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  • Cecilia Escobar

Virtual world. Metaverse, natives and digital migrants.

But humanity in its search for material well-being has gone too far. They had overexploited the riches of nature, and progress had come to mean the progress of the machine" - Morgan Forster 1909.

The Metaverse is the evolution of the internet with virtual environments linked to each other, where users can interact in an experiential experience.

Technology places people in novel contexts or spaces ready to interact with countless numbers of users in any part of the world through everyday electronic devices.

The Metaverse is a virtual world, but this concept is nothing new. Literature has put human evolution together with the evolution of machines and technology, and many times they have been an inspiration to make it happen.

As is the specific case of the novel "The Machine Stops" by Edward Morgan Forster in 1909. This short science fiction novel written 114 years ago represents human interaction as it is known today. The story is set in a post-apocalyptic world where people live in individual underground capsules described as bee cells and meet their needs by employing a machine. People communicate through screens and begin to idolize the Machine out of absolute dependence.

It's amazing how to anticipate application technologies that we know now like the internet connection, and the isolation to be able to communicate depending on a screen like Skype.

If we go a little further back, Jules Verne gave us the dream of creating machines to go around the world in 80 days (1873) or From the Earth to the Moon (1865) with his vision of shooting a similar ship at the moon to a bullet.

Returning to earth, the virtual worlds that are now presented to us are very similar to video games. You create an avatar, and you can enter an alternate, colorful and extraordinary world through a computer.

But if you are not looking for a fantasy world like video games...

The Metaverse seeks for the user to carry out their daily activities through a screen without the need to leave the house. A network of active virtual environments where you can interact with each other and with digital objects during virtual avatar performances.

How does it work?

The Metaverse is made up of two large branches, virtual reality and augmented reality. TechTarget mentions some technologies with which the Metaverse is used that are evolving with impressive development.

  • Artificial intelligence

  • Extended reality

  • Internet of things

  • Brain-computer interfaces

  • Space computing

  • Blockchain

History of the Metaverse

Metaverse is a portmanteau of meta meaning transcendent and verse, of the universe. According to data from TechTarget, the term metaverse was coined in 1992 by author Neal Stephenson in his science fiction novel Snow Crash, but the concept of the internet dates back much further.

  • 1938. Antonin Artaud, a French playwright, uses the term virtual reality in his essay The Theater and His Double.

  • 1962. Morton Heilig (an American filmmaker) built a machine that simulated the experience of riding a motorcycle through a New York City Park in a 3D movie (Sensorama).

  • 1984. Jaron Lanier founded VPL developing the first virtual reality data headsets.

  • 1989. Tim Bernes - Lays the foundation for the World Web while at CERN.

  • 1992. Neal Stephenson created the novel Snow Crash where they use the term Metaverse.

  • 1993. Computer scientist Moni Naor and computer scientist Cynthia Dworl try to create tools to prevent spam and denial of service attacks, which would later become the basis of Bitcoin.

  • 2003. Linden Lab presents Second Life, a 3D virtual space.

  • 2006. Roblox allows users to create and play massive multiplayer games developed by other users.

  • 2007. Google evolved Maps with Street View; people can explore the streets virtually.

  • 2009. The first Bitcoin appeared and the first blockchain was launched.

  • 2012. Yoni Assia presents Colored Coins.

  • 2012. Palmer Luckey launches Oculus.

  • 2014. The first non-fungible token is created.

  • 2014. Facebook acquired Oculus VR, a virtual reality company, for $2 billion.

  • 2015. Ethereum is launched

  • 2016. Pokémon Go presents augmented reality games assumed in the real world.

  • 2019. The Fortune game has become the most popular shared virtual world in history with more than 250 million active users.

  • 2020. The COVID-19 pandemic leads to increased adoption of virtual and augmented reality technology, as well as online gaming and virtual meetings.

  • 2021. The company Facebook changes its name to Meta

  • 2021. Microsoft introduces Mesh as a virtual collaboration platform.

* Some timeline data was taken from TechTarget

According to data from Mckinsey & Company, it is predicted that the metaverse economy could reach $5 trillion by 2030, being the dominant engine, along with video games, entertainment, and education.

Digital natives and digital immigrants

Speaking of digital learning, it is important to point out the importance of the new and old digital generations called digital natives and digital immigrants.

IPedicia describes digital natives as those who grew up in the digital information age, while digital immigrants are those who grew up before the digital information age, and before the invention of the internet. These two terms were coined by Marc Prensky in 2001 to point to two generations based on their approach to technology.

Digital natives

Digital natives can consume digital information quickly using various devices and platforms of daily use such as smartphones, tablets, and social networks.

In general terms, they are a category of children and adolescents, especially in developed countries. They can millennial generation (1980-2000), Generation Z (born after 2000), and Alpha Generation (born after 2010).

Their learning and communication are through social networks or any type of digital device.

Digital natives integrate and continue to innovate the digital labor sector, a sector that is increasingly taking over the traditional labor sector.

Digital immigrants

They are people raised before the digital age. They had to adapt to the new digital life. It is believed that they are less capable of navigating the digital world intuitively than digital natives.

Both generations are needed for knowledge and the application of knowledge. The support of both is important, daily life, work, education, and social relationships continue to advance. Everything is necessary through technology and digital natives and immigrants, being they who are transforming the Metaverse.

It's possible that we'll see even more advancements in the next few years as technology continues to rapidly progress and bridge the gap between the Metaverse and the real world. In 2023 alone, artificial intelligence has made significant strides in areas such as deep learning, natural language processing, and robotics, with applications being developed for fields such as energy, transportation, and medicine.

Who knows? Perhaps we'll even be the pioneers of a science fiction-like scenario where humans and machines merge or become adversaries.


· “Digital Natives vs Digital Immigrants” EU Business School, October 27, 2021.

· “Digital Natives, Digital Immigrants” By Marc Prensky, No. 5, October 2001.,%20Digital%20Immigrants%20-%20Part1.pdf

· “What is the Metaverse, what possibilities does it offer and when will it be real?” By YÚBAL FERNÁNDEZ, 16 Mayo 2022

· “What is the Difference Between Digital Natives and Digital Immigrants” by Hasa, June 19, 2022

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