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Communications of the ACM


Applying the Metaverse

three figures interact in the metaverse, illustration


Trying to distill and describe what is being called the metaverse today is a bit like trying to describe the Internet to people in the 1970s or 1980s: the framework and building blocks were there, but few pundits were able to accurately encompass, delineate, and predict the applications that gained traction, the wide-ranging technological achievements that would occur, and how everyday life has been impacted via the commercial use of a worldwide network of computer servers.

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What Is the Metaverse?

The metaverse has been described as a network of virtual worlds, where augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR), and the Internet come together to provide a fully immersive, three-dimensional (3D) experience to users. Technology stalwarts such as Meta (the company formerly known as Facebook) have gone on a public relations blitz to depict a world in which doctors might be able to practice operating in a VR world before ever using a scalpel on a patient, or where people can feel immersed in remote locations and experiencing the sights and sounds as if they were there, while sitting in their homes wearing VR googles and headsets.


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