Skip to content

Connecting Reality and Technology Through the Metaverse

There has lately been a change in the way people are talking about the metaverse. Disney and other companies said they are not going to spend any money in this anymore, for example. Yet, there is still much potential for this space. Shannon and her editors seemed to have had the forethought to name the book, Interconnected Realities, and to get ahead of this trend.

“It is a book about the metaverse. It is a book about the purpose of the metaverse,” says Shannon. “And even though the attention headlines have moved on, the metaverse is still a thing, and it is going to affect all of us. But what it actually, ultimately is called, that’s up for grabs. That could turn into something else. We don’t call the Internet, the information superhighway anymore, right?”

Shannon adds, “First, we have to understand what the metaverse is. And at a fundamental level, the metaverse is the union of the digital and the physical. For me, the meaningful part of the metaverse is actually a lot closer to a Snapchat filter than to something that you do in virtual reality. So you’re still in the physical world, but through some sort of a device, and maybe we’ll start off with smartphones. We do that now. But moving eventually to head mounted displays. So augmented reality glasses, being able to have digital information and even overlays in our physical world as we move through the physical world. That is the true nature. And I think the true promise of the metaverse where genuinely we have the three-dimensional Internet and information and entertainment surrounding us in real time in our day to day lives. There’s already money being spent by me on couches that I bought through AR.”

Are we missing the first step in kind of imagining what we’re all going to be wearing, headsets or not wearing headsets? Yes, according to Shannon. There’s this continuum between fully digital and fully physical. There’s the physical world with no digital at all. And then there’s the mix of the two, and then you end up all the way over to fully digital. And that’s the virtual reality world, with the full VR headset, where we don’t see the physical world at all.

So just where along the continuum will the metaverse end up? “There’s also kind of subsets in there of PC-based metaverse experiences that are digital experiences, fully digital worlds where you’re an avatar, and I’m an avatar But we’re in a PC, so not fully immersed with a VR headset. So there’s all these different flavors. And actually, if you look at where the metaverse is being used, anything along that continuum right now,” observes Shannon.

There are many variations on the metaverse. Of course, the name itself connotes Meta, before and after the company changed its name. Those who were working in the metaverse space, just understood the word metaverse to mean augmented reality and virtual reality and all these mixes of digital and physical. Then Meta came in, and because they have the oculus, that kind of made everybody think the metaverse is virtual reality. But the two are not synonymous, and the metaverse extends beyond just the gamer demographic, asserts Shannon.

“I think what’s best for understanding how the metaverse is going to transform our lives is to talk about some of the things that it can do,” she says. “Imagine the combination of digital with the physical world with the power of generative AI, democratizing computing. This is actually where the magic is really going to happen.”

She continues, “Just imagine a world in which you have glasses that kind of do a lot of the functions that your smartphone does. But it’s hooked into generative AI, not just that it can produce text, but that can code Open AI. The company also has a product, not just ChatGPT, such as one called Codex, which lets you use natural language to describe a program that you want, and then it will write that program for you. It’ll select the appropriate computer code. And it’ll write the program. Imagine I come into this [FEI] conference and I go, and I look around, I don’t know anybody’s name here. And I was like ‘glasses, write me a program in which, if I speak to anyone for more than thirty seconds, you take a picture of them and flash a light so they know that that’s happening.’ And then I can get and match up against the FEI, permission granted, of course, a database of who was here, and then give me a list at the end of the day of the people I had major interactions with. And so that just came to me. I just had that idea. I told my glasses to write that program, to create that app. That’s the kind of world that we’re going to be in.”

But despite the anticipation, just when might this happen? The democratization of computing genuinely is speeding things up. For Shannon, she sees none of this coming until about the end of the decade because there’s a lot of technical stuff that needs to come in first. So where are we in terms of the development of the metaverse?

“We’re so early in this world. And we just have a lot more media. Is that what it is? People saw how transformative the Internet was. There’s this massive expectation on the metaverse to be as transformative, and it will be. It’s just we have to get some of the details set up first.”

