What is the Metaverse? Media hype? A Zuckerberg Ruse? Let’s explore…

hey everybody it’s la inside and it’s time once again for your weekly wrap-up and yes i’m sick again this time with a cold but we’re going to get through it today we’re going to discuss though one of my pet peeves of late which is this metaverse madness this ruse by mark zuckerberg has been totally adopted by wall street and the media and now tech companies are using it as well this tweet the other day or this notification from the new york times referred to the activision blizzard acquisition as a metaverse play when in fact it was really just in the gaming world and as you’ll see in a few minutes microsoft actually used that language to bait the media so we are going to discuss this topic in more detail and what the metaverse maybe could be but why it is really just going to be more of the same here on the internet let’s get to it [Music] so i wanted to unpack why the metaverse word caught on so quickly here in the media and i think what really happened here is that they often assign words to things that they don’t understand and if you look back in time we used to call the internet cyberspace and i think you can associate now metaverse as the new cyberspace i found this article back in 1994 when the commercial internet was first becoming available to people and you can see all of the buzzwords here in one spot this is from 1994 in the new york times and the headline reads classes in cyberspace and high school students are speeding along the information super highway before many adults quite understand what it is and i think this kind of sums it up in a nutshell as to how the media approaches technology issues that they really don’t have a solid

understanding on and i think mark zuckerberg very smartly understood this when he renamed facebook to meta and declared that they’re going to create this virtual reality that we’re all going to be living in nobody’s going to do that we all know that but zuckerberg kind of realized that if they pivot a little bit here and throw out a new buzzword maybe the media will stop talking about all the bad things facebook has been doing to us out here in society and this was right around the time that this whistleblower was testifying to congress about all the awful things that the company was doing and zuckerberg was looking at facebook stock value plummeting even though tech stocks were riding pretty high at that point and you can see right when they announced this pivot to metaverse or meta the stock kind of leveled out and they were able to kind of stem some of the bleeding and the media largely stopped talking about all these negatives and suddenly was all about the metaverse and how we’re going to be living in vr which by the way was what the media was saying we would be doing back in the early 90s when we were talking about cyberspace guess what it never happened but if you look at the pr machines at major corporations they’re kind of kind of latching onto this term so if you look at the microsoft announcement about the activision blizzard deal you can see they’re actually using metaverse in the headline here or at least in the quote for satya nadala about why they’re making this purchase and just about every major media organization grabbed that word and used it even though it doesn’t mean anything and if you look at microsoft and vr the company has largely been anti-vr the prior edition of the xbox was fully capable of doing some basic vr as the sony playstation was but they never wanted to go there they still don’t have any plans to go to vr so it just doesn’t match up with what zuckerberg has defined as metaverse but meanwhile the media has just attached this word to everything internet and gaming and other things if you look at the financial press they think the metaverse is all about nfts and cryptocurrency it just doesn’t mean anything to anyone really they’re

just applying this word randomly and it got the media off of zuckerberg’s back which i think is what his mission here was all about in renaming his company i don’t know how many more chances he gets to rename himself but it seems to have worked quite successfully here and at the end of the day facebook is a pretty stale company they don’t have anything new to offer they’re trying to jump into this vr and ar space so i want to dive into some of the headwinds here that facebook or meta is going to be facing trying to get us all to live in vr and these headwinds are actually best defined by a facebook employee or a contractor john carmack who’s been working very heavily on the oculus quest and of course was one of the original developers of doom this guy is one of the smartest people on the planet especially when it comes to 3d interactive environments he’s been doing it forever and it’s really fun to listen to him talk about this kind of stuff and during his keynote the day they were announcing the metaverse he says that you know i care about the metaverse and he buys into the vision but he added during his statement here that i’ve been pretty actively arguing against every single metaverse effort that we’ve tried to spin up internally in the company from even pre-acquisition times and that was referring to the acquisition of oculus by facebook and carmax says i have pretty good reasons to believe that setting out to build the metaverse is not actually the best way to wind up with the metaverse and he’s absolutely right about this because even though there are some big players on the internet of course

