MONOLOGUE WRITTEN BY CLYDE LEWIS
Last night, Liam and I were up late and so we decided to catch a movie. I wanted to see the new movie, Free Guy because the film was actually about a topic I wanted to touch upon a few weeks ago– the subject is the metaverse.
Many people are unaware of what the metaverse is but it is on the planning and movies like Free Guy are just another form of predictive programming hidden in fun science fiction movies.
The movie was not available to watch at home and so Liam suggested that we watch “Ready Player One.” I only watched it one time in the theaters and so it was yet another film about the metaverse that I thought would give me a little inspiration.
It did so in spades, and I had forgotten just how much I enjoyed that film.
“Ready Player One” offers a glimpse of what many technology companies prophesy is the Internet’s next big thing.
It is about how the future is bleak and how children and some adults immerse themselves in dazzling virtual reality.
The players in the movie strap on headsets, basically a pair of VR eye glasses , and escapes into a trippy virtual universe, dubbed “OASIS.”
A number of sci-fi-inspired tech CEOs say that one day soon, we will all be hanging out in an interactive virtual reality world, complete with games, adventures, shopping and otherworldly offerings, just like the characters in the movie.
Instead of OASIS, they call it the metaverse.
The metaverse is different from today’s virtual reality, where clunky headsets offer siloed experiences and few chances to cross-play with people who own other gadgets. Instead, the metaverse would be a massive communal cyberspace, linking augmented reality and virtual reality together, enabling avatars to hop seamlessly from one activity to the next.
It’s a huge undertaking that would require standardization and cooperation among tech giants, who are not prone to collaborating with competitors — though it hasn’t stopped many from saying the metaverse is just around the corner.
I am sure that Silicon Valley will find a way to cooperate as the technocracy is indicating a future where you will own nothing and love it. The reason appears to be that if reality is bleak — there can be a metaverse that is creates beside our own and all you have to do is plug in –put on your VR goggles and get lost in a world that promises to be an amusement park.
Facebook moved closer to this vision in recent weeks, revealing a virtual reality workspace for remote workers. The company is also working on a smart wristband and VR goggles that project the wearer’s eyes. The company is investing billions of dollars into the effort.
In May, Microsoft said it is “uniquely positioned” with a stack of Artificial Intelligence and mixed reality tools to help companies start developing “metaverse apps today.” A number of gaming companies, including Fortnite’s owner Epic Games, have released simulation software and VR services for a metaverse.
The term was coined by writer Neal Stephenson in the 1992 dystopian novel “Snow Crash.” In it, the metaverse refers to an immersive digital environment where people interact as avatars. The prefix “meta” means beyond and “verse” refers to the universe. Tech companies use the word to describe what comes after the Internet, which may or may not be reliant on VR glasses.
Think of it as an embodied Internet that you’re inside of rather than looking at. This digital realm wouldn’t be limited to devices: Avatars could walk around in cyberspace similar to how people maneuver the physical world, allowing users to interact with people on the other side of the planet as if they’re in the same room.
But for a robust virtual universe, everyone needs to want and afford VR headsets. The technology would need to be stylish and minimal enough to interest more people and sophisticated enough to work seamlessly. That hasn’t happened yet.
In theory, you’d log on to the metaverse similarly to logging on to the Internet. Only you’d use a head-mounted display, not a screen, to view content and a form of motion tracking, like Facebook’s wristband, to grab objects.
To be a full universe, no single company could own the metaverse, similarly to how no one owns the Internet. But companies may try to monopolize their respective corners of the metaverse, just as a handful of large tech companies dominate online content today. Firms could do this similarly to how they make money off apps via subscription services, shopping carts and advertising.
Once you’re able to put on your new AR glasses and you suddenly see these holograms walking around in the world, then you’ll know, you’re now inside of the metaverse.
With so many devices offered by different companies, it’s unclear how a single avatar could move between them. One theory is that the metaverse would pick up cues from web browsers. Just like you can toggle between websites on your smartphone, your avatar might jump between platforms built to be cross-compatible and inclusive.
VR companies say it’s only a matter of time before consumers, already obsessed with social media, will want somewhere new to interact and attract digital likes. A metaverse could allow people tired of photo filters and video editing tools to digitally embody whole new personas and show their creativity or financial status through avatars. It might also drive young people to spend even more time online.
Facebook for years has described its mission as connecting people online, whether it’s through virtual reality, groups on the social networking app or commerce business. Zuckerberg argues that the metaverse is part of the company’s natural evolution, allowing people to move between virtual reality, augmented reality, personal computers and traditional smartphones.