Introducing the Virtual Natives

Shannon also has another book coming out focused on Gen Z. Co-authored with Catherine Henry, the name of the second book, which will come out in September, is called Virtual Natives.

Shannon further notes that we had the digital natives 20 years ago, who were the kids who had grown up with the Internet. Today, what happens when we have the virtual natives—the kids who grew up trying to tap and swipe a magazine page because they were already used to an iPad before they even knew what language was?

“It’s astonishing because these children genuinely are living in these virtual worlds and making money there. And by the time they come to your average employee or your average company, they have their own brand, they have their own followers. They have a much better sense of their identity and value. The corporations of the world are not ready for this. The unique thing about the virtual natives is that they have power like no other generation before.”

“Understanding that Gen Z speaks video, that’s really key,” says Shannon.

See the video for more on the virtual natives, the metaverse and the rest of Seth Adler’s conversation with Leslie Shannon.


  • Seth Adler

    Seth Adler heads up All Things Insights & All Things Innovation. He has spent his career bringing people together around content. He has a dynamic background producing events, podcasts, video, and the written word.

  • Matt Kramer

    Matthew Kramer is the Digital Editor for All Things Insights & All Things Innovation. He has over 20 years of experience working in publishing and media companies, on a variety of business-to-business publications, websites and trade shows.


Related Content

A smiling little robot

The Road to FEI24: Brunch with the Bots

Samantha Johnson, Founder & CEO at Tatum Robotics, will take part in FEI 2024 in several ways, including participating in the keynote sessions, “Bru…

laboratory beaker with dropper
artificial intelligence

Transform New Product Development with AI

While AI is certainly touted as being able to create rapid data-driven insights, there are advantages in the new product development process that can…

football chalk game plan
innovation strategy

Innovation Principles, 6/7

Development strategy (i.e., Game Plan) is a set of choices within applicable constraints and trade-offs that defines our development approach and posi…

innovation strategy

The Benefits of Innovative Entrepreneurship

Entrepreneurship and innovation are closely linked concepts but also distinct and separate stages in business. Defining both is helpful from both an o…


Navigating the Nascent Stage of Innovation

There might be more inherent uncertainty in a nascent industry or early startup venture, with many questions and challenges unanswered, bringing compl…


Finding the Way to Business Transformation

The concept of business transformation can be defined with a broad range of meanings depending upon the business and the different stakeholders that p…


Gaining an Innovation Edge with Automation

With the focus on how artificial intelligence, as well as digital transformation efforts, can help streamline operations, it’s worth another look at…

innovation partnerships

Creating the Right Innovation Partnership

Corporations often face many challenges when it comes to developing innovation in a fast, evolving market. They can face barriers such as inertia, the…

innovation talent

Bringing Sales and Innovation Together

Just how can innovation and sales work together to find success? Too often, companies find themselves stuck in their respective departments and the si…

digital transformation

Advancing Universal Interaction

Artificial intelligence, specifically generative AI, has the potential to be a great equalizing disruptive technology of our time. While we are still…

disruptive innovation

Shaping the Future with Disruptive Technology

As we head into 2024, innovation of all types, most especially in technology, will continue to disrupt, transform and impact our lives, from the workp…

innovation culture

Embracing Open Innovation

Open innovation is a growing tactic for today’s globalized enterprises. Rather than focusing just on closed loop systems and internal sources, such…


Balancing the Innovation Partnership

Startup and corporate partnerships are a delicate balancing act but one that can maximize innovation success for both partners. Certainly, there are c…

design thinking

Innovation Principles, 2/7

Successful innovation endeavors are built on creative tension between key enabling entrepreneurial trade-offs associated with four must-have constitue…

innovation culture

Unlocking Business Growth Through Innovation

The business world is changing quickly for innovators and there is a growing and ever-present imperative to keep up. Business model transformations an…

innovation culture

Living in A Digital Transformation World

Digital transformation (DX) has been a hot topic in the innovation space for some time, but the term can be easily misunderstood as well. As we accele…

innovation frameworks

Innovation Principles, 1/7

Imagine a case where a company’s growth depends on an innovation involving complex cross-disciplinary technologies such as electro-mechanical hardwa…