no single entity controls this network it is largely driven by users and the fact that all these cryptocurrencies have kind of bubbled up from nowhere is a good example of that but everything else on the internet kind of bubbled up in the same way it’s not something that has a central control point and i think the biggest issue that i see with meta’s future here is that they’re trying to become the central control point for what the future will be and that’s just not how this works and beyond the philosophical we have a practical issue which is that people largely don’t like having electronics strapped to their head especially in public playstation creator ken kataragi was interviewed recently by bloomberg and he puts it best when he says that headsets would isolate you from the real world and i can’t agree with that headsets are simply annoying and this notion of ar headsets for the real world has been tried before almost a decade ago by google through their google glass program and they rolled this out with a really compelling video here of how this might work where you’re walking to the subway and it’s suspended so you can get a route here and you would be taken there just by having some stuff overlaid on top of what you were seeing with your eyes and this sounded like a great idea but the problem was is that just about everybody wearing it looked kind of ridiculous as you can see here from my video review of google glass that i did at the time you can look that up at glass to actually see it and this was not kind of a side project for google they invested a lot in this product it felt very mature even though it

wasn’t very practical when you went to buy google glass you had to be approved to buy it and they had these pickup locations throughout the united states i went to the one in new york city at chelsea market and they had somebody there who would walk you through getting it set up kind of train you as to how to use it they wanted this to launch the right way they wanted people who were buying this product to really understand how it works before they papoo’d the idea this was a video that i shot from my google glass it would shoot 720p video and i went into the city with my buddy steve to pick it up and this is the place where you got it what you can’t see in this image was how many people were working there and how many people were walking around with these google glass things on their head it was like you walked into this sci-fi dystopia and i think they were kind of offended that when i got my bag to leave that i didn’t walk out with my glass on my head and that’s because i just didn’t feel comfortable walking around in public with this thing strapped to my head one i didn’t want to get mugged in new york city because these things were selling for quite a bit on ebay at the time but more importantly i just again didn’t feel all that comfortable wearing this in public and another issue that i found came out of this was that even when you were using glass you were

detached from who you were talking to look at how my eyes are changing their gaze when i’m interacting with the glass i’m looking up because the screen was not in my direct field of vision it was located just slightly above my field of vision so if i was talking to somebody and some piece of information came in or some notification popped up they would know that i wasn’t paying attention to them anymore because i wasn’t looking directly at their eyes and i think that was one of the biggest problems with this because you know when you get a message on your cell phone it’s kind of rude to be talking to somebody and then just go to your phone and tap away at it this was very similar in that it was very obvious that you were interacting with something other than the person you were talking to now i did try to use google glass for several weeks and what i found over the course of using it is that it was always in the way whether i needed it or not and that smart watches actually did what google glass was supposed to do better and back in the fall i went to new york city for example and i was surprised by just how good transit directions have gotten not only on the phone but also on watches so for example i was typing in the locations that i wanted to go to on my smartphone it would communicate with my apple watch here and then direct me to the subway station tell me which train to get on and in many instances it would actually tell me when to get off the

train and what was really cool is i could pay my subway fare using my apple watch as well just using the apple pay and this experience is something that you would get working on an apple watch but also on one of the android watches out there too and it really felt like that video from nine years ago about what augmented reality would be like and meanwhile i didn’t have some intrusive piece of technology that was always on top of me even when i didn’t need it and a wristwatch is something that i think we’re all accustomed to using and when i needed to look at it it would tell me hey something’s coming up that you need to pay attention to but after that the watch faded back into the background and continued to monitor my health and my location and i think this is the better way to go for augmenting your reality at this point by not taking you out of the reality but really just monitoring your presence in it but of course the metaverse hype train is still a thing and wall street is wondering what uh companies are doing to meet this demand for an augmented reality future so it looks like google is going to try again with something called project iris according to rs technica but this time they’re going to look like ski goggles which i don’t think is going to do much better than the device they had before apple is also rumored to

