Ross: Metaverse already has its problems, from monetization to groping

Mark Zuckerberg’s 3D Metaverse is moving full speed ahead.

Horizon Worlds, formerly Facebook Horizon, hasn’t done that well yet – a monthly population of only about 300,000 so far – but Meta’s new virtual reality headset will be officially unveiled in a few weeks …  and Zuckerberg is also boosting production values.

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One of the critiques of his Metaverse was that the avatars are only torsos – nothing below the belt.

Although maybe that’s a good thing.

There was a report during beta testing last year of a virtual groping incident, and that other characters actually encouraged it – which prompted Meta to add a “personal boundary” feature giving you the option of creating an invisible force field around your avatar.

Already the Metaverse needs social distancing!

Of course, this implies that the Metaverse actually allows groping behavior. How about designing a pervert filter so you don’t get victimized to begin with?

I suppose law-and-order types could adopt law enforcement avatars and investigate these crimes, but seriously – is any of this a good idea?

2D social media isn’t immersive enough, so now we’re going to strap a fat cell phone over our eyes to join a lawless 3D cartoon universe full of legless torsos who are all lying about who they are?

Actually … that might make a pretty cool Halloween party.

Except, we have to remember: This ultimately means hundreds of millions of our friends and co-workers will be strapping on these headsets.

And I’m sorry, but flailing around and talking to yourself with a Phone stuck to your head doesn’t make you look like you’re experiencing the future. It makes you look like a candidate for involuntary commitment.

I’m not against escapism — for people who are unable to navigate the real world.

I’m not against immersion – getting immersed in my CSPAN app is what makes the elliptical bearable.

But committing yourself to an artificial world and providing all that free eye-movement data so that Meta can hypnotize you into buying stuff?

I saw The Matrix — the original. I remember how difficult and painful it was to get out. So why would anyone voluntarily want in?

Listen to Seattle’s Morning News with Dave Ross and Colleen O’Brien weekday mornings from 5 – 9 a.m. on KIRO Newsradio, 97.3 FM. Subscribe to the podcast here.

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