Mark Zuckerberg knows Facebook is boring, and he desperately believes this is going to change now that he’s rebranded it to “the metaverse.” But the sad truth is — nothing will change, whether he names it Facebook, or the metaverse, or God’s universe, it is what it is, and Mark Zuckerberg is who he is — and nothing will change that!
But let’s imagine for a moment that Facebook is no longer a social-media company, but rather “a metaverse company.” What does this mean? In Zuckerberg’s own words, this means that instead of just browsing the internet — “you are in it!” This is what the Meta is, or at least that’s what he promises it would be.
I asked a number of people, mainly experts, if they understood what the meta is. Most of them told me that they are not really clear what Facebook’s version of the metaverse would actually look like in practice, other than a linked collection of virtual-reality programs and existing apps in a 3-D space. Others, I interviewed, wondered if they really wanted to immerse themselves in its reality, or perhaps I should say, in its fantasy!
The metaverse has always been a dystopian idea, but when Mark Zuckerberg announces he’s spending nearly $10 billion on the metaverse just this year, one has to take it seriously, let alone wonder — what is it?
Some view it as a PR stunt, while others look at it as a billionaire-size step into the unknown, à la Jeff Bezos or Elon Musk way, who are venturing into other universes, although in a totally different space.
I think what Mark Zuckerberg wants is to change the future of the internet, as we perceive it, rather than running an advertising social-media platform that is no longer anyone’s idea of a new tomorrow. Championing the metaverse feeds Mark Zuckerberg’s lust for power and greed, the way space travel feeds Bezos and Musk.
However, there is more to the story — and it has to do with money, your money!
Silicon Valley, and not just Facebook, desperately needs a new big idea, and the Meta is it. The industry is in need of a new way to generate more and more money, that is coming out of your pocket, knowingly or unknowingly, and the metaverse fits that bill. Once the metaverse goes mainstream, it would require you to invest in a whole range of new hardware and software, only to make Silicon Valley and Mark Zuckerberg richer and richer, while you will only be endowed with the promise of living in a fantasy world through goggles and profit-making apps.
This is what the industry wants. They want you to spend more money on new augmented-reality gadgets. No wonder goggle maker Magic Leap, after being written off as kaput, was revived with half a billion dollars of new investment this year. The industry desperately needs this stunt they refer to as the metaverse, just like investors are dying for something like the meta to pour capital into. What a perfect match! What a total waste of your hard-earned money!!
Yet, for some strange reason, I don’t fathom, many of the experts I spoke to doubted that Mark Zuckerberg will be able to pull this one-off. They believe he’s destined to fail. They don’t seem to believe that he would be able to bring a project so big into being.
But with Mark Zuckerberg desperately trying to change the rules of the game, he also wants to reassert himself as more than just the operator of a toxic yearbook, and rather the creator of a metaverse “thing” that might not turn out to be so dystopian after all.
DIGITAL HUMANS TO SERVE THE METAVERSE
As the meta starts taking shape, some companies have started creating digital humans to serve the metaverse. According to The Verge, companies like Soul Machines are joining the metaverse excitement. They want to make digital people the backbone of this new universe or metaverse that transcends our physical world.
Digital humans, as they refer to them, is expected to become a billion-dollar industry that will use digital people to humanize the world. This new digital workforce is likely to replace humans in the new meta-world. It will have the capacity to simulate human behavior, and it will be indistinguishable from the real deal.
It’s a new form of capitalism on steroids.
But will Mark Zuckerberg’s role in the Facebook rebrand backfire?
If Mark Zuckerberg fails to remove “negative associations” between Facebook and the new meta, his rebrand may backfire, experts have said, especially if it comes saddled with baggage from the previous venture. Facebook has ruined our reality, and now it’s coming to haunt us in the metaverse too.
Zuckerberg starred in a promotional video that provided a glimpse into the digital world, featuring an avatar of himself. He gave us a glimpse at the metaverse, his way. To me, it almost smelled like desperation, a sort of ‘let’s change the conversation type of thing’, a form of ‘let’s hit the button and rebrand’, and that’ll solve all of Facebook’s problems, or should I say Mark Zuckerberg’s problems.
Probably it doesn’t, and most likely it won’t. So, prepare yourself for plenty of confusion in the coming months.
WHAT HAPPENS IF META SUCCEEDS?
Let’s be on the optimistic side, and ask the question: What if the meta actually succeeds? What if its vision of the future becomes a reality? If that happens, the consequences could be huge. Just like Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos conquered space, Mark Zuckerberg wants to conquer the virtual metaverse. If he succeeds, he will probably control our future.
What a scare that would be!