The Metaverse Explained (and Why You Should Care) – Kiplinger’s Personal Finance

Imagine a day when, despite being thousands of miles apart, you and your grandchildren can put on visorlike headsets and “walk” together through a digital version of the Smithsonian, Times Square or even your local shopping mall. You’ll be able to watch movies with them or attend virtual reality “concerts” together and then hang out with the artists and other fans in a virtual “backstage” salon after the concert. You’ll be able to do this with your loved ones in real time, even though you’re on opposite sides of the world.

That’s the future of the metaverse!

Most of our retired clients remember back when Internet access started with that annoying screeching sound when you dialed in over your phone line. Since then, we’ve seen the Internet transform by leaps and bounds. But get ready, because the Internet as we know it is on the cusp of making a quantum leap. And that could have a big effect on our pocketbooks and our lifestyles within the next few years.

How We Got Here: Web 1.0 and Web 2.0

First, let’s do a broad overview of where we’ve been and how we got here.

Web 1.0 refers to the World Wide Web as it was up until about 1999. Amazon was just getting off the ground, and people were learning to use the Internet to advertise and buy and sell goods and services online. We saw the rise of rudimentary online banking, and the Internet was finally a daily part of consumers’ lives in a big way. But our experience with the Web was still largely passive. Most Americans were Web consumers. But very few were active participants. That changed with Web 2.0.

With Web 2.0, consumers all over the world became actively engaged in the greater Web community. It started with the explosive popularity of personal web logs (or “blogs,” for short). “Bloggers” were instrumental in disrupting and disaggregating traditional media. The rise of Wi-Fi, fiber-optic and broadband technology made mass video production and distribution possible for ordinary individuals (think “YouTube”).

Then, in about 2007, smartphones took all that technology – the capacity for ordinary people to both consume and create content – and put it in people’s pockets. And companies like Facebook and other social media platforms gave us an easy way to form communities and share this content with each other.

Now Introducing Web 3.0 – The Metaverse

That brings us to today. Years of innovations in artificial intelligence, machine learning, graphics, data transmission, big data storage, video gaming and blockchain technology are about to transform our world as we know it.

Where our participation in Web 1.0 was …….


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