Data Scientists and the Metaverse


First you have to know your byte definitions: terabytes have 12 zeros, petabytes have 15 zeros, exabytes have 18 zeros and zettabytes have 21 zeros. Now you can appreciate a number like 44 zettabytes which is the amount of data in the world at the start of 2020. According to by 2025 463 exabytes of data will be generated daily. Google, Facebook, Microsoft and Amazon store 1200 petabytes, and gaming company Electronic Arts processes 50 terabytes of data every day. This explosion of data means it is a great time to be a data scientist. Data scientists and the metaverse might even be more of a data and career explosion.

User penetration in the U.S. and Europe is at 90%  but before you believe data creation will level off, understand that the largest users of the web are China at 50% of overall traffic. Africa, the second-most-populous continent has a growth rate of internet users at 12,441% from 2000 to 2020. The really fascinating impact on data over the next ten years is going to come from the metaverse.


“Internet traffic is already 80% video and has been growing at a 30% CAGR (compound annual growth rate.) Our team projects that even modest metaverse usage could drive a further 37% CAGR in the next decade to 20x current data usage,” reported  the Economic Times.

You probably know the term metaverse from the renaming of Facebook’s parent company to Meta. But metaverse is much bigger than just Facebook. The technologies companies refer to when they talk about the metaverse include virtual reality which is characterized by persistent virtual worlds that continue to exist even when you are not playing, as well as augmented reality that combines aspects of the digital and physical worlds. If this sounds like science fiction, it is, or it is where it grew out of but there is a strong belief that data scientists and the metaverse will be much more than just an advanced gaming environment.

There is a belief the metaverse will become pervasive in daily life in a way that games do not. It will offer new avenues for buying goods and services, new ways of communicating with friends and family and collaborating with work colleagues. Compared to traditional social media, metaverse platforms can gather much more intimate details on users due to the immersive nature of the technology. This depth of information will be extremely valuable for brands. They can gain a deeper understanding of user behavior to tailor advertising campaigns – there will be a greater role for data scientists and the metaverse.

The Issues

Right now the headsets used to enter the metaverse are big and cumbersome, sometimes cause motion sickness and completely shut the person using them off from any other outside stimulus or information – too effectively shutting out the world. Advancing to lightweight eyeglasses that layer digital images onto what you see in the real world must happen for widespread use in “real life” and business to occur.

There is hope that this opportunity to design something from scratch will allow for the mistakes of the initial setup of the web to be avoided. To control the “farming” of data and the exploitation of trust and privacy. Because the metaverse is done through blockchain/digital ledger technology the data is unchangeable, in other words always accurate and not tampered with. It is the ethical use of that data that needs to be controlled.

Interested in discussing what data scientists and the metaverse might look like for your future? Contact Smith Hanley Associates’ Data Science and Analytics Executive Recruiter, Paul Chatlos at



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