be working on something related to augmented or virtual reality also and of course they’ve got some really powerful power efficient chips that might make for a fun vr headset but again i just don’t see people walking around with these glasses all day long but there are some instances where ar is very useful boeing for example has been testing augmented reality in the factory to help guide workers to fix things without having to take out manuals that detach them from what they’re looking at you can actually project virtually what to be looking for i’m thinking also with things like in the office when the copy machine jams up you can get augmented reality to help you figure out where you need to go to get that paper out of there to get your copier running again that could be a useful use of augmented reality and of course pilots have been using augmented reality for quite a while now the heads-up display on fighter jets and now on the 787s gives pilots very useful information without having to look back down at their instruments they can keep an eye on things when they’re landing for example and focus their attention where it needs to be and get information layered on top now this is not an augmented reality technology just yet but i think it could be adapted to one tesla’s full self driving system actually does some really interesting stuff beyond just driving your car because it

basically is interpreting what it is seeing around it and looking for danger and i could see a system where you don’t get this visualization on your windshield but what if a pedestrian happens to be walking on the side of the road maybe it could highlight the location of that pedestrian or tell you when a deer might be about to cross the street or something to give the driver a heads up that hey there’s something that i’m seeing in the world that you need to be aware of and those are the sorts of things where i think ar could be very useful but it’s not again something that i think people are just going to envelop themselves in 24 7.

And of course a great use case and one that i’m a big fan of is gaming and the oculus quest 2 is a fantastic piece of hardware what’s great about it is that it works standalone but now it’s working really well as a wireless pc headset just over your wi-fi and if you haven’t tried an oculus quest yet give it a shot it’s a very immersive experience and one that you really can’t appreciate from watching videos on youtube you really got to put one of these things on and get a feel for how the 3d immersion works on these things it’s really compelling and sometimes it often feels like the holodeck when i’ve got it hooked up to my gaming pc and they will be seeing some competition from sony because the playstation is going to have a new vr headset for the playstation 5 console which of course is much more powerful than the playstation 4. so there’s going to be more investment in the gaming space because i do think there’s an opportunity to grow the market there but this notion that we’re somehow all going to be living in mark zuckerberg’s virtual reality is something that is not only frightening it’s also very unlikely because i don’t think people are going to want to walk around with headsets and cameras strapped to their head 24 7.

At least most people won’t and whatever the future will be it will happen organically just as everything else has happened on the internet in the past so when you hear the media talking about metaverse take it with a grain of salt and really metaverse equals cyberspace or the information superhighway or perhaps more simply the internet now this week’s wrap-up is being brought to you as always by all of you and i want to thank a super chatter keith robinson for making a contribution during one of our live streams the other day i also want to thank miguel hamrall who became a new supporter on the channel through my donor box page and if you want to support the channel you can you can go to lawn dot tv support and make a monthly or a one-time contribution to the channel we also support float plane the youtube membership program and patreon so if you want to help the channel there’s plenty of ways to do that we have a lot of other places you can find me including my amazon page at lawn dot tv slash amazon shop where you’ll find my live streams and many of the videos that i produce here on this channel ad free so definitely check out amazon if you’re looking for some ad free reviews of products and we have some other ways to engage with the channel including my very infrequent email list the facebook group and the discord are both pretty active places to connect with me and fans of the show and then we have my store at lawn dot tv store where i sell previously reviewed items that i purchased to review here on the channel and i’m now getting rid of so you can often get a good deal on something but there’s only one of everything because it is the actual item that i reviewed here on the table and i have an email alert that’s separate from my other email list that you can subscribe to anytime i add something to the store i push out an alert so you can be notified when something you’re looking for pops up on there and that is going to do it for this week’s weekly wrap-up i’m going to go back into the real reality and have some lunch now thank you all for your continued support of the channel let me know what you’d like to see down in the comments below in the future and until next time this is lon simon thanks for watching this channel is brought to you by supporters including gold level supporters jim tannis and tom albrecht hot sauce and video games and eric’s variety channel brian parker and frank goldman amda brown and matt zagaya and chris alegretta if you want to help the channel you can by contributing as little as a dollar a month head over to lawn dot tv support to learn more and don’t forget to subscribe

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