meta vs multi

via Todd Richmond

As Facebook tries to rebrand itself and own the multiverse, there are some pretty deep concepts that require our attention. The multiverse is not a new concept – it is typically pegged to Snow Crash, but you can trace it even further back to Baudrillard. It is now back in the public eye due in-part to Facebook. But beyond building a persistent virtual reality where one can be bombarded with ads ad infinitum (ala Hyper Reality), what impact will the metaverse have on the “real world.”?

The answer is plenty, and we’ve already seen examples of the metaverse over the past few decades (e.g. the internet, social media platforms, etc). We clearly don’t have a handle on current low-fi versions of the metaverse, so how can we hope to understand and regulate the hi-res, fully immersive version(s)?

Having a conceptual model that is understandable is a good start. Models that are relatable can serve as a platform for experimentation into better understanding of things that are complex and inherently not easily grokked. Some years back I came up with the “egg yolk” explanation for the problems humans experience in an increasingly digital world. My TedX talk laid the foundation, then further refinement of the model, and more importantly, the language to explain it, led to the emulsional worlds concept.

Some of our current work will be to explore possible “grand unification theories” for the analog-digital conundrum. While theory and practice can often be at odds with each other, the goal here is to create a theory that allows for coherent experimentation, and again, perhaps more importantly, craft language that allows non-experts to understand the concepts and why they are important.

At the core of the new conceptual understanding is working with the metaverse along with the multiverse. We think there may be some interesting relationships between the two and how things will play out from a social and policy perspective in our increasingly virtual existence. Still in the very early stages, but the question of meta vs multi will help frame our exploration. Will Rick and Morty hold the key? Maybe – perhaps the central finite curve is the answer. Or more likely, part of the problem.

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