TechnologyWhen will the real and virtual worlds merge into...

When will the real and virtual worlds merge into a “metaverse”?

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In our new podcast episode Wait a minute !, we talk about technologies and futures with Laure Beaudonnet, journalist at 20 Minutes, which explores these questions for our media. We talk about the “metaverse”, a universe where the borders between physical and virtual spaces are broken. Imagined in
The Virtual Samurai by Neal Stephenson (1992), a cult science fiction novel, the “metaverse” is notably illustrated in the film Ready Player One, by Steven Spielberg, or the anticipation series Black Mirror.

Still from the movie Ready Player One directed by Steven Spielberg in 2018 – LILO / SIPA

In these fictions, the characters use technologies, such as full suits with virtual reality glasses, to access a universe combining reality and virtual. Today, video game publishers, like Roblox or Epic Games, are the most advanced in these parallel universe projects. The Fortnite video game (Epic Games) is organizing more and more “live” entertainment events, becoming a concert hall of the future. Several avatars of artists, such as those of rapper Travis Scott or singer Ariana Grande, have already performed there.

Still from the movie Ready Player One directed by Steven Spielberg in 2018
Still from the movie Ready Player One directed by Steven Spielberg in 2018 – LILO / SIPA

These universe projects are the dream of digital giants, including Mark Zuckerberg, boss of Facebook. Describing the “metaverse” as the future of social interactions, he announced at the end of July in The Verge, invest heavily in this project. People who connect to the social network could meet without leaving their homes. But when we talk about futures and technologies, there is often wanting and power.

In this episode of Wait a minute !, the journalist Laure Beaudonnet talks about what the “metaverse” is and the different actors who work on it. She then underlines the constraints and difficulties of creating parallel universes, reported by Sylvain Louradour, director of the Netexplo digital innovation observatory. She recalls in particular the difficulty of replicating the human senses, such as touch and taste, in a parallel universe. However, several organizations are working on this issue, such as the Japanese Meiji University in Tokyo and its “Norimaki Synthesizer” project, which has created a kind of technological lollipop that allows, thanks to gels, to compose tastes like acid, l ‘bitter or sweet. All the information to listen to in this podcast with Laure Beaudonnet.

Wait a minute ! is an original podcast by 20 Minutes. You can find it and subscribe for free on all online listening platforms, including Apple podcast and Spotify, to be alerted to new broadcasts. You can also find all our episodes in the “Podcasts” section of the 20minutes.fr site. To send us comments, reviews and ideas: audio@20minutes.fr

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Janice Thomas
Janice Thomas is a content editor at 24 News Recorder. She has 5 years of journalism experience and she he is a graduate of Wittenberg University and holds a master’s degree in journalism from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University.

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