The metaverse is more like a concept or idea rather than an actual piece of technology. As a household name, Meta has decided to turn this into a reality, a virtual one. The metaverse does have its red flags, with some critics voicing their concerns that this could be the opening of a pandora's box, with untold horrors in store.
Some Foreboding Warnings
As soon as Mark Zuckerberg and Meta (formerly Facebook) began announcing their next major project, creating their metaverse, the questions started pouring in fast. This new initiative brought many questions, curiosity, and even more opinions; Louis Rosenberg was one of those critics.
As a prolific investor in the world's first function augmented reality (AR) system, he's afraid that the metaverse could lead users to have a distorted sense of reality. This terrifying change that the metaverse could cause people everywhere to be unable to differentiate between their real lives and this augmented reality universe.
Meta hopes to pour billions and billions of dollars into its metaverse, where users could attend virtual concerts and experience a different world. Many big-name firms such as Nvidia, Microsoft, and Epic declared to make independent metaverses.
As a writer for Big Think, Rosenberg states, "I find this terrifying. That is because augmented reality will fundamentally change all aspects of society and not necessarily in a good way." Rosenberg writes while also expressing concern over powerful platform providers controlling the metaverse infrastructure.
Many experts, much like Rosenberg, feel that they're wary about the potential negative impact this could have on society, especially when it comes to matters around harassment; AR is a deadly weapon. This trillion-dollar bet isn't without its red flags; with so many people asking if Meta is ready as it has many ongoing problems, the future will tell whether they can handle it all.
Possibility of Distorting Reality
Rosenberg truly fears that AR will likely aggravate existing issues relating to the internet, somewhat like pouring gasoline on a fire. One Stanford alumni stated that AR makes it incredibly easy for anyone to view your personal information.
This technology will lead to a deadly combination between a fundamental distortion of reality and the potential for stalking and harassment. Rosenberg argues that the world could quickly lead us down a rabbit hole that could lead to unimaginable problems and horrors, full of toxicity and harassment.
For example, imagine you're walking down the street wearing an AR headset (yes, some people do this) and seeing other people at virtual coffee shops and restaurants. This user can quickly identify each person they come across, seeing their personal information from political affiliations, name, hobbies, or where they work. Issues around personal privacy and protection against abuse could be rampant problems in this new immersive world.
Users are pushed to smaller and smaller world bubbles, viewing only customized content and ads unique to their taste, causing the average person to lose touch with reality. If this is what the metaverse holds in the future for us, we should all be gravely concerned.
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