The Metaverse: A brave, new (virtual) world

If we accept the premise that on the Internet “if you’re not paying, you’re the product”, in the Metaverse you will become a walking — talking billboard.

Micaela Mantegna
Jun 10 · 7 min read
The Metaverse, art by the author of this post under license by PicMonkey.

Intro: Video games now

Amongst the changes that “lockdowns” and “new normality” have brought, there is a revalorization of digital interactions as valuable and meaningful. Ironically, what was once regarded as isolationist or a poor substitute for “real life” (an expression used as an interchangeable semantic proxy for “in-person”) experiences, has become the glue that holds the social fabric together.

“Metaverse/s” and virtual worlds

The term Metaverse is attributed to Neal Stephenson and his book Snow Crash, a novel about a protagonist (actually, a Hiro Protagonist) interacting in a persistent, immersive, shared, virtual world.

“Neal Stephenson — Snow Crash” by RA.AZ is licensed under CC BY 2.0
  • synchronicity; with events happening in real-time or a shared time-scale
  • interconnection: allowing the transition between several virtual worlds (relevant questions here will be about the portability of digital goods from one world to another, and if they will remain functional)
  • persistent, implying that events will take place at its pace no matter whether the person remains or not logged; and that they can`t probably be reset or modified (as in loading a saved game)
  • virtual/ immersive; being a digital representation that sets the Metaverse apart from AR interfaces that add layers of extended meanings and content to the physical world.
  • collective and shared; as in virtual worlds populated by other beings ( question remains if human, artificial, or both)
The Matrix, one of the cornerstones of simulation narratives.

Berkman Klein Center Collection

Insights from the Berkman Klein community about how…

Berkman Klein Center Collection

Insights from the Berkman Klein community about how technology affects our lives (Opinions expressed reflect the beliefs of individual authors and not the Berkman Klein Center as an institution.)

Micaela Mantegna

Written by

Abogamer. Video Game Policy, Generative AI, ethics and copyright researcher. @BKCHarvard Affiliate.

Berkman Klein Center Collection

Insights from the Berkman Klein community about how technology affects our lives (Opinions expressed reflect the beliefs of individual authors and not the Berkman Klein Center as an institution.)