Playing the Game of Disruption

At FEI, Angelina Carvajal, Strategy & Innovation Partner, Sr. Dir. (Optum Advisory), UnitedHealth Group, had a chance to share her thoughts on disrupt…

Innovation Resources
open innovation

External Partnerships Fuel Innovation

As part of the continuing series of conversations at FEI with All Things Innovation’s Seth Adler, next on tap is Eric Agdeppa, R&D Director, Innovat…

design thinking

Design Thinking Faces the Pace of Change

Seth Adler of All Things Innovation recently caught up with Prapti Jha, T.H. Chan School of Public Health, Harvard University, at this year’s FEI co…

innovation frameworks

People Remain the Critical Link to Innovation

All Things Innovation’s Seth Adler got a chance to sit down with Milan Ivosevic, VP R&D, CooperSurgical, at this year’s FEI conference. Ivosevic a…

transformational innovation

Beyond Innovation Theater

At FEI, All Things Innovation conducted a special roundtable, bringing cross industry, cross disciplinarians together to talk about transformation and…


Supporting Data with Design Thinking

At FEI, All Things Innovation conducted a special roundtable, bringing cross industry, cross disciplinarians together to talk about transformation and…


Achieving Transformational Innovation

At FEI, All Things Innovation conducted a special roundtable, bringing cross industry, cross disciplinarians together to talk about transformation and…

6 D's framework

The Progress of Innovation

Technology is shaping our society, taking us in new directions and playing a key role in our lives every day. These forces can disrupt, or delight, co…

scaling an innovation

Sizing Up Your Innovation’s Impact

If your company has successfully developed an innovative product or service, you might be at the stage of the process known as scalability. Perhaps yo…


Leading with Product Innovation

At its core, in the consumer packaged goods world, an innovative product can make an impact in the marketplace and stand out with a focus on newness….

disruptive technology

Defining Disruptive Innovation

Disruptive innovation is often a phrase used to make a splash in the business world. Some may debate that the label has been applied carelessly at tim…

humanity-centric innovation

Diving Into Humanity-Centric Innovation

With the continued emergence and evolving development of artificial intelligence, there rises a question of how humans and AI can work together more e…


Innovating Through the Metaverse

The Metaverse is a shifting, undefined topic, which is currently the center of much speculation and hype. However, at its center, the concept of the M…


Perspectives On Corporate Venturing

The Rolling Stones might have famously sung, “Start Me Up,” back in the 1980s, and Microsoft later tapped the tune for its Windows 95 marketing ca…


15 Second Workday

This morning I generated 40 new product ideas with concepts and ad copy to accompany each.  It took 15 seconds. This is just a small fraction of what…


Innovation Reality

When working remotely, the main challenge is bringing people into an office when they live across the country or around the world. The AES Corporation…


Innovation Ventures

The movement for startups and corporate venturing is becoming more and more of a trend in organizations according to Chris Varley, Principal of Goodye…


Interaction Innovation

We are at a time in history of incredible change and technological innovations, such as the rise of machine intelligence, and companies who keep doing…


Humanity-Centric Innovation

Humanity-centric innovation is the idea of solving the biggest problems facing humanity in an economically viable way. Pete Dulcamara, Chief Scientist…


Measurable Innovation

Each company has their own KPIs that are important to their specific business in place to progress and be successful. Are people at the forefront of i…


Rolling Innovation

If you’ve done it once, you can do it again. Make sure to keep doing it, it’s rolling innovation. Amber Case sits down with us to discuss how impo…

innovation culture

Innovation Intelligence

It seems that innovation is one of the biggest buzzwords in business now. To sustain growth and be competitive in the marketplace, companies in every…


Innovation versus Transformation

Many people think digital transformation and innovation are one in the same, but according to Hatrick, while they are closely related, there is a diff…