Tony Parisi
Published in
3 min readAug 29, 2023


After glancing sidelong at this important question for the last few years — after all, who would dare look directly into the fire? — I have decided to tackle it head-on. A treatise and a podcast later, I feel like we have framed the question well, and had several enlightening conversations about why it matters.

We Metaverse, it would appear, so that we can connect, communicate and create.

A through line for me is the idea that the progression of Internet technology is an evolution of media types, and as such, we can’t understand where this is all headed without looking at it through the lens of media theory. In other words, the next wave of human communication comes with associated advances in media.

Every day, more and more of our interactions take place online, virtually — rendered to digital media in order to be stored, sent to one another, experienced together, annotated, improved upon; intermediated via digital infrastructure that delivers it to us at our whim.

But these media are not simply ephemeral units of messaging, such as voice and text; they are objects to be experienced, possessed, bought and sold. Virtual goods. Digital artifacts. A book, a song, a photo, a painting… And now, thanks to real-time 3D, these can also be a sculpture, a table, a blow dryer, a dress, a pair of sneakers, and even a space or place… surely more things in heaven and earth than were ever dreamt of — digitally.

And they are not confined to only simulacra of physical things — though being able to walk through a digital twin of a building or interact with a photorealistic 3D model of a product is amazing in itself and has myriad applications. These 3D creations can also be completely fantastical, the stuff of video games, CG movies and such. Dragons, elves, entire worlds with impossible physics. Nearly anything we can imagine. They can mimic the real world, attempt to replace it, or simply enhance it, depending how they are delivered, from fully immersive virtual experiences to mixed and augmented reality enhancing our IRL.

Every day, the tools to create these wonders get cheaper and more powerful; the hardware gets faster; and the creators become more skilled. Add AI to the mix, where whole environments can be created with a few prompts, and soon, we’ll be flooded with amazing 3D content. Digital twins of everything. Millions of synthetic worlds, objects, creatures. Agents and NPCs to cater to our every whim, and keep us company round the clock.

We are the cusp of another breakthrough in media. It’s truly magical!

But as we have learned, magic cuts both ways.

The origin of the word medium is middle — in between.

The very media we use to connect (bind), to communicate (share) — that we create (bring into existence)… they are just that: creations. As verisimilar and compelling as 3D and XR can get, these objects, spaces and characters aren’t the actual things that they are intended to represent. As Joe MacMillan famously said, “It’s not the thing… it’s the thing that gets you to the thing.”

Therein lies the beauty and the danger. We’ve seen what happened with social media. That very thing that promised to connect us nearly tore us apart.

What will happen when all this 3D Metaversey stuff takes hold? Especially when we can bring it into existence with a thought, a few words? Will we be as gods… or will we be further enslaved, trapped by our creations?

Part Two of this series of short posts is here.



Tony Parisi

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