Home » Who Wants the Metaverse? – JSTOR Daily

Who Wants the Metaverse? – JSTOR Daily

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No single future is guaranteed. Powerful figures like Facebook/Meta’s Mark Zuckerberg prefer to forget about this and instead accept that he determines our collective future. It’s the vision of the “Metaverse” that we’re pitching to you.But the real origin of the concept of “metaverse” is snow crashis a popular sci-fi novel by Neil Stevenson in 1992 that tells the virtual reality world of Avatars, including the protagonist Hiro. Attempts to build a status for itself. It essentially consisted of the world of the online economy.

Today, virtual reality headsets are equally (but not always) envisioned, but with the added descriptors of “personalized,” “private,” and “fun.” Critics of the Metaverse have a dystopian flavor to Stevenson’s conception when reporting on Facebook’s changes. , points to L. Bob Rife.

Today, everyone from libertarian magnates and anarcho-capitalist cryptocurrency proponents to video game developers and Coca-Cola are enamored with the idea of ​​the Metaverse as an aspiration. The only thing they seem to agree on is to abandon and use the term. What the metaverse actually is, or what it might be in the future, is another matter entirely. At first glance, it seems that any entity can claim a place in the metaverse. It’s appearing in everything from Fortnite and Roblox to augmented reality-powered hologram technology and NFTs. It doesn’t matter how or why for now.

Today, the metaverse is just a trendy prompt for marketing copy. It communicates alignment with the widely-considered ‘future’.

That said, considering the various interdisciplinary approaches to the metaverse since its introduction in the early 1990s has been a question of what versions of the metaverse are currently in circulation, whether this is inevitable, and more. It’s worth helping figure out if you can imagine a good use for it. for this concept. In its simplest sense, the Metaverse is understood as an idea of ​​the future, which can take on a more or less utopian flavor depending on who calls it out.

Let’s start from the beginning. In her 2010 article of hers, “Capsules, Nodules, Ruptures and Flows: Neil Stevenson’s Circulating Subjectivity snow crashLisa Swanstrom describes Stevenson’s Metaverse as “a vast and seemingly borderless ‘place'” that “enables an expansion of the senses despite physical or financial limitations”. . This is Stevenson’s vision in its most promising iteration. Zuckerberg and supporters such as Epic Games CEO Tim Sweeney and his Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella talk about the Metaverse in similarly rosy terms.Zuckerberg last summer called The metaverse is ideally an interoperable “Internet embodied”.

“Even if you’re in a different state, or hundreds of miles apart, you’ll actually feel like you’re in the same place,” he explained, adding: can be part of the same system. So we want to make it as affordable as possible, and we want it to be as uniform as possible. And in his 2016 flashback, Sweeney optimistically opined: If one central corporation takes control of this, it will be more powerful than any government and will be a god on earth. “

In Swanstrom’s analysis, snow crashHowever, she points out that the Metaverse’s network infrastructure is fundamentally isolationist and also raises thorny issues with avatars, particularly those involving race, ethnicity, and other identity roleplaying. I’m doing the “Platonic “Hiro”: Neil Stevenson’s snow crashCarl Boehm initially interprets the metaverse as a solution to the intractable nature of reality. “One of his ways of interpreting the Metaverse as a parallel to Plato’s idealized realm is to see the virtual reality of his reality as the chaos of the novel’s ‘real’ world, which Hiro and the other programmers describe as idealized truths.” to see it as a region that can be replaced by what you see as . orderly state. From the hero Hiro’s point of view, the threat of viruses within the Metaverse alone threatens the desirability of the Metaverse as a space of stability and possibility compared to dead ends in the real world.

Daniel Gracian With less than 1% of the world’s population able to afford hardware online, he said, “Despite its democratic overtures, the Metaverse is still ruled by wealth.” “Never an idyllic or Eden-like” space, the Metaverse is an overcrowded “urban megalopolis runaway,” says Gracian. Still, Hiro and the others prefer that to the horrific reality. Many find ways to stay in the Metaverse forever, even at the cost of their humanity. It is always connected to a mobile device, and it is nicknamed “Gargoyle” because its appearance distorts due to the connection.Naturally, what is important to Grassian is the “future world. snow crash There seems to be a sharp balance between the potential future of environmental collapse and anarchic violence. “

Outside the realm of literary theory, snow crashHowever, in the decades since that book was published, many other scholars have taken up the concept of the Metaverse for a variety of uses, but in general it has been difficult to understand the possibilities and risks of virtual worlds. As a way to From the twentieth century to the twenty-first century.Certainly, as the technology of virtual reality develops, the question of how it will be used and managed was very important. In the 2011 article Usability Design and Psychological Ownership of Virtual Worlds, Younghwa Lee and Andrew NK Chen spoke with video game users. second life We analyzed how they understood “life” in-game through the prism of psychological ownership. A perceived sense of control and self-investment in the virtual world is essential to keep players coming back (Lee and Chen use this to help designers interested in building e-businesses). second lifewas launched in 2003 and remains popular to this day, often compared to Stevenson’s Metaverse. architect I am interested in building a virtual environment.

Also in 2011, Alok R. Chaturvedi, Daniel R. Dolk, and Paul Louis Drnevich similarly published a series of Virtual World Design Principlesspecifically built since the mid-2000s Metaverse Roadmap A project by John Smart, Jamais Cascio and Jerry Paffendorf that brings together academics and other stakeholders to plan a future that exists in “the union of our physical and virtual worlds”, from logistics to everything tried to plan the impact of Transport to artificial intelligence and e-commerce. This year, military strategy study group Even the Metaverse has gone public as part of its concerns about “cognitive advantage” in war.

Legal scholars are also interested in what these worlds will look like and how they will be regulated. Already in 2004, F. Gregory Lastowka and Dan Hunter questioned in their article whether concepts like democratic governance make sense even within the virtual social community.virtual world laws“Currently, the Wikipedia page states “Metaverse Lawhighlights recent concerns about privacy and copyright.and large-scale research International Journal of Information Management We recently brought together more than 40 academics from various disciplines around the world to evaluate the Metaverse.Beyond the hypeIt doesn’t exist yet, but once again points out that debate about its transformative power is inevitable.

The research is comprehensive and includes insights into the potential impact of the Metaverse on the environment, national security, digital work and economy, education, real estate, healthcare, social life, and more. The main point is that researchers like the media seem ready to embrace the metaverse concept envisioned by the big tech giants. However, the premise of the study rests on descriptions of the future as told by companies.

Perhaps this is inevitable. I am writing about these companies now. My own PhD research is focused on untangling the stories told by TikTok, Twitch and Disney as storytellers of the future. But my hope is that these key approaches are aimed at ensuring that we understand that not all “innovations” need to be perfected, but that there are other ways the future can be designed. Blurring the line between physical reality and digital avatars, virtual worlds transform our work and leisure experiences so that they actually benefit us, rather than offering us something. how can we change awkward meeting.

We should ask if the public wants the Metaverse instead of just reacting to what Mark Zuckerberg tells us he wants. conduct I want something like metaverse then We can start talking about what it looks like or should look like. We don’t live in a time when this looks doable, but it is inevitable. At least for now, it’s a shifting concept, a promise, an illusion, an amorphous thing. You don’t have to accept Zuckerberg’s vision of the Metaverse, or Stevenson’s or anyone else’s. Instead, let’s be as bold as they are and imagine our own future.

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