After Mark Zuckerberg’s (CEO of Facebook, now Meta) initial speech on the metaverse, there was a wave of uncertainty surrounding the future of the virtual world. Some investors called for a more “reasonable” approach, while Meta employees hesitated to use the company-designed solution. However, Zuckerberg remains optimistic and has pledged to invest $2.5 billion in academic research to address the metaverse’s potential problems and opportunities. This research will be carried out across Europe, including at Poland’s Poznan University of Technology. The future of Meta’s project remains to be seen, but its potential to change lives and accelerate technological development cannot be ignored.
From Cyberpunk to Changing Human Behavior
The term “metaverse” gained popularity following Zuckerberg’s speech in October 2021, during which he announced Facebook’s name change to Meta and confirmed the company’s commitment to building its virtual world. The metaverse concept first appeared in Neal Stephenson’s 1982 cyberpunk novel Snow Crash. Epyllion CEO Matthew Ball defines the metaverse as “a massively scaled and interoperable network of real-time rendered 3D virtual worlds and environments that can be experienced synchronously and persistently by an effectively infinite number of users with an individual sense of presence and with continuity of data, such as identity, history, entitlements, objects, communications, and payments.”
The metaverse combines cutting-edge technologies such as augmented, virtual, and mixed reality, artificial intelligence (AI), blockchain, the internet of things (IoT), edge computing, and cloud computing to create a perfect digital experience for users.
Mirage or Chance for a Better Future?
According to Verified Market Research, the metaverse market will be worth $824.53 billion in 2030, up from $27.21 billion in 2020. The Citi GPS report “Metaverse and Money” predicts that the metaverse could attract up to 5 billion users by 2030. However, not everyone is convinced. Apple CEO Tim Cook, for example, sees no future in the metaverse, and some investors are urging Meta to reconsider its strategy and abandon what they see as overly ambitious plans to develop the technology.
To take full advantage of everything the virtual world has to offer, users will need virtual and/or augmented reality, as well as the necessary devices, services, and software.
The Metaverse and Medicine
The medical industry is one of the most intriguing potential applications of the metaverse, from diagnosis and treatment to supporting recovery. The combination of these two worlds has been dubbed “meta-medicine.” According to Accenture, when healthcare professionals from around the world were asked about the impact the metaverse would have on the way their organization does business, 81% said it would have a positive impact, and 34% said it would be groundbreaking.
Mixed reality is already being used in research labs and hospitals. It is used in operating rooms as well as at specialized training seminars. Advanced technology may soon help improve pre- and post-operative care by allowing for more in-depth data analysis and the ability to perform surgeries more efficiently.
When every person has a digital twin, doctors will be able to provide remote care in far more complex cases than is currently possible with available telemedical solutions. They will be able to diagnose patients based on access to their medical records and data from advanced wearable devices that measure body parameters in real-time. This will significantly improve doctors’ efficiency and working conditions, as well as patients’ lives.
Improving the Quality of Life
The impact of the metaverse on the healthcare industry remains uncertain. However, one thing is certain: as technology advances, the work being done to develop the metaverse will refine and improve many solutions currently in use. This will lead to significant benefits for doctors in terms of efficiency and working conditions, as well as for patients’ overall quality of life.
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