LIFE IN THE YEAR 2100 (PART III): How Is the Metaverse Going to Impact Our World Between Now and the 2100s?
What will happen in the year 2100? Will robots take over our world? Will we be living in virtual worlds? Are we going to be living and working in the metaverse?
Watch it on YouTube https://youtu.be/eeyLCUmKcXg
The Metaverse seems to be the hottest topic of the hour. It’s definitely going to impact our world between now and the 2100s. And if you happen to trust what Mark Zuckerberg says, by 2031 we might all be living and working in the metaverse.
In case you’re still trying to get your head around what the metaverse is, it’s a series of virtual worlds, which will become one day the most important new technology platform since the arrival of the web.
At least, that’s what Mark Zuckerberg thinks. He appears to be so convinced that the metaverse will be our future that he announced last week that he is going to create 10,000 new jobs in the EU to build it.
So, if you happen to be a believer in the metaverse or the matrix, as some refer to it, then be ready to join the “real world”, the Mark Zuckerberg way. This is where you will need to choose between the red pill to become part of the resistance or the blue pill to forget you ever knew there was a real-world out there and re-join the rest of humanity in serving the machines.
This was the plot of the 1999 movie The Matrix, starring Keanu Reeves as Neo, and Laurence Fishburne as Morpheus, who are led to fight an underground war against powerful computers who have constructed an entire reality with a system called the Matrix.
Going by the movie, will you be willing to take the red pill, stay in Wonderland and let Mark Zuckerberg show you how deep the rabbit-hole goes? Or will you take the blue pill where the story ends, and you wake up in your bed believing whatever it is you want to believe?
So, if you want to be part of the resistance, like Neo in the Matrix, then go ahead and join Mark Zuckerberg, and make the world much more digital than it already is.
And if you happen to believe someone who, allegedly, stole the idea of ConnectU in 2004 to create Facebook, then the metaverse is definitely going to be the next big thing for you.
But what is the metaverse? And why does Zuckerberg want Facebook to become an online ‘metaverse’? More importantly, will there be multiple multiverses run by different companies?
Too many questions, too few answers…
If the metaverse does prove as powerful a platform as Mark Zuckerberg suggests it would be, would we want it to be run by ‘him’, given all the damage Facebook did to everything from democracy to the mental health of teenagers?
I spoke to a number of experts who expressed their hopes that Facebook doesn’t end up ruling the metaverse, and that Mark Zuckerberg, who, by the way, is one of the most hated people in the tech world, as British magazine Wired wrote in its April 2018 issue, will not be building our new world, the Morpheus way in the Matrix movie series.
Even Big Tech giants, who believe they are the masters of our universe, don’t seem to be happy with Mark Zuckerberg ruling the world through the metaverse. Last week, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey described the metaverse as, “a virtual world owned by corporations where end-users were treated as citizens in a dystopian corporate dictatorship.”
Regardless of what Jack Dorsey says or believes, the concept of the metaverse is quickly becoming a buzzword in the world of technology and business. Some think it’s bad, others believe it’s nothing but a fantasy of power, while the dreamers among us would like to believe that it’s based on the premise of the Matrix, the movie.
While Mark Zuckerberg is busy building the metaverse, his wealthiest counterparts are doing exactly the same but in a totally different universe. Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos, and Richard Branson are trying to create an imaginary celestial paradise, where they, not us, can thrive as “multi-planetary species.”
That’s what I’ve been dreaming about since I first watched the movie Interstellar or that new series, I’m watching now on Amazon Prime called The First, starring Sean Penn.
Ever since The Matrix, the movie, came out in 1999, exactly 22 years ago, with its events happening in the year 2199, or 178 years from now, I’ve been fixated around the idea that everything around me is only a computer-simulated program that has been created to enslave the human race. Now comes Mark Zuckerberg with the premise of The Matrix, that we can plug ourselves into a big computer and persist as flesh pods while reality decays around us.
BETWEEN FANTASY AND REALITY
According to a report last week from The Verge, the Facebook chief may soon rebrand his Facebook to “the metaverse.” Since it’s been announced, many viewed it as yet another one of Mark’s fantasies of power, domination, and control.
But regardless of how people coined it, or how Mark Zuckerberg dreamed it, the metaverse still means nothing so far beyond science fiction. Even within sci-fi, it doesn’t mean that much, more than the alternate-reality dreamworld it portrays — a virtual or a parallel reality with goggles or brain implants. Till now, I cannot figure out if we should be inspired by Mark Zuckerberg’s dream or be alarmed by it.
For all I care, the metaverse could be nothing but an aspiring name for nothing but a virtual or augmented-reality game. Let’s not forget that Facebook owns a company called Oculus, which invests heavily in augmented reality. Sure, giving it the name metaverse is probably sexier than goggles, just like “the cloud” sounds better than disk space rental. But what if it turns out to be fundamentally dangerous, with harmful neurological effects that extend outside of it.
What if it’s nothing but a technological fantasy or a science-fictional dream of escape, rather than a place with greener meadows than the soon-to-become old-fashioned social media networks, including Facebook? What if the metaverse is another fictional term for sci-fi trash or space junk? What if the fantasy is bigger than the reality?
