All this talk of the metaverse these days begs the question: Could the virtual world be an improved version of the real one? In this segment of Backstage Pass, recorded on Jan. 11, Fool.com contributors Rachel Warren, Jose Najarro, and Demitri Kalogeropoulos, along with Fool senior analyst Asit Sharma, weigh in on this much-debated question.
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Rachel Warren: I saw this article yesterday that was talking about what the metaverse will look like by 2030 or 2035. Basically, you can be going on vacation in the metaverse. I get that you know that can make certain places accessible. Maybe if you're not able to travel or you're not in the space where you can do that. It was talking about, for example, you can go to the Parthenon virtually.
I have made this point before, so I may sound a little bit like a broken record, but I think that there is a danger of losing sight of the beauty of real life experience and getting too caught up in a virtual iteration of it.
Yes, you can see the sights but smelling it, and experiencing it, and having all your sensations experience it for yourself, I don't know that that can translate into a virtual world. I wonder if we risk losing some of the magic of experiences like that. But anyway, that was a long comment. [laughs]
Jose Najarro: But one thing I do want to say is I think it does help out that we are in this digital transformation world right now where maybe, I don't know how technology was like 30, 40 years ago when new technology came to fruition, there wasn't an ability to share your information of why you believe this might not work or showcase what are some of the negativities behind it.
But now with all these platforms that we have, we can really yell off and be like, hey, this is something that we need to watch out for our kids or for whoever can't defend themselves to some extent right now. I want to say right now, it does help that we have this ability to showcase what can happen.
Demitri Kalogeropoulos: Real quick, the line that just jumped out at me in that article toward the end were some what, the author said he doesn't think that Meta or any of the big tech giants had the will or the ability to make the metaverse universally pleasant and safe.
I thought that was interesting way to put it and that's probably true. It's going to be a big platform, there's no way to do that and I guess that's the takeaway there. It's similar to the way the whole internet is.
Asit Sharma: Just a quick comment on the idea that these experiences, just going back a minute to Rachel's point about virtual tourism. It's interesting. I don't think the Internet has replaced our desire to travel and see things.
It fulfills a lot of needs for a lot of people, but it seems that it's been good net-net for travel. I may be an idealist in this sense, but I think there's just a different experience when you're out in front of a place and you can see the history right in front of you.
It just generates different pathways in your mind versus seeing something virtually. Now could be that this is a really hyperrealistic experience so I could be proven wrong at the height of the technology, and maybe this is something in 2030 or 2040. I can't distinguish standing right in front of something versus putting my goggles on.
To me, it's the same experience, and I hope that that doesn't become the point of the technology.
But to Jose's point as well, I do like that we have now the technology that's there.
A guy in London is writing this article pointing out these dangers and we're here discussing it and we have people all over the states and the globe at this hour, probably some people from other countries thinking about this. That's a cool thing.