Beyond the Metaverse Hype

Photo by Harry Quan on Unsplash

On March 11, 2022, I was a panelist on The Metaverse: The Emperor’s New Clothes panel at the Vancouver International Privacy & Security Summit’s panel. Nik Badminton set the scene and led a discussion with myself, James Hursthouse and Kharis O’Connell. Here are seven reflections.

  1. Games are a playful way to explore who we are, to process and interact with people in a way we can’t do IRL. Games are a way to try on other identities, to create or adjust our mental map of the world.
  2. Companies won’t protect me. I’m concerned we are not fully aware of the data that can be tracked with VR hardware. From a quantified self perspective, I would love to know more information about myself to be a better human; but I don’t trust companies. Companies will weaponize any scrap of data to manipulate you and I into buying something (advertising), and even believing something that isn’t true (disinformation).
  3. Privacy for all. We need to shift thinking around privacy and security. It’s not something we each should individually have to fight for — for one of us to have privacy, all of us must have privacy. I wrote some longer thoughts in this article.
  4. Capitalism needs Commons. Capitalism can’t exist without a commons to exploit. And commons will dry up if they are not replenished or created anew. So we need to support the continuity and creation of commons. Governments traditionally are in the role of protecting commons. But people can come together to create common technological languages, like technology standards to enable interoperable technology “rails” that pave the way for an open marketplace.
  5. We need new business models. The point of a business model is profit first. This bias has created the current set of problems. In order to solve the world’s problems, we must wean ourselves off profit as the primary objective. I’m not saying that making money isn’t important, it is. But profit at all costs is what has got us into the current set of world problems.
  6. Appreciate the past. I’m worried too much knowledge about how we’ve done things in the past is being lost. But not everything needs to go into the future. Identify what has worked and keep doing it. Identify what hasn’t worked and iterate to improve on it. This is how you help build on the past and contribute to the future.
  7. Things will fail. There is a lot of energy (and money) in the Metaverse, and I don’t see it going away. That said, there will be failures. If the experimentation fails, is that so bad? In order to understand what is possible, we have to venture a bit into the realm of what’s impossible.

Watch the whole video for the thought-provoking conversation.

Thank you to Nik, Kharis, James and everyone at the Vancouver International Privacy & Security Summit!

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President, The Purple Tornado, a strategic intelligence company tracking the future.

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Heather Vescent

Heather Vescent

President, The Purple Tornado, a strategic intelligence company tracking the future.

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