Zuckerberg’s Metaverse: Technological Revolution Or Dystopian Nightmare?

The company that was at the forefront of the social media revolution now wants to start another one.

Meta (formerly know as Facebook) is on the verge of building an incredible virtual reality world. It’s a world of endless possibilities…

And, a world Facebook controls.

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The company that owns Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp and Occulus is now called Meta Platforms, Inc.

The name change reflects the company’s shift to the “metaverse” a virtual reality space that Meta intends to build.

Meta intends to invest $10 billion in the ‘metaverse’ this year alone.

What Is Metaverse? 

So, what is this exactly?

The metaverse is allegedly a network of virtual communities in the virtual reality and augmented reality space.

Using technology such as ‘VR goggles,’ users will be able to interact with the virtual reality environment and each other.

It is hard to understate its potential. Here’s a short video that shows some of it:

 

Revolutionizing Work, Learning, Travel

There are very few things that the metaverse can’t do.

It could allow doctors to perform operations miles away from their patients, thus making hospital care more accessible.

It has the potential to bring true remote learning and working, with all the advantages of person-to-person communication.

 

The Metaverse could feature real remote offices and classrooms and provide immersive learning and training experiences.

It could also deeply impact the travel and tourism industries. If virtual spaces can perfectly represent real spaces, why even travel?

Social Metaverse

Perhaps, most importantly, the ‘metaverse’ will allow users to interact with each other in that space.

Facebook (now Meta) has been one of the first companies to grasp the importance of the social element in online interactions.

People don’t just need the internet to look up interesting facts or the weather. They are increasingly using it to satisfy their need for social interactions.

Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg recognized that. This has allowed his company to become one of the few big tech companies that reached $1 trillion in valuation. 

However, Meta’s flagship platform Facebook is failing to appeal to young users.

The acquisition of Instagram has helped investors to get exposure to a younger audience. However, Instagram faces strong competition from Snapchat and Tiktok.

Favorability of social media platforms among teens, from marketingcharts.com

Why is that important? Because without young users, the platform has no future.

The metaverse could help Meta win back younger users. Younger users are typically more receptive to new technologies.

However, to make the metaverse a success, Meta will need to bring the public – and regulators on board.

Sci-Fi Dreams Or Dystopian Nightmare? 

First responses by the public were mixed, at best.

Social media users were not shy in pointing out the potential dystopian elements of virtual reality.

While the metaverse has a huge potential, it also has a dark side.

 

Many of the critics believe that the metaverse will make users detached from reality.

Many users pointed out the parallels between the metaverse and the popular dystopian sci-fi show Black Mirror.

The show explored several techno-dystopian themes, including some that closely resemble Zuckerberg’s vision.

China’s recent restrictions on online gaming and bipartisan calls to break up Facebook (now Meta) show that this criticism should not be taken lightly.

However, it is still likely that the metaverse is going forward, despite the (potentially legitimate) concerns.

However, whether those concerns are justified or not, it’s beyond doubt that one company dominating the space would be dangerous.

Zuckerberg seems to be trying to do just that.

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