BBC 6 minute English-Welcome to the metaverse

BBC 6 minute English-Welcome to the metaverse

BBC 6 minute English-Welcome to the metaverse


Transcript of the podcast

Note: This is not a word-for-word transcript

.Sam: Hello. This is 6 Minute English from BBC Learning English. I’m Sam

.Neil: And I’m Neil

Sam: On Saturday mornings I love going to watch football in the park. The problem is when it’s cold and rainy – I look out the bedroom window and go straight back to bed

Neil: Well, instead of going to the park, why not bring the park to you? Imagine watching a live version of the football match at home in the warm, with friends. Sound good, Sam

?Sam: Sounds great! – but how can I be in two places at once? Is there some amazing invention to do that

Neil: There might be, Sam – and it could be happening sooner than you think, thanks to developments in VR, or virtual reality. According to Facebook boss, Mark Zuckerberg, in the future we’ll all spend much of our time living and working in the ‘metaverse’ – a series of virtual worlds

Sam: Virtual reality is a topic we’ve discussed before at 6 Minute English. But when Facebook announced that it was hiring ten thousand new workers to develop VR for the ‘metaverse’, we thought it was time for another look

Neil: Is this programme, we’ll be hearing two different opinions on the ‘metaverse’ and how it might shape the future

Sam: But first I have a question for you, Neil. According to a 2021 survey by gaming company, Thrive Analytics, what percentage of people who try virtual reality once want to try it again? Is it

?a) 9 percent

,b) 49 percent? or

?c) 79 percent

.Neil: I guess with VR you either love it or hate it, so I’ll say b) 49 percent of people want to try it again

Sam: OK, I’ll reveal the correct answer later in the programme. But what Neil said is true: people tend to either love virtual reality or hate it. Somebody who loves it is Emma Ridderstad, CEO of Warpin’, a company which develops VR technology

:Neil: Here she is telling BBC World Service programme, Tech Tent, her vision of the future

Emma Ridderstad

In ten years, everything that you do on your phone today, you will do in 3-D, through your classes for example. You will be able to do your shopping, you will be able to meet your friends, you will be able to work remotely with whomever you want, you will be able to share digital spaces, share music, share art, share projects in digital spaces between each other. And you will also be able to integrate the digital objects in your physical world, making the world much more phygital than is it today

Sam: Virtual reality creates 3-D, or three-dimensional experiences where objects have the three dimensions of length, width and height. This makes them look lifelike and solid, not two-dimensional and flat

Neil: Emma says that in the future VR will mix digital objects and physical objects to create exciting new experiences – like staying home to watch the same football match that is simultaneously happening in the park. She blends the words ‘physical’ and ‘digital’ to make a new word describing this combination: phygital

Sam: But while a ‘phygital’ future sounds like paradise to some, others are more sceptical – they doubt that VR will come true or be useful

Neil: One such sceptic is technology innovator, Dr Nicola Millard. For one thing, she doesn’t like wearing a VR headset – the heavy helmet and glasses that create virtual reality for the wearer – something she explained to BBC World Service’s, Tech Tent

Dr Nicola Millard

There are some basic things to think about. So, how do we access it? So, the reason, sort of, social networks took off was, we’ve got mobile technologies that let us use it. Now, obviously one of the barriers can be that VR or AR headsets – so VR, I’ve always been slightly sceptical about. I’ve called it ‘vomity reality’ for a while because, frankly, I usually need a bucket somewhere close if you’ve got a headset on me… and also, do I want to spend vast amounts of time in those rather unwieldy headsets? Now, I know they’re talking AR as well and obviously that does not necessarily need a headset, but I think we’re seeing some quite immersive environments coming out at the moment as well

Sam: Nicola called VR ‘vomity reality’ because wearing a headset makes her feel sick, maybe because it’s so unwieldy – difficult to move or wear because it’s big and heavy

Neil: She also makes a difference between VR – virtual reality- and AR, which stands for augmented reality – tech which adds to the ordinary physical world by projecting virtual words, pictures and characters, usually by wearing glasses or with a mobile phone

Sam: While virtual reality replaces what you hear and see, augmented reality adds to it. Both VR and AR are immersive experiences – they stimulate your senses and surround you so that you feel completely involved in the experience

.Neil: In fact, the experience feels so real that people keep coming back for more

.Sam: Right! In my question I asked Neil how many people who try VR for the first time want to try it again

?Neil: I guessed it was about half – 49 percent. Was I right

Sam: You were… wrong, I’m afraid. The correct answer is much higher – 79 percent of people would give VR another try. I suppose because the experience was so immersive – stimulating, surrounding and realistic

Neil: Ok, A, let’s recap the other vocabulary from this programme on the ‘metaverse’, a kind of augmented reality – reality which is enhanced or added to by technology

.Sam: 3-D objects have three dimensions, making them appear real and solid

.Neil: Phygital is an invented word which combines the features of ‘physical’ and ‘digital’ worlds

.Sam: A sceptical person is doubtful about something

.Neil: And finally, unwieldy means difficult to move or carry because it’s so big and heavy

!Sam: That’s our six minutes up, in this reality anyway. See you in the ‘metaverse’ soon

!Neil: Goodbye

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