Tony Parisi
Published in
2 min readOct 17, 2023


Understanding Media. Again.

Image: Wikipedia

So, what do we think? Are we stuck gazing at ourselves in the digital mirror forever? Or will we break through?

Our computers get faster, our networks smarter, and our media more realistic. What is this new phase we are entering? What happens after postmodernism? Are we becoming postmaterial? (ask @LarryRosenthal).

How does instant communication, instant commerce, effortless creation change us? On the regular, technology has vaporized distance (book stores, video stores, retail)… and with the Metaverse, we’re vaporizing space as well (cf Robert Tercek Robert Tercek), creating virtual places which our virtual bodies can inhabit.

I hate to bring in a tired old chestnut, but it’s Marshall McLuhan time. We’ve spent the last 30 years building what he foresaw. His prediction that “borderless electronic media would undermine the nation-state” is finally coming about: social media breaking mass media into enclaves and echo chambers; web3 providing technical infrastructure and economic rails that will circumvent fiat money and enable micro- communities worldwide.

The birth of the Internet brought renewed interest in McLuhan, as now we had not only interactive media but media that enabled bilateral communication. TV didn’t trivialize us as he originally suggested; but the Internet ultimately did. Here’s a Times article from over twenty years ago, after he had long passed. Even back then, people were looking back fondly on his prescience.

And now, more than ever, I see how spot-on he was. Who needs the Star Trek transporter, if space can come to you? The Internet obliterated distance, and VR will render space irrelevant soon enough.

And how will this change us?

Singularity, here we come? Kurzweil has been dead wrong more than he’s been right (ask indi.ca she wrote a fantastic piece on this), so it might not shape up as he has envisionied, but I do think we’re headed for something…

I got into this nearly three decades ago with an image already burned into my brain: Princess Leia on the tabletop in the original Star Wars film. For years I was trying to make it happen.

We’re getting close to building the holodeck. We’re not there yet. And all this tech could give us superpowers — or it could be the ultimate yoke. Like frogs in a pot… will we even see it coming?


But I’m not actually saying anything new here. Frater Mark Pesce laid it all years ago. Just years early. But I think it’s just around the corner now.

Medium? Interface? Virus? IYKYK.



Tony Parisi

Metaverse OG. Entrepreneur. Investor. Co-Creator, VRML & glTF. Head of XR Ads/E-Commerce, Unity Technologies. Pre-apocalyptic author. Music. @auradeluxe