While many tech, retail, and financial companies have announced that they will start work on their versions of Metaverse, evidently, the United States military is already creating its own digital world.
You have probably heard Mark Zukerberg discuss the Metaverse over the last 12 months. Apparently, it is all Mr. Zuckerberg talks about. He is bent on creating the first, fully-immersive digital world that will allow people to socialize, play, and work in it.
Ever since “Metaverse” became the buzzword of the year, many businesses of all sizes rushed to become part of it, buying plots of digital land for millions of dollars. While a commercial Metaverse is still years away, as Wired reports, the US military is already creating its own version of it.
On the surface, the Metaverse looks exciting and new. Then, when you look at the individual components of the Metaverse, such as AR helmets, VR environments, and 3D simulations, you instantly recognize something. The military has used these components for training and exercises for years.
However, there are key differences between what the commercial world is planning to do with the Metaverse, and what the military has in mind.
The primary difference is control. While Zuckerberg and other Silicon Valley entrepreneurs want to create an open world that anyone can join, the military wants a closed system that it can control.
What Will the Military Use the Metaverse for?
Over the last decade, the US military has used virtual reality to train their pilots and sailors. In 2019, for example, the military signed a $22 million deal with Microsoft to acquire 120,000 VR headsets to use in training.
The military also uses VR to help soldiers with PTSD by recreating the conditions that caused their trauma. Studies have shown that this can help them work through their issues and improve symptoms.
For instance, an Army hospital in Tampa has successfully used the technology to help veterans come to terms with the horrors of war and to help them reintegrate into society.
The military is also interested in the Metaverse as a way to conduct operations in a secure, virtual environment. Such environments would allow the military to test out new tactics, weapons, and strategies without putting soldiers’ lives at risk.
The Military’s Brand New Virtual Toys
While the military has been using VR for training and simulations for years, they have recently started working on AI assistants to help soldiers on the battlefield.
As Wired writes, these virtual assistants should be able to offer ground troops advice via speech and graphics, based on their actions and location. The Air Force is also using AI to train fighter pilots by having them fly virtual aircraft in simulated dogfights.
If you think this does not sound like the Metaverse Zuckerberg has been talking about, you are right. But the Army has been working on something similar too. In fact, in December 2021, they held a meeting in a virtual environment for more than 250 high-ranking officials.
How Close Are We to a Real Metaverse?
The Metaverse is still very much in its infancy. But, as the military’s work shows, it will not be long before we see a fully-fledged version of it.
It is still unclear what the final product will look like, but it is certain that the military will play a large role in shaping it. So, if you thought the Metaverse was just a pipe dream, think again. It is well on its way to becoming a reality.
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