Does Quantum Computing have a role to play in the Metaverse?

Facebook recently announced a name change. Not that unusual perhaps as we see the likes of Google fall under the Alphabet Moniker. Now Facebook has decided to rebrand itself Meta. But was does Meta and the Metaverse have to do with Facebook and is there a role to play for Quantum Computers in the Metaverse.

The Metaverse

Without getting into the reasons behind the choice of Facebook to rebadge itself, the Wikipedia definition of the metaverse is quoted below. Mark Zuckerberg hopes to push his collection of companies including WhatsApp and Instagram in a direction towards an alternative environment in which we can all interact. It wouldn’t be the first time that creators have developed new worlds such as Second Life or more recently Roblox or Minecraft.

The metaverse (a portmanteau of “meta-” and “universe”) is a hypothesized iteration of the internet, supporting persistent online 3-D virtual environments through conventional personal computing, as well as virtual and augmented reality headsets. Metaverses, in some limited form, are already present on platforms like VRChat or video games like Second Life.

Wikipedia

The interaction of simulation, games and social?

Facebook and other companies under the stable will now be known as Meta. Shown is the new Logo of the group of products that range from Facebook to Occulus.

The Metaverse is pulling a number of sectors into one arena. Gaming is huge and set to grow even more, especially as covid has affected more usual interactions. Evermore powerful hardware means better graphics and more realism, whilst the social aspects are coming together in a place in which people can interact. Exactly what this metaverse looks like is still up for grabs, but it does look like certain components will come together to build a community where users can interact just as they do in the real world, but facilities by massive supercomputers rendering ever realistic VR worlds. Meta (the company) wants to be a central part of this because it wants to be the dominant platform in which users come together and interact, not without competition from the likes of more decentralized schemes such as Decentraland.

Putting Quantum into the Metaverse

Fields such as Quantum Machine Learning are proving popular with researchers in fields from Finance to Pharmaceuticals. That early promise could find itself way into the Metaverse helping on a number of key applications.

  • Security. Often Quantum Computing is discussed as a secueity threat, but if more and more of our interactions are captured in the Metaverse, then we will need Quantum Resistant secueity for all the trsnactions and commerce that takes place. Quantum Resistant technologies may need to be adopted to ensure that trasnactions remain safe against algorithms such as Shor’s Algorithm. Think Quantum resistant blockchains.
  • Computation. One of the possible use cases of Quantum Computing is to make some applications more effective. resaerchers are developing applications around tasks such as optimisation and with massive amounts of computuion and simulation required in the metaverse, any advantage that can be leverged will likely be used to enhance the experience. Some of the zoo of quantum algorithms that researchers are developing could find application for the alternative Metaverse.
  • Simulation. To create realism, metaverses will need an element of randomness to make sure that inhabiants and their algorithms don’t game the system. One such was to ensure that there is a high degree of randomness is to utilize quantum randomness, which means that instead of a pseudo random number, instead a series of qubits can be used to create random bits. Companies such as Quantum Dice are active in this field of Quantum Random Number Generation or QRNG’s.
  • Machine Learning. No doubt as the complexity of the worlds increase, machine learning will play a greater role in these metaverses and the need to machine learning will expand just as it has our world. Therefore as Quantum Machine Learning develops we will likely see uptake in the metaverse for a mayriad of applications, some of which we can likely only guess at today.
  • Communications. Of course secure communications will give rise to the need for smart tools and protocols such as QKD or Quantum Key Distribution. Companies such as KETS are active in this space providing secure communications.

As businesses scramble to digest the announcement of Facebook (now Meta) now that the metaverse blue touch-paper has been lit, they will be on the lookout for tools and technologies that they can integrate which will provide them a clear advantage and therefore it is only a matter of time as quantum technologies mature, they will cross over into the metaverse. Whatever happens to the Metaverse, it seems that the worlds technology companies are now focused on this new paradigm and potential evolution of the internet.