DGST 395

DGST 395 Week 2

This week we talked all about the metaverse and digital platforms that emphasize connections through the internet.

The internet has evolved a lot since it’s commercial introduction but from the start its emphasis was on connections between people. With the popularity of email people could communicate from all over the world. Now people can communicate even faster with instant messaging and social media.

The interesting thing with Neal Stephenson’s book Snow Crash is that it kind of shows a scenario of what the internet and online connections could become far before we had the technological abilities to. I think emphasizes a lot of the important factors that make up the internet today and back then. On the internet you can talk to anyone at any moment but at the same time you can be totally anonymous, for good or for evil this is a aspect of the internet that has always been present. The other thing that Stephenson shows is the push of commercialism on the internet. In Snow Crash the virtual world of the metaverse is built like a urban city and it’s riddled with huge billboards and ads. This is just the same as the internet now with things like popup ads and YouTube ads. Also it shows how you can pretty much do most things that you do in real life just by sitting down in your room on a computer or a VR headset in this case.

With Mark Zuckerberg’s introduction of his metaverse one could think that it could be heading for the same direction. Currently Zuckerberg’s metaverse seems pretty pointless to me. For the most part its main function is a continuation on online connections and other activities already available on the internet without a VR headset. I saw a video for the metaverse of someone shopping at virtual Walmart and putting things in their virtual shopping cart and all I could think is what is the point. I could easily go to the Walmart website and order the same products in an even easier and faster manner. Also with things like socializing I guess it’s cool to see someone’s avatar rather than their still profile picture and blocks of text but isn’t things like facetime and Skype good enough? Even if you really want to socialize with people in a VR setting games like VRchat are free and provide a fun way to socialize with people in that setting without control by Zuck.

I think that the concept of the metaverse created by Zuckerberg is very much a commercial project with the aim to create something that seems like the next big thing in order to trick everyone into getting on it early and then getting a huge audience that can’t escape their ads. If anything this is not the next big thing for technology it seems to be the next big thing for commercialism. Despite this, I don’t think VR is pointless but outside of videogames and training for dangerous jobs, no really useful application for VR has been presented to us at the moment.

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