ALL THAT JAZZ: Digital revolution underway; are we ready for the Metaverse?

05 Jan 2022 05:33pm
Illustrative photo. (Source: 123rf)
Illustrative photo. (Source: 123rf)

As a millennial, I come from the ‘in-between’ generation that is old enough to remember life without internet and smartphones but young enough to have embraced them as young adults.

Most of my childhood days were spent with a classic Game Boy, rollerblading, cycling and carefree afternoons meant frolicking outdoors at the park with friends playing tag.

Owning a discman or tape player felt highly futuristic and cool, and growing up before YouTube meant waiting patiently for MTV to play my favourite music video.

Fashion during the era of late 90s and early 2000s meant low-rise jeans, Juicy Couture tracksuits, baguette shoulder bag and make-up was all about skinny eyebrows, overlined lips, paired with butterfly clip hairstyles. Information on lifestyle trends were mainly accessible via the glossy pages of a magazine – not social media.

Most millennials were still in school when social media started – I remember signing up for a Friendster account when I was 12! Not long after that MySpace came into play and now we have Meta (formerly known as Facebook). We have embraced the digital life wholeheartedly.

Things were simpler back then. But now we are in 2022 and the forthcoming digital changes will revolutionise the way we live. Since Mark Zuckerberg introduced Meta, it has spurred intense conversations on how the metaverse could transform social interactions.

They call it the next version of the Internet. The term meta means beyond and verse refers to the universe. The metaverse is simply a shared virtual space, replicating real life. It will have its own economy, and have interconnected virtual communities where users are able to interact as avatars and participate in a host of activities like work and play.

I’ll give you an example. Hotel heiress and TV star Paris Hilton recently launched a massive New Year’s Eve party by launching her own virtual island on Roblox, one of the most successful players in the metaverse world.
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In this virtual island called Paris World for users to explore her uber-luxurious life. She set up a digital replica of her Beverly Hills estate, a dog mansion and even a boardwalk inspired by her wedding. If you want to take a ride on a jet-ski, you will be charged for a small amount of payment.

You can also purchase your own plot of land in the metaverse – yes real estate also exists in the digital realm.

But it stretches beyond that. Experts are looking at how this new virtual space could change the way medicine and healthcare is being taught. For example, medical students can practice surgical skills and procedures in a safer environment.

The fashion world is equally obsessed with the digital transformation, marking the start of a new era of virtual-real world interplay.

For example, Nike launched a platform on Roblox called Nikeland where participants can perform sports activities and through its digital showroom, users can dress up their avatar with the brand’s most famous sneakers.

Balenciaga recently announced its expansion into the metaverse with a forthcoming business unit dedicated to the metaverse.

This is just the gist of it – there is so much more to explore with the metaverse. But are we ready to transition from this social media era to mold our virtual worlds and turn it into an everyday living experience?

I am excited to see how we incorporate this digital transformation into our physical presence. Here’s to an interesting 2022.

ALL THAT JAZZ column is written by Syahirah Mokhtazar, Head of Lifestyle at Sinar Daily.
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