Yukonaverse vs. Metaverse – Yukon News

Tired of the Yukonaverse these days?

Is the dam of ice on your roof turning through your window wells into a puddle of soggy drywall in the basement? Are you and your vehicle both covered in a thin, non-cleanable layer of Yukon brown road mud? Does your city council plan to build itself a high-profile $30 million headquarters while striving to extend the liability gap between elections by three to four years?

If so, you may need to spend more time in the metaverse.

Neal Stephenson came up with the idea for the metaverse in his stunning novel Snowfall in 1992. The original Metaverse was a virtual world where you could hang out online self, or ‘avatar’, and escape the real world, which in the novel also included terrifying nuclear-armed Aleutian assassins and anarcho-ministates. Ocean.

Real estate in the original metaverse was owned by a tech tycoon who also ran digital hotspots. Poor people who couldn’t afford a high-speed connection appeared in the metaverse as low-resolution black and white avatars. Addicted users known as “gargoyles” stayed connected all day and roamed the real world with wearable access goggles on their heads.

What was incredibly futuristic 30 years ago is now here. Or at least a prototype version of it. In fact, each rival tech giant seems to have its own metaverse to visit.

I saw a Seattle teacher demonstrate (for real) a metaverse classroom in Microsoft’s version of Altspace VR. Student avatars sit at stylish Scandinavian tables around the professor’s desk. A globe with a pin for each student’s actual location spins on the desk and the class presentation appears on a giant screen hanging on the wall. As a learning aid, a 3D model of the solar system quietly swung to the side.

Students can ask questions and the teacher uses a Darth Vader-style laser pointer to illustrate key points.

You can also attend a wide variety of events, such as Altspace Trivia Night, a creative writing meeting, or the Rainbow Bridge Pet Death Meeting. You can choose a Bible study event where your avatar can pick up and wear a cross, or a “no-obligation” dance party for ages 18 and up with a virtual costumed janitor and melodious German techno beats. I accidentally attended a programming seminar for people building new parts of the metaverse. Hundreds of comedy nights, meditation sessions, birthday parties and even weddings are on the menu.

If you’re having trouble getting your own home in Whitehorse, or just need some downtime between emotionally draining avatar events, Altspace adds new empty lots called “White Spaces” every month. † You can design and build your own house where you can hang out and organize events with other avatars.

The new metaverses contain features that you might like in real life. You can mute certain people at parties. You can customize your jawline shape, hat accent or beard style with just one click. If you find yourself in an awkward situation during one of the Campfire events, where you meet new avatar friends and talk about everything from your feelings to using your laser pointer, you can just unplug and log out.

There are many competing metaverses, each with a slightly different feel and set of rules.

If you think you haven’t already given enough personal data to make Silicon Valley billionaires rich, you can also try the version of Metaverse owned by Facebook’s parent company, Meta.

My Yukon guide on the Facebook metaverse helped me find a ski resort and hit the slopes, but it wasn’t quite the same. On the plus side, when I got out of the gondola, the computer just put me back in place instead of dropping me to death.

Skiing is weird in the metaverse because the graphics are cartoonish and no one has legs. Apparently the programmers haven’t figured out how to make the legs move realistically, so everyone floats through the metaverse like Baron Harkonnen in dune

We also searched for Yukon-related places to visit in the metaverse, but came up completely empty.

Perhaps Yukonstruct should build a snowy section of the metaverse where everyone can ski, view virtual Northern Lights, and drive their snowmobiles over huge jumps before returning to their free cabins on white lots.

Not all metaverses are controlled by tech giants eager to suck your personal data.

If you want to participate in an experiment with digital democracy in a world owned by its users, you can try Decentraland. The government of Decentraland is called the DAO, an abbreviation for Decentralized Autonomous Organization. It owns the “smart contracts” that define land ownership, market transactions and its metaverse currency, MANA.

Decentralized citizen avatars can vote on things like adding features to land, auctioning new land, regulating handheld devices and replacing members of the Security Council. The folks at Decentraland have already made a bold move with their currency, removing the private key from the account that managed smart contracts under MANA. Essentially, they have done away with all means for humans to interfere with the algorithms that run their digital central bank.

These rules seem unclear. But they will become increasingly important as people spend more time and ultimately money on real estate and activities in the various metaverses.

A visit to a Friendly Campfire Event today gives a hint. The disclaimer states that participation in the event irrevocably grants the tech giant behind the platform the right to record and use your avatar and voice for various commercial purposes without compensation “in all ‘universe in perpetuity’. This includes all future technology platforms that have ever been invented, as well as the waiver of the right to sue.

The campfire I saw also featured an avatar petition protesting the platform banning Dave, who was the original creator of the event. Apparently, Metaverse security has banned Dave for being disruptive “while discussing useful information panels”.

The metaverse may need a lot of lawyer avatars.

Today, the various metaverses seem fanciful. But so was the early days of the internet. Give these platforms a few years to improve coding and their users a few years to come up with new ways to use them, and many readers of this magazine will find that they spend more time wearing glasses.

It will be years before we understand the economic implications of virtual worlds. Fewer tourists may come if people decide they’d rather walk among dinosaurs in the Metaverse rather than visit Carcross. On the other hand, I wouldn’t be surprised if in a few years more than a few Yukoners were working in the metaverse while living in the Yukonaverse.

Keith Halliday is a Yukon economist, author of Yukon Aurora adventure novels for young people and co-host of the podcast Klondike Gold Rush History. He is the winner of the Ma Murray Prize for best columnist.


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