You Are Already in the Metaverse

This piece was originally published in Unherd.


The metaverse is going to change everything. And it’s already here. But what the hell is it?

In 2021, it seemed that every major technology executive took a stance on the metaverse, a new concept for the internet. Mark Zuckerberg went so far as to change his company’s name from “Facebook” to “Meta” and massively reorient its research spending towards a 3D virtual reality future. And yet, the concept of the metaverse remained notoriously inchoate.

Matthew Ball’s new book, The Metaverse: And How it Will Revolutionize Everything, is an admirably clear and thorough introduction to what the metaverse is, what technologies will build it, and why we are heading there. What it isn’t, especially, is persuasive. If you came in sceptical that the metaverse is the future, you’ll find little to change your mind. Ball’s description of the kinds of thing you will do in the metaverse sounds very similar to what you would expect a virtual reality booster to say: entertainment! games! interactive education! socialising!

What this fails to convey is what the future will feel like. The engineers and entrepreneurs building the metaverse are understandably excited. They know we are on the cusp of something profound. But by putting the focus on the technology and on the obvious, but trivial, use-cases, they sell themselves short.

Click here to read the full piece in Unherd.

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