TIME Magazine’s cover for its August double edition is a renowned digital artist’s depiction of the Metaverse, apt for its cover story about the world’s next digital era.
A former major league baseball shortstop who now moonlights as a digital artist is the brains behind TIME Magazine’s August cover, depicting the Metaverse as a new imaginative world that could change everything. Micah Johnson, a renowned digital artist, rendered an image of a virtual portal that features Aku, a character he created that Johnson considers “the world’s first digital explorer.”
Johnson’s digital character is a black man wearing an oversized astronaut helmet with an unquenchable thirst for exploring. Less than a year after creating Aku, it generated more than $20 million in sales and made Johnson the first NFT artist to secure major deals for TV and film development.
“I wanted to present him in a way that he’s welcoming others into the world that gave him this incredible platform to begin his journey,” Johnson said of Aku on TIME’s cover. “He’s most interested in exploring the past. He is able to learn from the giants that came before him who achieved their dreams in the face of adversity, and he’s also able to see people who were denied access to their dreams because of their socioeconomic situation, gender, their race, or any other limiting circumstances.”
TIME Magazine’s August Cover
Johnson’s “Into the Metaverse” art for TIME Magazine’s August cover story of the same title drops at the perfect time, with most people paying close attention to the Web3 and Metaverse spaces now more than ever. The cover story is written by Matthew Ball, the managing partner of Epyllion and the author of a new book called “The Metaverse: And How It Will Revolutionize Everything.”
In his story, Ball explains the Metaverse as a network of interconnected immersive digital experiences that will soon reach nearly everything—all places, people, businesses, and even parts of peoples’ lives. On his part, Johnson wanted to create a cover image that captures what he thinks is the Metaverse’s limitless potential.
“The Metaverse is a crypto wallet that allows you to have a persistent identity across both physical and digital experiences,” explains Johnson. “The greatest potential is for people whose access to knowledge or experiences is limited due to their physical environments or circumstances. It gives them realistic access to a limitless world.”
“Into the Metaverse”
Ball is not holding back in spewing facts that prompted him to dedicate a book, and TIME Magazine’s August cover story, to the Metaverse. As per Ball, two decades ago, there were fewer than a dozen instances wherein the word “Metaverse” was used in any shape or form. Time jumped to 2021, and there were about 260 mentions of the word.
However, in the first six months of 2022 alone, the word “Metaverse” appeared more than 1,100 times in regulatory filings per a United States Securities and Exchange Commission report. Ball notes that almost everyone in the corporate world needs to mention the word and how it seamlessly fits their company’s capabilities better than their competitors.
What’s worth noting is that despite claiming to leverage the Metaverse, only a handful of these executives can explain what Metaverse-related undertaking they are planning to do.
Ball believes that looking into the future, the Metaverse will be a parallel virtual plane of existence spanning all digital technologies. He even thinks it will eventually control much of the physical world.
He notes that throughout the numerous evolutions that technology has gone through, the next evolution could likely be “a persistent and ‘living’ virtual world that is not a window into our life (such as Instagram) nor a place where we communicate it (such as Gmail) but one in which we also exist.” He explicitly cites 3D and how it would be a vital cog in the global economy. He even notes the focus on immersive virtual reality headsets and avatars.
And although Ball feels that, apart from business and finance, the Metaverse will soon traverse education, medicine, infrastructure, and more, it is still unclear what it would mean to society. Ball reminds everyone that the Metaverse should not be looked at as an overhaul to the Internet or a replacement for mobile devices or software.
The Metaverse will continue to produce new technologies and behaviors, but it remains to be seen what more it can do as far as society, in general, is concerned.
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