METAVERSE METAVERSE METAVERSE (plus a great cyberpunk reading list)

We’ve been hearing a lot about the “Metaverse” in the last few months, and the conversation has reached somewhat of a fever pitch this week with Facebook announcing an upcoming rebrand to position the company as a “metaverse company”.

The concept of a fully-immersive digital reality isn’t new. This has been a staple of speculative fiction for decades, and we’ve had working hardware since the 90’s. For me personally, the idea that there was a world inside the machine was imprinted on my brain since I was a kid – I had the fortune (misfortune?) of seeing TRON around the same time I got my first personal computer.

Flynn being “scanned” into cyberspace by a malevolent AI that was created by an unethical corporation seeking world domination.

In recent public and private conversations, one important way my thinking has evolved around the concept of the Metaverse is that it isn’t necessarily a full immersive experience (VR). If you think about Metaverse as *any* digitally-mediated experience that you interface with through any device, and certain aspects of that experience are persistent (identity, wallet, etc) things get really interesting. In many ways, most of us have been living in the metaverse since March of 2019. All of this makes it especially sinister that Facebook wants to own this experience… especially since they’ve done such a good job with creating positive outcomes through social networks </sarcasm>.

There is so much more to unpack around this concept – what I have to offer today is a short conversation I had with Dr. Lauren Vargas yesterday, We will certainly be discussing this topic in more depth the coming weeks and months.

Cohere Podcast: METAVERSE! (Bonus episode)

Reading list from the show:

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