We all aspire to live our lives beyond a computer screen, we all want to abandon the atoms for bits, the material for the symbolic, and the realistic for the virtualized. We all dream of a hypothetical matrix or metaverse that would solve all our problems from climate change to political corruption and business monopoly. We’re all looking for a megascale Amazon type of metaverse that would be the black hole of consumption.
As I’m creating this video, a rumor about the rumor about Facebook’s metaversal rebranding is widely circulating: Bloomberg reported that the company already owns meta.com, meta.org, and perhaps dozens of other meta-names, just like it owned facebook.com, mouthbook.com, and nosebook.com — just kidding!
However, there have also been reports that Zuckerberg may be distancing himself from Meta as the name, since it refers to transcendence, something above and beyond everything else, something that hints at superiority, power, and conquest. Why am I not surprised given Mark Zuckerberg’s obsession with Augustus Caesar, Julius Caesar’s great-nephew and adopted son — he even has a similar haircut.
The Metaverse, in a meta sense, also means that it’s “all around us,” the closest thing to a God or a creator or a universe within a universe, or a world within a world within a world.
That’s what the matrix is all about, isn’t it?
MARRYING BOTH VIRTUAL AND PHYSICAL WORLDS
Let’s rewind a little bit, since we’re somehow off-subject, and ask again: What is the metaverse? Better yet, how are we going to experience it?
Is it the nexus point at which the virtual world and the real world intertwin? Is it the convergence of virtually enhanced physical reality and physically persistent virtual space? Or perhaps a fusion of both? Is it something that’s around some distant corner, or is it in reality already all around us?
The answer to that is: “Yes!”
Like the matrix, the metaverse is already upon us. It is not an either/or proposition. The future is more likely to exist somewhere in between the world we know and the virtual frontier. The metaverse will combine those two worlds together. This could be in online gaming or even in business networking. I recently read about one company launching a LinkedIn-style metaverse, where people’s avatars can network, pitch services, and sell products.
The promise of the metaverse is the ability to roam freely between realities or bring the virtual and real worlds together.
Yet, we talk about the metaverse like it’s something that’s about to happen. The truth is, elements of it are already all around us. For now, technological limitations can only take us so far. But between the 2030s and the 2100s, I’m sure we will be able to address those limitations. I’m talking about a future metaverse that marries both virtual and physical worlds instead of being confined to just one.
WILL A “REBRAND” FIX FACEBOOK?
Technology, as you know, is moving fast, too fast, but so are we. “Krisssh-ding-bingding-bing-diiiiinnng!” Do you hear that? that’s the metaverse calling! Is there anybody out there, as the Pink Floyd song says?
This is basically what is happening at Facebook. Mark Zuckerberg’s goliath has horribly mutilated parts of our society. But it is moving on. It wants to be known less for Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp, and more for the “metaverse” — the mix of internet, virtual reality and augmented reality that could create a much more immersive digital experience. According to tech website The Verge, Facebook will make clear its reincarnation this month by unveiling its new corporate name.
A new name! A rebrand!
A whole new world of possibilities will open up for Facebook once the metaverse or whatever other names Mark Zuckerberg will give it becomes a reality. But will it silence the critics? Will the rebrand fix Facebook? I don’t think so! That “disaster”, formerly known as Facebook, will go on making the same mistakes, and nothing will change. The problem doesn’t lie with Facebook, it lies with Mark Zuckerberg and his countless missteps.
When Facebook engaged adults, their posts were politically or socially divisive, even extremist, and mostly nonsense. And when it engaged teenagers, it and its brainchild Instagram damaged their mental health and even made some of them suicidal.
Facebook made $33bn in profit last year from products that could have undermined democracies and mental stability. Its executives put the blame on algorithms and concluded that AI can do all sorts of bad stuff.
But what Mark Zuckerberg and his executives won’t admit is that Facebook makes a delightful but toxic product.
The metaverse promises extraordinary parallel realities, perhaps one in which Facebook is well run. But for now, what the company needs is not a new name and a new identity, it needs a new culture. And the metaverse cannot change that.
Facebook cannot own the metaverse, no one can. At most, Facebook can be the gatekeeper to the metaverse, but it cannot own it — it cannot be “the master of the metaverse”.
A common but mistaken characterization of the metaverse is that it will be the place where all gaming universes will meet. Some of it could be true, but the metaverse is going to be much much bigger than that. And we can only realize how big it is once we see the manifestations of it. And those manifestations won’t be just screens and digital displays interconnected via a network.
The gaming industry is likely to be only a small subset of the Metaverse. While, the metaverse will be the single source of all truths, of all realities, of all manifestations. That’s one reason why Facebook will never own the Metaverse. There can only be one metaverse and not several metaverses. Otherwise, by definition, it won’t be a metaverse.
And although Facebook is big, the metaverse will be bigger. Too big for one single entity, no matter how powerful it is, to control it. The very essence of the metaverse is that it is universal and above all open. To think that Facebook could own it… is a mistake!
The metaverse is going to be for everyone. It is the next stage in the development of the internet.
It is the next… big thing!