The dangers of Zuckerberg's metaverse

Beware of the experience machine

 Facebook’s latest project, the metaverse, promises a future of virtual realities and experiences beyond the constraints of the physical world. But a thought experiment by Robert Nozick provides a cautionary tale for why we should be wary of stepping into simulated realities. Living a virtual life, no matter how full of novel experiences, success, and pleasure, is not as fulfilling as it might sound. And even if we occasionally like to give in to the allure of fantasy, we should be cautious about entering a universe curated by a company accused of putting profits over the wellbeing of its users. The metaverse might be the ultimate distraction machine, from the company’s troubles and from what we most care about, writes Peter West.

 

If you’ve been living in the real world for the last week or so, you’ll no doubt be aware that Facebook (now ‘Meta’) CEO Mark Zuckerberg has been making a lot of noise about something he calls the ‘metaverse’. By e

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Baruch Fishman 6 November 2021

Very interesting ideas. Since "experience" is nothing but a construction in people's brains of sensory information, it is possible that a complete set of curtated inputs from all the sensors will be indistinguishable from "reality". So the distinction between feeling 'like' I am with my friend and feeling 'that' I am in my friend only applies during the time when the simulation is far from perfect.

But we could have far more interesting philosophical discussion if the writer refrained from injecting biased reflexive condemnations of Meta and it's founder. It is not the responsibility of corporations to impose a morality. This is the job of governments, and therefore a political issue fundamentally.