Could the metaverse replace Mars?

World population by country in 2018. Each square represents 500,000 people. Source: Our World in Data
Land reclaimed by the Netherlands since the 13th century.
Worldwide population density. Source: Our World in Data.

Space science

The idea of starting new societies on other planets of the universe is nothing new. Science fiction has been fantasizing about it for decades, with great writers such as Frank Herbert or Isaac Asimov (it's a genre that I have yet to explore more).

Space Race USSR propaganda

Where if there was no need to expand across the universe?

If we have to divide the same surface area by more citizens, the result is theoretically simple: we have fewer m2 per capita than before. Tall buildings are a good choice, but these cannot grow in an unlimited way. Additionally, other factors such as traffic would be highly affected.

  • If public administrations were only allowed to carry out their procedures through virtual portals, we could dispense with a multitude of administrative buildings such as town halls or tax offices.
  • If doctors could perform their diagnoses via VR with the patient at home, there would be no need for so many hospitals and primary care centres.
  • If young people could study from home using Zoom and AR tools, schools, colleges and universities could be replaced.
  • If all purchases were made through digital channels, there would be no need for stores or shopping malls.
  • If remote work were fully implemented in society, office buildings could be replaced and transformed into huge residential houses.

Is this the world we want to live in?

The data are clear: the world’s population will not stop growing during this century. In addition, the least populated areas of the planet are very unattractive, making it difficult to distribute population density. The idea of transferring many of our daily activities to the Internet may be a good idea to maximize housing construction and allow population sustainability.

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Juan Otálora

Juan Otálora

IT Engineer. I’m interested in complex systems, economy, history and (of course) tech.