The metaverse is a virtual universe that blends aspects of digital technologies including video-conferencing, games like Minecraft or Roblox, cryptocurrencies, email, virtual reality, social media and live-streaming. Quite how these pieces will fit together is a work in progress, but some tech giants already see it as the future of human communication and interaction. It’s “the next frontier,” Mark Zuckerberg said when he changed his company’s name from Facebook Inc. to Meta Platforms Inc.
What will it look like? It may be easier to grasp the concept by first saying what it isn’t: It’s not a single product, it’s not a game, and it’s not being created by one company. Rather, it’s akin to a 3D World Wide Web, where businesses, information and communication tools are immersive and interoperable.
In a way it’s a digital facsimile of how we live in the physical world. Just as you might create a document in Microsoft Word and send it via Gmail to a colleague to read on an iPad, items in the metaverse should be able to move across an ecosystem of competing products, holding their value and function. An original piece of digital art bought as a non-fungible token, or NFT, from Company A, say, should be displayable on the virtual wall of a house in a game made by Company B.
Photo: Reuters 照片：路透
The metaverse won’t reach its full potential — millions of people accessing and living in the virtual world anywhere, at any time — without ultrafast Internet. That’s why mobile carriers around the world are spending billions of dollars to build 5G networks.
The rise of the metaverse also presents a tangle of legal and regulatory issues to be resolved. Some of the thorniest issues around the metaverse revolve around users’ personal data and privacy rights.
(Bloomberg and Reuters)
That was tough going (4/5) 這段路還蠻難騎的（四） B: I can see why you liked resting in the quiet fishing harbor, but I much preferred the bustling port we biked through on the third day. A: I wasn’t so keen on that. B: I know you weren’t. You were paying so much attention to the boats, you rode straight into the railings and fell headfirst into the water. A: It wasn’t funny. I could have really hurt myself. B: 我可以理解你為什麼喜歡待在那個安靜的漁港，可是我比較喜歡第三天行程我們騎車經過的那個熱鬧的港口。 A: 我不太喜歡那裡。 B: 我知道你不喜歡。你一直在看船，結果撞到欄杆，倒栽蔥跌到水裡。 A: 這一點都不好笑。我可能會受重傷欸。 (Paul Cooper, Taipei Times ／台北時報林俐凱譯) Audio recordings for Speak Up! dialogues will be suspended until further notice due to the pandemic.
B: You know, you’re right. It was all about the journey. It’s been a great trip. A: We’ve seen all kinds of scenery, from craggy coastlines to tranquil fishing ports to wonderful vistas in the mountains. B: So now we can just sit back and enjoy this beautiful scenery as the sun goes down. A: We can’t stay too long. This might be the symbolic end to the trip, but we still have to ride down from the mountain, and the light is fading fast. B: 你知道嗎，你說的沒錯，重要的是過程。這趟旅程真的很棒。 A: 我們看遍了各種景色，從崎嶇陡峭的海岸，到安靜的漁港，還有山間的美麗景色。 B: 那我們現在就可以好好坐下來，享受夕陽美景。 A: 我們不能待太久啦。這雖然是象徵性的終點，可是我們還得要騎下山，天色很快就要暗了。 (Paul Cooper, Taipei Times ／台北時報林俐凱譯) Audio recordings
The World Night View Summit took place on Friday last week, hosted by the Yakei Convention and Visitors Bureau in Nagasaki, Japan. With a decade since the previous one, the international summit selects three new spectacular night vistas from around the world. Last Friday’s summit saw the establishment of a new “World Night View Heritage” certification, with the Taiwan Lantern Festival selected as one of 10 heritage night vistas. The summit was attended by 150 representatives from the tourism industries of 10 countries, including Japan, Taiwan, Spain, Monaco and Hungry. The “World Night View Heritage” certification was established to recognize places or