Next in our debunking-metaverse-myths series, we look at how to predict where it's going next… 

The metaverse is currently swamped by a lot of over-commercialised fast culture (see our previous post). To really understand the direction of the metaverse, we need to interrogate the real world – where real people with real problems live – by looking at slow culture. 

To recap: fast culture is made up of areas of society that change at pace, like food trends; slow culture is formed by areas that evolve over much slower periods of time, like family and work. The metaverse’s future doesn’t lie in gimmicky brand activations. It’s within slow culture that the real clues can be found. 

Crowd Signals 

At Crowd DNA, we work with nine cultural shifts that are at the foundation of societal and cultural change (see image below). We’ve devised these via our Crowd Signals hub, inspecting social data points to predict trends that ladder up to them. By using these shifts and translating them into a digital future, we can get a glimpse of the metaverse ahead.

Crowd Signals is structured around a bespoke taxonomy of nine fundamentals of modern life, each evidencing a cultural shift.
Crowd Signals is structured around a bespoke taxonomy of nine fundamentals of modern life, each evidencing a cultural shift.

Responsible Progress – Decentralised Fashion

There have been huge changes within the fashion industry over the past few years. Many of these have been as a result of its dark relationship with environmental waste, pollution and social injustice. Sustainable clothing is now available up and down the high street, and reusable or shared products are helping fight the war against fast fashion. 

But how is sustainable fashion playing out in the metaverse? Forward thinking businesses – such as digital fashion house, The Fabricant – are building decentralised platforms that give consumers control over their own designs and output. So, instead of producing physical samples, people can research and develop their own ideas in the metaverse – reducing environmental strain on garment creation in the process. This also puts more power into the hands of consumers, challenging fashion’s hierarchical structure in the process. 

The metaverse has enormous potential to research, design and test environmentally friendly methods of production. We’ll be able to try on clothing in virtual changing rooms, design our own digital samples and discover new community generated looks – all crucial in the attempt to slow down fashion and democratise the creative space once and for all. 

Wellbeing Recharge – Optimised And Ownable Health

Global uncertainty has forced people to tune into their mental, physical and social health more than ever before. New systems of care are emerging in response. The emphasis being on systems that integrate data and individual preferences, designed to empower us to take charge and become more conscious of our own health. 

Translated into the metaverse, digital healthcare has lots of possibilities. Virtual clinics are being set up to combat geographical barriers to healthcare. A specialist can be stationed anywhere in the world, but still be able to view a patient’s scans and tests done at local facilities. While this responds to healthcare’s accessibility, digital twins are paving the way for more holistic and user-centric treatment plans. Q Bio Gemini, for example, uses patient data to create simulations of anatomy. These twins can then be shared with medical professionals, giving them a live, always-on window into a patient’s health. People will also be able to see – and ‘own’ – their own health status, as well as receive more personalised treatment plans. It seems that healthcare in the metaverse could empower people to take charge of their own wellbeing and measure it in the most complete sense.

As we can see, the metaverse is unlikely to remain as a playground for virtual yacht parties and celebrity avatars. The more we inspect slow culture, the more we can see what it will be. That is, a world powered by real humans with real human needs ­– who are not driven by consuming NFTs or eating digital burgers (or at least, not all the time). 

This blog is based on our recent Crowd DNA Amsterdam webinar, which you can read here and watch in full here