Fantasy vs reality - the metaverse and sustainability

April 17, 2023
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Imagine your ideal world - one in which you are physically fit without adjusting your diet or going to the gym. A world where you can be popular without making an effort to make friends.

Somewhere you can be wealthy without having to work for the money and in a perfect relationship that meets all your desires without human interaction.

This ideal world exists, and it's called the Metaverse.

The Metaverse is a virtual reality space where users can interact with a computer-generated environment and other users. It allows you to be whoever, whatever and wherever you want to be via a digital avatar. This has its roots in the online gaming industry.

You may think, 'luckily I'm not a part of this phenomenon'. If you are on social media, it may be closer than you think. Is your LinkedIn self the same as your TikTok-self  

or Instagram self, Facebook self, or dare I say … Tinder self?

Probably not.

… hopefully not.

What is the metaverse? what does that mean for us? (Photo: John Schnobrich)

The rise of avatars can make it difficult to stay true to one's authentic self.

If we had to take a moment to reflect on our actions, how much of them are our own and not ideologies fed to us on social media of who we should be?

Contort your body into a Kim K pose, and there's a good chance that you will get 100s of likes and followers online.

Now, add a Kylie Jenner overdrawn-lip-selfie, and you could go viral


Honestly, though, the 'authentic self' seems to lie in becoming the avatar gaining the highest social media following.

There are 5.16 billion internet users worldwide, representing 64.4% of the global population.

Of these users, 4.76 billion people are on social media. This was the Web 2.0 era, where the internet was amassed with content creators and influencers making money by partnering with brands for sponsored content, especially luxury goods. Now, we are in the Web 3.0 era, where people can own the internet.

Crazy but true.

As of 2023, revenue in the luxury goods market amounts to US$354.80bn. The market is expected to grow annually by 3.38%. The market's largest segment is Luxury Fashion with a market volume of US$111.50bn in 2023. Predictions show that Gen Y, Z and Alpha will become the biggest luxury buyers by 2030.

I don't know about you, but I find it quite concerning that our future leaders rather invest in perishable goods and virtual avatars than the sustainability of the human race.

Also, what about the other 35.6% of non-internet users (excluding anti-internet extremists) stuck in the real world facing real-world problems such as poverty, inequality and pandemics? What happens to them?