This is a slightly tongue in cheek, almost sarcastic post about a topic that i know many (including myself) will disagree with. Nevertheless, as paradoxical as it may be, here is what i think about the idea of humanity entering what we now call the Metaverse, or a virtual world that either integrates or even replaces the natural world that we have all grown up in. Let me explain!
I'm sure everyone has noticed the prevalence of mobile smart phones and how they have changed the way we live, interact, and communicate in oh so many ways. I can still remember, like it was yesterday, when I bought and tried my first android tablet..the Samsung Galaxy Tab 2. I was sitting in a hotel room in Madurai, India in around 2011. Within about 30 minutes of use I had a huge wave of intense feelings overwhelm me.. I was having an epiphany, much like i had when i discovered the Internet in 1995, but this time the feeling much more intense!
It's hard to explain but i knew that once we all had one of these units humanity would never be the same. It was the ultimate combination of incredible usability, that touch screen was just too compelling and fun to use. Then having notifications come to me was a revelation! Until that point in time we all had to go to every website we used and manually check if we had anything that needed our attention. This was a game changer because no longer did we have to keep checking and wondering if we had missed something, and instead we would be told once there was something for us. This would save us so much time, or would it!? Finally the app store, another game changer, such a subtle difference to using software, and yet again it changed the way we used programs and our ability to find and obtain new ones.
I think its fair to say that today humanity has now become not only dependant on smart phones but also quite addicted to them too. Smart phone use has been steadily increasing year on year, and today as I walk down small rural and even very poor areas of many countries like india, gone are the days when they simple sit there watching the world go by.. even they are now looking down, crooked neck, and have entered the virtual world with their cell phone portals.
The other day it really hit home as i had two small, but interesting experiences. The first was whilst i was at a very nice hotel in Thailand. I went to the reception desk, which was a small desk with just one man sitting there 'attending to it'. I approached the counter and stood there, noticing that the member of staff looked busy engaged in something. I peered over the desk a little and realised he was just sitting there staring blankly into his phone, getting his dopamine hits for the day. He was totally oblivious to me standing there, but rather than make some noise to distract him i thought i would just see how long it would take for him to notice me. I moved a bit so that maybe he would realise in his peripheral vision, but nope.. no signs of life. I waited, and waited a full three minutes. Nothing. Finally a clerk on the opposite side of the reception room noticed and called out to him. Finally he got the message and looked up. He was back! lol!
THen a few days ago i was sat at the beach in a restaurant / bar admiring the sea views and having a drink. Sunset was approaching and it was the perfect spot really to enjoy it. Now dont get me wrong, i am also a phone addict, but what i realised when i looked around was that virtually EVERY single person was just glued to their phones.. It wasn't like they just picked em up for a minute to check something.. they were all just scrolling infinitely, as we do, probably through an infinite number if inane instagram feeds or the like, perfectly tweaked by those smart algorithms to keep us viewing.. Oh how WELL they work! WOW! I think the only time i saw anyone not staring at their phones was when they ate something, or someone else was taking a photograph of them enjoying their time. It seems to me that a good holiday location today means a comfortable spot to be able to use your phone!
As i looked around 360 degrees all i saw was people and couples like this. Look how in love they are?! I wonder if they ever had a good chat!? lol
And then it dawned on me.
WE are already there really, most people are living their lives on the internet, or the metaverse.. only right now its quite cumbersome and very unfriendly to our eyes, our necks, and our poor backs. WE no longer look at each other much, and as soon as conversation stops the phones either take our attention with new alerts, or else we just play with them endlessly.
I realised that in fact, why the heck not just have everyone plugged in to a virtual world. I think most of the people wouldn't even care or notice if they just had this experience through incredibly good virtual reality systems. They would save a fortune, have exactly the same experience to the extent that most people were not really utilising this real world opportunity very much, and most importantly they could start looking UP again! IF we all had virtual contact lenses, or whatever technology it may be, we could start really looking at our world and each other again! I think that if we were plugged in to a virtual beach scene we would be lapping up the views and really taking in the high definition scenery with gasps of amazement! Wowww we would say, its SO beautiful, amazing! We wouldn't even have to take pictures as the whole trip and scene would be automatically documented and saved to our virtual worlds.. Others could even watch in real time and join us!
I know i know, its a scary and weird idea.. im with you there.. Personally i dont think i would ever choose to have a holiday that way, but i do think that as time and technology progresses we are very soon going to be there! ITs almost like people arent interested in the real world any more, and whilst that may be a bit sad in a way, the world of virtual reality is just about to hit us as hard as smartphones have.
The ONLY reason we are not there yet is because the technology is not ready yet. Right now VR goggles are large cumbersome and uncomfortable devices that look stupid and weigh your head down.. BUt soon, very soon indeed, we will have other things like contact lenses or brain implants, and they will totally change the game. When we look at someone we will know anything we wish about them, before they can even open their mouths! WE can even decide who we would wish to speak with because we would know the interests and much more about everybody in the room.
So, i say, come on folks.. lets just give it up and stop trying to resist the inevitable... ( he says biting his tongue!)
Our children, and our children's children are going to be plugged in, teched up, and totally living in a virtual world quicker than you can say VR! Its already happened really, and all we need now is the real tech to liberate us from our terribly hard to use keyboards and touchscreens.. Finally one day, i hope soon, we will be able to sit up straight again!
Into infinity and beyond!!! Hopefully well all have a choice at least ;)