relatively old. And the principle of such a simulation, described in 1964 in “Simulator 3″ by Daniel Galouye, it is even more so.
The first attempts at virtual universes are also dated. Second Life, where you can walk at your leisure and introduce yourself to others through avatars, that is, digital beings that you compose, comb and dress as you like, dates from 2003, which will soon be twenty years old. In fact, there are already many industrial applications of immersive metaverses built using virtual reality techniques. Let us cite for example the field of video games; There are also the so-called “serious games”, with multiple uses in the marketing or training sector. Finally, simulations are fundamental in the aeronautical field, where they contribute to the training of pilots and operators.
A nightmare more than a dream in works of science fiction
Therefore, the current renewed interest is not linked to the novelty of the concept but to the technical progress that would allow it to be systematized, in particular to the improvement of the technologies that underlie virtual realities. But, curiously, in the science fiction works where it was introduced, the metaverse is presented first and foremost as a negative utopia. Sometimes it is a kind of drug that helps to escape from an ugly reality.
Other times, when one is transported there in spirit, one is led to doubt his own existence for fear of being the plaything of the almighty evil geniuses in a great cosmic metaverse. Therefore, app[…]
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