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Photo by: Antonio Bovino ©

The metaverse is harmless, except when it isn’t

I sit still somewhere in the milky way.  Floating in front of me like a monolith, a screen. I look down and I see a pair of hands typing away in a vacuum. Everywhere else I look I’m only stargazing. My face feels heavy. The words being typed are the words you read.

I am not trying to be poetic or abstract or deep, I’m just writing from inside a newfound reality, you guessed it, I’m writing from inside the latest Mark Zuckerberg’s wet dream.

The process was fairly simple; I borrowed a set of Oculus Quest VR glasses, took the dogs out for a walk, made myself a cup of coffee – black, no sugar- Sat down at my desk, turned on my computer, strapped the headset on, then took it off to take a sip.
 So far I’ve tried oil painting from a lovely terrace overlooking a river to the tune of a spanish guitar. I killed 123 orcs with a bow and arrow; I hovered over the Angel Falls and played the part of a fly on the wall to a velociraptor living through the world’s fifth mass extinction.

This is nothing like Blackmirror. This is fun. It’s fun because I don’t want to stay here forever, It’s fun because I can’t live here, It’s fun because it’s a novelty, a gimmick. It’s harmless, really. Remember those little cardboard 3D glasses that came with the cereal? Think that, but with 350$ less in the bank.
I remember  wearing those glasses, one side green, one side red. You could only use them to watch specifically made pictures and drawings. You’d watch your cute dinosaurs in the back of the cereal box and put them to the side to never be used again. This is exactly that. Everyone needs to stop worrying, everyone needs to let Mark have his fun, everyone needs to relax, there is no way this can go wrong, no way at all. I mean, the moment you put on a pair of these things you just can’t wait to take them off, they are uncomfortable and it’s not like that can be easily fixed, right? Besides, it just doesn’t look good enough, and It’s not like there’s any software out there that can produce photorealistic 3D imagery in real time, right?
That would be just unreal. No, this is just a neat party trick, and it’s not like there’s any previous history of a seemingly inocuos technology that has changed the way we gather information and interact with each other and the world. You need to relax, that’s just sci-fi.

I think companies can kiss goodbye to their dream of having a digital workspace that allows them to reduce spending in infrastructure without sacrificing their ability to monitor employee productivity. I’m sorry Sillicon Valley, this time around we won’t play the apes, to your monolith.

Call me when you can get some work done inside this thing. Call me when you can watch a movie on a big theater screen, when you can play sports with your buddies, call me when you meditate and lose track of time and forget about reality, call me when you can buy digital real estate, or rent out your space for someone to advertise, call me when you can make and spend money, and please call me when you can travel to anywhere in the world and walk through a museum, better yet, call be when you can buy digital art of the walls, call me when you can turn that small home-office in your house, into a multi-screen customizable distraction free space.Call me when you can wake up, take the dogs out for a walk, make yourself a cup of coffee, put on your headset on and sit down and do something simple  like writing and article. In the meantime, this is just harmless, and I guarantee there is nothing to be worried or excited about. Besides, when was the last time something went horribly wrong after blindly trusting Mark?

Disclaimer: The entirety of this article was written in VR, with a pair of Oculus Quest 2, using a software called Immersed.

Photo by: Antonio Bovino ©

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