Why The Metaverse Is Laughable
Written by Mike James   
Wednesday, 29 December 2021

If you are a programmer then you probably share many of the opinions in this report. Perhaps not all, but enough to mean that you too can see that the circus show that is the Metaverse is just laughable.

Being involved in technology means that we get to see the great new idea first - we also get to see the ill-conceived shambles that passes for great ideas when people simply run out of ideas. So it is with Mark Zuckerberg and Facebook - no it is now called "Meta". So there you are, young and ambitious and you sort of accidentally invent Facebook, which goes on to be a global phenomenon. You and I both know that Facebook didn't require much in the way of technological advances and indeed most of us could have created it if only we had known that such a huge number of people needed it. 

So after Facebook what do you do for an encore? In Mr Zukerberg's case the answer seems to be "take an old idea and blow it up to the point where you can give it a new and impressive sounding name." Such folly is forgivable, but the fact that so many have jumped on the bandwagon is mystifying. Would I get as many takers if I claimed to have invented perpetual motion? My guess is only if there was the prospect of a lot of money in the realization of the impossible - and I think that there genuinely is.


Were you around when VR was first thought of? I was and it was impressive and a lot of fun, but could it take over the world? No. The need to wear the heavy headset sort of spoils the fun. Over time the headset has grown smaller and better, but it really is no different - users still get neck aches and throw up due to perceptual confusion. We are making progress and there are important, but mostly niche applications, of the technique.

But the metaverse isn't a small or niche application of the idea - it is supposed to be like Facebook, something we use all the time. The idea that the metaverse is an alternative social network and indeed an alternative to reality in many ways is just silly. Perhaps we have seen too many Star Trek episodes which feature the holodeck and imagine that even though this isn't achievable something less might do. The holodeck doesn't depict virtual reality. It depicts an alternative and temporary reality. In it things are just as real, but you can undo everything that happened at a moment's notice. Things in the holodeck can be touched and manipulated and the whole experience is that of 100% reality. A wonderful idea more akin to dream states than virtual reality.

If you don't get what I am trying to express then try the following video which pokes fun at the fact that real reality is cheap, high quality and readily available:

Well you get the idea, even if Iceland really is an alternative reality invented by some very non-standard people.

In fact I'm not really sure the metaverse needs a parody. Any even slightly realistic portrayal of the idea induces that unpleasant feeling where you know you really shouldn't be laughing or feeling the sensations of acute embarrassment in the presence of something deemed to be so serious.

As well as Star Trek I also blame the Matrix - take the red pill mister Zuckerberg... The idea that reality isn't real reality has been doing the rounds of SciFi for ages. None of this is new, but now we don't have HTML 5 as our next best thing but some impossible technolgy with a flawed use case. Oh wait that might fit HTML 5 as well if you throw in CSS...

The point is that we need something to hype - be it .NET, Universal Windows Apps, HTML 5, Progressive Web apps, cryptocurrencies and the block chain and now the front runner is the metaverse - closely followed by Web 3.

So as we look forward to 2022 we can sit back, put on our VR/AR headset and start the new year as we mean to go on - with eye strain and a headache.

Yes, the metaverse is laughable and wins the prize for the stupidest hype-driven technology, possibly of the century...

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Last Updated ( Wednesday, 29 December 2021 )