Mark Zuckerberg thinks we all want to live in a virtual world of interactive experiences, wearing VR helmets or futuristic VR fashion eye ware.
Not everyone is buying this vision – including me.
But the other definition of the metaverse involves a revolution in the user interface itself: flat screens with layered windows and icons giving way to 3-D immersive places that you visit, using either augmented-reality glasses or virtual-reality goggles like the Oculus product line that Meta itself sells. Early in his promotional video, Mr. Zuckerberg drops into a metaverse card game with four other colleagues in a simulated space station hovering above Earth. Some participants are cartoon avatars of themselves; one has reimagined himself as a 10-foot-tall robot sporting a green visor.
The same folks that just a few years ago said, “3D TV” died because consumers did not want to wear “3D Goggles” (yes, their name for actual 3D eyeglasses), who said 3D was disorienting and causing headaches and nausea now insist we really want to be wearing VR helmets, cut off reality itself, and interact in a virtualized world of fake experiences.
Metaverse seems like one of those cool ideas that tech people, divorced from reality (bad pun!) dream up and then attempt to force one everyone else. And if you don’t buy in to their vision, it’s because you are out of date, clueless, and likely don’t understand the digital world, at all!
(Disclosure – I have a BS in computer science, an MS in software engineering, an MBA, two U.S. patents, a ham radio license since I was 14, a pilot’s license, I fly drones, I fly a hovercraft, and I have a VR headset. I have worked in Silicon Valley and for Microsoft, plus other tech companies. Clearly, I don’t know anything about tech! I see many practical and valuable applications for VR – but those being promoted heavily right now – like the metaverse – may not survive the test of time without substantial evolution.)