In a more sinister interpretation, a widely used VR device would allow Facebook to call the shots, enabling the social media company to bypass privacy agreements and app store fees charged by Apple and Google.
It has been argued there are elite puppet masters, diabolical people out there somewhere that would love nothing better than to sell your soul. Sometimes we unknowingly make Faustian bargains. With a little dose of hype reality and a bit of repetition, we begin to notice that we tend to make emotional and sometimes bad choices. At times, we wonder why we do it.
We just do it.
Whether we are buying a product, watching a TV show or listening to a song – the things we see or hear affect us on an unconscious level.
We are wading through a sea of propaganda that push products, violence, sex and even occult themes.
The general public is slowly being initiated and sold on ideas that we once considered taboo or immoral. It can be argued that open use of occult symbols, a base thematic, immoral memes and fetishism are luring people towards ideologies that may be damaging them intellectually.
Some will say that this is all part of a sinister conspiracy to beguile the population into falling for the tricks of the trade. The trade of course is mental enslavement and the creators of this manipulation believe that the end justifies the means.
Control is the shared goal of these numerous conspiring individuals, groups, and governments, and in that sense they work together, collaborating here, working individually there, creating an evolving noose of technological expertise that covertly tightens around humanity’s throat. With this goal in place, with money and the tools of advanced technology in hand, the overall program of accomplishment crystallizes.
Technology is slowly molding and shaping our ideas and attitudes about what we are, who we are and in some ways when we are.
In other words in the technological virtual reality, time ceases to exist and we find ourselves questions if we are in a simulation.
The known universe is both frugal and precise in its application. It appears to use basic structures in multiple applications in order to create itself. Scientists are now interested in the structures of life and how it all applies on a quantum level and how consciousness has become the obstacle that breeds uncertainty.
Scientists are trying to figure out exactly what consciousness is. They are also interested in mimicking consciousness in a digital setting by making a universe that simultaneously functioning alongside our reality.
Again we ask if consciousness is simply a product of the brain, or if the brain itself is a receiver of consciousness? If consciousness is not a product of the brain, it would mean that our physical bodies are not necessary for its continuation; that awareness can exist outside our bodies.
Before the recent troubles that we have experienced in the last year — that is, during the previous troubles and the troubles before that there was this popular discussion that was playing off the belief among some tech bigwigs and others that our universe is actually the workings of an elaborate computer program. Reality had become so bizarre, the joke was, it must be the product of glitchy software.
So, it was proposed that perhaps a way to circumvent the tragedy of living — a virtual universe could be created where people can escape all of their problems and live in a virtual world.
Reality would be circumvented and instead of a vacation — people could have a staycation where they do not leave their homes. They simply put on a haptic suit and a set of new eyes and play in a virtual world.
Back in the year 2014, Allison Gopnik wrote an insightful column in The Wall Street Journal, “The Kid Who Wouldn’t Let Go of the Device” In it, she recounted the story of a little girl who was given “The Device” when she was only age 2. “It worked through a powerful and sophisticated optic nerve/brain/mind interface, injecting its content into her cortex. By the time she was 5, she had been utterly swept away into the alternative universe that The Device created.”
Gopnik goes on to recount how the images planted by The Device were more vivid to her than her own memories. As a grown woman, she was addicted to The Device and panicked at the thought that she might have to spend a day without it.
The Device was the printed book.
Even though this was a cute way of demonstrating that books still have appeal in some small groups of society – the reality is something different.
Books are losing to electronic media. High tech has created virtual worlds where are children and some adults are learning from algorithms.
We are developing digital brains with new circuits for skimming as opposed to in-depth reading comprehension. This technique makes for quick browsing for children but it does not promote comprehension.
It doesn’t promote in depth reading nor gives it time to ponder the meaning – it gives an interface with selective key words that run directly into the brain from Neuroswarm 3 nanotech to proposed brain interfaces that have been developed by Elon Musk we are seeing a future take shape that will be mostly virtual.
it will eventually be so real that the brain will not be able to tell the difference.
In the future, there will be no need to read or write — because there will be a virtual metaverse that will do everything for you.
From simple math problems, to self-help and relationships a virtual world will be the place where our children can live without consequences.
It will be the only freedom they will be allowed to have and it will all be a state of mind and never a physical construct — but a mental one as all consciousness will all be whittled down to ones and zeroes.
Electronic game producers spend millions of dollars developing fascinating visual displays to seduce young children. Electronic devices are interactive. This raises the probability of addiction.
It also raises concerns about attention span — the future is here and the plan is to chip the next generation for a virtual reboot into a world that is fraught with all sorts of hyperreality.
