Will the Metaverse Replace the Real World?


Please stop there. Read no further. It is a ridiculous question. It deserves a blunt response.

Another metaverse hype piece was promoted into my feed recently with the title of this post. It has to have been click bait to even consider the question on those terms. No matter how much more attractive it might be for corporations to monetise reality in a digital landscape with many human users living, working and interacting, the metaverse isn’t taking over.

How do smell a flower in the metaverse? How do you feel the warmth of the sun? How do you hold a hand, feed a hungry friend or share an unplanned spontaneous moment? The context of interactions in a metaverse may be richer than on a 2D screen. However, it will not be rich enough to be anything but an entertainment or a compromise. Much will be lost.

Most of all we might just lose the random spontaneous poetry of human experience. I’m sure the metaverse will forget to code that in as they maximise the advertising, services and digital asset purchases.

The advocates of these ideas might be surprised by the consequence of trying to gather everyone in a shared ‘real world’ too. Between social separation, exclusion, financial barriers, nations, languages, culture, and more, we aren’t well adjusted to sharing one space. The social media experience has been just a small introduction.

One thought on “Will the Metaverse Replace the Real World?

  1. Exactly! I get irritated with the Metaverse. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not a luddite. Just last Sunday I was in the VR world on roller coasters and then hopped into 360 video to do a walk in Oxford and take a tour of Venice but you know, well, they left me kinda empty. Longing for the real thing. I’d take being there in person any day than being in a universe devised by coders.

    I do get concerned with the introduction of the Metaverse in work contexts. We are already isolated and disengaged enough. Must we hide further?

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