The virtual reality conceived by Zuckerberg makes the first “victims” –

from Massimo Gaggi

People getting injured in the living room while boxing with viewers, violent avatars targeting women. New platforms develop out of control

Lauren lovingly cared for her husband, Taylor, when, at their home in Florida, he injured his hand by slashing his hand while fighting in a boxing match in virtual reality. Immersed in a fantasy world thanks to a digital viewer, but blind to material reality, threw a mighty punch against a steel frame. Lauren was far less understanding when, a few weeks later, Taylor broke a crystal vase Playing tennis, always in the living room, in virtual reality: an invitation to move to a real gym has inevitably arrived.

Gorilla syndrome

Of stories like this the Wall Street Journal
, like other American newspapers, tells a lot of them: the excitement provoked by the announcement – made a few months ago by Mark Zuckerberg – of the next entry of humanity into the era of the Metaverse, has pushed millions of lovers especially of video games to experiment with the possibilities offered by viewers like Meta-Facebook’s Oculus. Their unregulated use is causing, for example, epidemics of gorilla arm syndrome
(joint pain caused by too much time spent with arms raised). But if Jake Masters’ awkwardness can make you smile, that in Charlotte (North Carolina) dislocated a collarbone while slashing in the real world while in the virtual one he fought with his bare hands against a tiger in the Colosseum of ancient Rome, chilling what happened to a woman who in Great Britain, entered with her avatar in the virtual game Horizon Worlds just put on the market by Meta, was virtually assaulted, raped and insulted with phrases like you admit you actually like it from four male avatars. A shock for this woman who is certainly not digitally naive, given that she is vice president, with responsibility for research on the Metaverse, of a company of virtual technologies, Kabuni Ventures.

The pastors of virtual churches

No one knows yet if and how this sort of reincarnation of the Internet will materialize in which physical and digital reality will intertwine inextricably, giving life to a new virtual reality in which each of us should be able to exist when and where he wants. A ubiquity that many cannot even conceive of. It is even difficult to talk about it, and politics is hard to understand. Thus the activities that should become constituent parts of the Metaverse continue to develop out of control. Up to the pastors who, like DJ Soto in Pennsylvania, build virtual churches, b.

Justified skepticism

News that do not impress the many who do not believe in the birth of a totally virtual parallel world in which, as Zuckerberg argues, we will play, work, shop and cultivate our social relationships, through our avatars. This skepticism is more than justified: Facebook founder launches the Metaverse challenge to shift attention from the severe political and social damage caused by his social networks and because his companies’ profitability, based on advertising, has plummeted since Apple gave users of his iPhones can block the transfer of their personal data to digital companies: hence the need, for Zuckerberg, to invent a new business model. That not said it works.

Too many sensors

For Jaron Lanier, a technologist and artist who knows virtual reality since he was the one who conducted the first experiments since the 1980s, Zuckerberg is an illusion: There is nowhere to put all the necessary sensors and digital displays. for total immersion in digital reality. But he too, who now works for Microsoft, is aiming for the Metaverse, albeit in a less ambitious version: made of augmented reality rather than virtual and focused on workcorporate meetings, medical and surgical interventions.

Super apps and new aggregations

Even Scott Galloway, professor at New York University and technology guru, convinced that Zuckerberg has entered a dead end: for Galloway the Oculus headset will never be as popular as an iPhone or AirPods headphones. And even if the Facebook founder were successful, he would be up against all the other big tech groups: If he could really control our social relationships and interactions with politics he would become a scientific god. And the idea of ​​a god named Zuckerberg terrifies everyone. According to the academician it is more probable that dominated aggregations will form not from companies we no longer trust like social media but from aseptic companies such as those that manage payment systems (such as PayPal) which, intertwining with companies in the world of information and video games, create super app: platforms able to offer the user an endless array of services, even in augmented and virtual reality, keeping them for a long time in a sort of full immersion: China already has something similar with WeChat that allows users to pay their bills and find a soul mate, call a cab and process a divorce.

Digital bullying

Even if we don’t live in a totally virtual world, the Internet and networks will evolve. Unregulated social media have wreaked havoc. Not studying the new virtual worlds in time, not introducing minimal ethical constraints, means exposing oneself to social pathologies – from digital bullying to the difficulty of finding one’s own identity and building balanced interpersonal relationships in a world of ever-changing avatars – much more insidious than those. that we have known so far in the age of the web.

February 11, 2022 (change February 11, 2022 | 23:31)

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