If science fiction is telegraphing the future, then it is telling us to be prepared for the digital kingdom come– that kingdom is virtual, a simulation that certainly will be similar to the Matrix or like Oasis that is featured in the film Ready Player One.
At the moment there is a popular film in theaters called Free Guy. It’s a film about a non-player character (NPC) in a video game.
In Free City, the fictitious shooter game at the center of the story, sunglasses are what signify a player: someone who can shoot up a bank, steal a car, face-punch a stranger.
We have all seen this before in movies like “They Live” where it is proposed that we live in a virtual world that has been hidden from us by aliens. The only way to see this world are through specially made glasses.
The players’ eyewear works like in-game augmented reality specs, showing scores, and power-ups. Sunglasses are the lens through which players are meant to experience Free City’s metaverse and decode its mysteries.
There is a running trope about how the eyes must be changed in order to change perception. As Ben Kenobi says to Luke in Star Wars “Your eyes can deceive you don’t trust them.”
The metaverse certainly males him right.
Alan Watts once said “through our eyes, the universe is perceiving itself. Through our ears, the universe is listening to its harmonies. We are the witnesses through which the universe becomes conscious of its glory, of its magnificence.”
The implication here is that we are not distinct from Nature but are very much Nature which somehow has the uncanny ability to observe itself as it unfolds, much as we do with our own lives. Of course, what we see is surely through a glass darkly, clouded by assumptions and limited by our crude tools.
The thing about the internet and the metaverse is that they are one and the same, and yet one operates as a fully realized part of daily life and the other, while currently a buzzword, remains in its infancy. Unlike the dystopian vision Neal Stephenson had in Snow Crash, the conception of the metaverse today—the one Mark Zuckerberg wants Facebook to build—is a virtual and augmented reality full of human connections where people work, work out, play, and make stuff.
It’s a place for NFT art and Ariana Grande concerts in Fortnite, where your headset tells you fun facts about the things you’re looking at.
Uglier versions exist, too, but many modern hopes for the metaverse seem enmeshed in concepts similar to the OASIS in the film Ready Player One. The internet, meanwhile, the bridge to the metaverse, is guarded by trolls and full of misinformation, hate, and misogyny.
At its most dire, it is a place where the thinly veiled dark side of every person is left free to roam and wreak havoc. The internet and the metaverse may exist on the same network, but they often exist on very different planes.
There are no limits to the hyperreal world of augmented reality.
Not only that– there is a question of who is in charge of augmenting reality and to what ends are these masters of this digital kingdom come going to go to shape minds in this artificial reality?
We have already seen what they are doing with Facebook and Twitter — imagine the world and culture that will be shaped in the metaverse.
Will the metaverse further splinter our sense of shared reality? Does it let us sort ourselves into a bunch of unrelated bubbles? Should we be worried about that?
Films and television shows used to be a reflection of who we are, now they guide us and lead us to what the intelligence organizations want us to be. It has changed from a historic record to an oracle for what is to come. Films now are creating pretext for the structuring of human affairs, policies and events.
The film, The Matrix was released just weeks before the Columbine massacre. Like suspects Dylan Kliebold and Eric Harris The character of Neo had no friends and was trained to be a killing machine for a group of outcasts that believed the world was a computer construct.
The Matrix was so effective that it created a mental disorder in people called “Matrix Delusion” where people actually thought they are living in a computer program. The movie “The Truman Show” also was effective in creating a disorder where people believed that they are living in a reality TV show.
If movies are that effective in shaping minds and altering reality, could there be an effect on humans if they are constantly augmenting reality in a hyperreal universe?
We somehow feel that we are distinct from Nature, lifted from the garden in a fall of our own making. We are depicted in literature and art and myth as being at odds with the natural world, trying to tame those forces which seem determined to destroy us as a species. Or, equally adversarial, utilizing the resources of the natural world without regard to limits or consequences.
We tinker with Mother Nature, hoping to improve her, alter her patterns and basic structures to our advantage–we are now just ignoring reality and nature completely or we are trying to reduce reality into some code that can be used with just an emoticon or password.
Fooling the mind with augmented reality may prove to be something that could destroy our cognitive liberty.
We see ourselves as having a moral compass when Nature appears to make no distinction between life and death, right and wrong, war and peace.
We think in terms of goals and direction and raise questions that we believe must have answers.
We are certain there must be universal laws and theories that account for everything and which we must obey. We see time in terms of past, present and future.
We look for meaning and a reason for our being.
The natural world does not. It simply, and elegantly, just is. Beyond time, beyond place, beyond meaning, beyond explanation, it has an order and balance which we envy and seem determined to disrupt.
The metaverse is just one more way that science wants to create its own version of nature, its own universe and its own hyper real world.