Metaverse - Are We Being "Zucked" by Mark Again??
An Unnatural Absence From Life
"One of the most powerful companies in human history is planning to trap us in virtual reality." These are the words of Capitol Hill journalist and political commentator, Emily Jashinsky. Jashinsky made this announcement in November 2021 after Mark Zuckerberg announced his intention to rebrand Face Book as Meta.
The glitz and glamor of technology in our times has blinded many of us to the double-edged sword nature of theses technologies and how they may be used to entrap us. Anyone old enough to remember vinyl 45 records will recall the two sides being labeled respectively "A" and "B". While the A side offered the most sizzling tune of the day, more often than not the B side contained music not nearly as pleasing or desirous to the listener. This analogy can be aptly applied to technology today; while the A side of our gadgets and social media platforms is cool and exciting there is a B side. Unfortunately, just like the B side of that 45 vinyl record, nobody wants to hear it. Nobody wants to listen.
Zuckerberg's vision for Meta is to build an "embodied" virtual reality platform "spanning social presence, office work, and entertainment" (Mark in the Metaverse, theverge.com, July 22, 2021). Zuckerberg further describes his venture into Metaverse as, "...helping people deliver and experience a much stronger sense of presence with the people they care about. . He states, "I don't think that this is about being engaged with the internet more. I think it's about being engaged more naturally". Zuckerberg uses the words present or presence at least twelve times in the article and natural or naturally at least eight. Using familiar and comforting terms in a convoluted and twisted fashion, Zuckerberg is attempting to sell us on the "coolness" of being present in an artificial digital space while being absent in the organic real world.
In his description of Meta, Zuckerberg blurs the lines between real and unreal, truth and lies, facts and fiction. This is dangerous Orwellian doublespeak that belies the planned decline of human-to-human interaction which allows us to be truly present and natural as social beings. As people spend more and more time in this unnatural virtual space, churches, schools, work places and other social venues will gradually vanish. Our only interactions with each other will be via digital electronic media. Metaverse, with all Zuckerberg's contorted promises will in actuality severe us from living life in the natural world present with each other.
One of the earliest pioneers of virtual reality, Jason Lanier, himself a prominent critic of social media companies which he refers to as “behavior modification empires”, gives a contrasting view on virtual reality versus the real world:
We take what we have for granted so easily. But if you’ve spent some time in virtual reality and then you go into a real forest, I think you’re able to love that forest in a more visceral way than is readily apparent otherwise...Just looking at someone else’s face is astonishing after you’ve been in virtual reality for a while (The Metaverse: Expectations vs Reality, New York Times, November 11, 2021)
As much as we may love to hear the soothing melodies fed to us by tech jockeys like Zuckerberg - spinning the A side if you will - the B side is real and should not be ignored. It's better to wake up now to the cold hard truth than suffer the consequences later. The truth is that there are self-serving, malicious powerful entities who's greed for even more power and control overrides any sense of morality or obligation to do no harm. The truth is that technology can and is being used for their nefarious causes to entrap and control human beings. The truth is the forecasters of this dystopian future like Emily Jashinsky and others who have been paying attention are neither delusional or conspiracy theorists in their attempts to warn you. The truth is if you choose to ignore and not listen to the B side, in the end you will be dancing to that music whether you like it or not.
"One of the most powerful companies in human history is planning to trap us in virtual reality."- Emily Jashinsky, 2021