An AI-generated image of two people holding hands, standing on the edge of a cliff, overlooking a futuristic, utopian city, which is emerging from the center of a tropical valley.
Made with Stable Diffusion. Prompt: “two people holding hands, standing on edge of a cliff, overlooking futuristic utopian city emerging from the center of a tropical valley with tall buildings. planets in the distant sky. sun shining. dramatic lighting. cinematic. massive scale. highly detailed. light fog. Artstation. colorful. high saturation.”

Fictional Reality: Why the Real Metaverse Doesn’t Require a Headset

AI is letting us live out alternative realities on the digital platforms where we already spend our time

What is reality?

A venn diagram defining reality as the overlap of one’s Identity, Relationships, and Experiences.
Reality: the overlap of our identity, relationships, and experiences

Enter Fictional Reality

A chart that shows the different ways whichReality and Fictional Reality are different from one another across Identity, Relationships, and Experiences.
Reality vs. Fictional Reality

Your fictional identity

Side by side images of a selfie of Michael Mignano next to a fictionalized version of Michael Mignano generated by the app Lensa.
From left: nerdy IRL me, interplanetary warrior me (made with Lensa)

Your fictional relationships

A screenshot of a human chatting with ChatGPT, a AI language model built by OpenAI. They are discussing free will and planning.
A conversation with OpenAI’s ChatGPT
A Discord conversation between a human being and an AI-powered NPC.
A human chatting with a Circle Labs-powered “shape” on Discord

Your fictional experiences

A screenshot from World of Warcraft
A screenshot of World of Warcraft. Courtesy of dailyinvention under CC:
Mascot app, for iOS and Android

What’s next?



Lightspeed Venture Partners is a multi-stage venture capital firm focused on accelerating disruptive innovations and trends in the Enterprise, Consumer, Health and Fintech sectors. Lightspeed manages $18 Billion, and has helped build 500+ companies over the past two decades.

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Michael Mignano

Partner, Lightspeed. Co-Founder, Anchor. Angel investor to 50+ startups. Former head of talk audio at Spotify.