I don't imagine myself spending big dollars to buy a clunky contraption to put on my head so that I can play at being a legless cartoon in a cartoon landscape.

I don't know what I envisioned that Zuckerberg had in mind when he rebranded, but this wasn't what I expected.

I can't begin to fathom where a billion dollars a month is going. How does any IT business spend that much every four weeks on a new development? This isn't a pill to cure cancer. And after all, they saved money by doing away with legs.

Years ago I had a brief experience with virtual reality, and it was spectacular. The possibilities have stayed with me. While in VR I visited Africa, and I spent time floating way out in space. It was an extraordinary 360 degree experience, and there were no cartoons, purely direct experience, no avatar stands in for the user, the user is there, in the scene. What happened to the educational and entertainment potential of VR? I thought it would be huge by now, but it went nowhere.

The Meta virtual world is cheesy, it's visually designed for children. It doesn't seem to be aimed at any particular market or to have a defined purpose. It exists only because they built it. Even the developers don't care for it, which is damning.

Zuckerberg is late to the AI game. He's going to have to choose where to keep pouring that billion dollars a month. He made the wrong bet, and he's not taking corrective action. Fail early, but don't prolonge it.

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It’s already a ghost so far as I’m concerned. Dumped it a couple years ago and haven’t missed it. I have sympathy for those losing their jobs, but none for the founder.

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I’m not surprised. This is a guy who only had one good idea, ever, his entire life (and possibly stole it from others to begin with) and got insanely lucky with it. I never saw him as a fount of constant innovations like Jobs or Bezos or Gates etc. Aside from all that he also seems like a major humorless douche. So this crash and burn has been fun to watch.

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How many people looked at the internet and asked "but what if it were 3D"? The AI gambit makes a ton of sense...let me be even lazier than I am and not even think anymore...but web3D is "how can I not be real anymore"...what a wild leap to assume mass adoption for adoption of unreality...like branding LSD pepsi and hoping it sticks...

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re PLATO: I went to the U of I for 5 1/2 years, leaving with an M.S. in Computer Science. My entire contact with PLATO all that time was as a subject in a Psych 100 experiment. We never saw those people at the Digital Computer Lab. They had their own building and they kept to themselves.

Another friend of mine had ONE class that was taught on it. The consensus on the internet-history mailing list is, they didn't contribute much at all to the growth of the Internet.

I don't think it died for being too far ahead of its time -- it died because they just didn't know how to network and promote themselves.

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I remember Palm Pilots. Talk about a walk down memory lane. Too bad they came at the wrong time, perhaps smartphones would have become more of a business tool in their maker's hands than a substitute for basic brain functions and social life. I'm glad the English language now has the word schadenfreude, because I'm ready to enjoy every minute of FB's collapse. Got out when I still could, and back then they made it very hard to find the delete profile button. Had to search for it on Google.

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I've been working and playing in Second Life for over 16 years. We've always had legs and progressively more realistic avatar bodies from the very beginning. They've had peaks and valleys in usership, but for the last 10 years or so you could always find something like 30 to 50 thousand concurrent users at any given time. Corporate and educational entities have had a difficult time figuring out how to use virtual worlds because they have just tried to replicate real life. Classrooms with desks and a lecturer in front with a screen doing PowerPoint presentations. The people are successful are those who understand what it's like to experience the corporeality of a personal avatar. To actually feel like you're in the space. And that doesn't require special equipment beyond a decent PC and bandwidth. (Goggles are cool, but they are inherently isolated from real life, which is not healthy.) And what is often transformative is the realization that everything you see was created by other users and is constantly changing. SL has had a viable peer to peer marketplace with secure transactions from nearly the beginning. No need to fuss with Blockchains. You can create highly sophisticated objects (cars, boats, planes, houses, clothing, trees, all kinds of interactive gadgets), which people can buy, sell or give away. A lot of people are making an actual living doing this. But almost no one is there expecting to make a lot of money. They're there to hang out with interesting people from around the world doing amazing things in amazing places. It's not for everyone, which is part of its appeal. If you can figure out how to get comfortable in a virtual body, the possibilities are endless. Those of us who have spent years developing relationships in virtual worlds that already exist think Meta is laughable and utterly lacking in imagination.

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The Zuck seems like one of the big tech zombies behind the entire dystopia we now live in. One of the poster boys for this apocalypse. No sympathy and less patience with such humans.

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Schadenfreude is usually fun when it involves a loathsome person, but aren’t you missing the bigger story? Why does society allow a financial system where oligarchs can indulge every whim using investor dollars? The Zuckster gets to play with his metaverse even if the majority of shareholders don’t want it because the Zuckster has the magic shares to let him override what every other shareholder and director might think best for the company.

Things were bad a century ago when oligarchs like Hearst could get away with using company money to build their fantasy castles. Today they don’t even have to cook the books; they simply create a corporate structure that suckers-in investors to buy common shares (Remember when being a shareholder meant you owned a fraction of the company?) and keep all, or most, of the shares with special voting privileges for themselves. This is not much different than having a constitutional monarchy but without the constitution. Nobody is forced to buy shares. But the traditional means of saving for retirement are nearly extinct, and so ordinary people have little choice but to get into the stock market

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Great analysis, thank you. When metaverse was first announced I was underwhelmed, because it seemed to me a solution looking for a problem. I thought the same about Second Life. Even the one or two VR things I've tried suffer either from a lack of anything useful or interesting to actually , with them, or the expense, or both.

Your examples of tech that came too early were very good. Twenty years ago I worked with a tech guy where I worked to develop a means whereby my colleagues could update notes and access their calendars while visiting clients. It was a massive time saver, but never caught on because it was years ahead of its time. Now, if course, anyone can do all that with their smartphones. Economics textbooks tend to be quiet about this, but being first to create a new type of product or service is not always desirable.

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I've worked on the current iteration of VR, and one thing that most people don't mention is the nausea problem. So not only do you have an expensive, unwieldy device strapped to your head, you're about to toss your cookies.

Gee, thanks?

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First, I refuse to call Facebook "Meta." The pretentiousness of Meta leads me to think why it's a failure: Zuckerberg has zero emotional intelligence, and his business acumen reflects this, and why nobody will use it, talk about it or care. Emotional intelligence is what makes anything worthwhile--and even Facebook, which started out as a way to rate college women, evolved to a place where relationships could be nurtured through friends and family despite horrible practices that don't serve the customer (which is reflected in its losses of customers). As Peter Drucker said, the purpose of a business is to create more customers, not to make money. You can only do that with some emotional intelligence!

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Mar 16·edited Mar 16

I wrote a extensive glossary of technical terms for my students many years ago.

Here is my definition of "Virtual Reality:"

An oxymoron, or expression of speech that includes words or roots having mutually contradictory meanings. The word oxymoron has roots "oxy" meaning sharp, and "moros" meaning dull (from which we derive the word "moron," moron). Reality is apparently rooted in politics, economics, and especially physics.

When there are no potatoes to eat, a virtual representation of a potato will prove to provide negligible sustenance–no matter how "real" it might seem. Virtual displays, sound synthesis software, and associated virtual modules have great utility, but the notion of "virtuality reality" depends solely on quixotic reflexive suppositions.

When there really are no potatoes to eat, couch potatoes sitting before video display terminals (VDT), and those wearing "virtual reality helmets" looking for a meal will truly be in dire straits (with apologies to Mark Knopfler). Seek your reality elsewhere, grasshopper. Use your ears–not your eyes.

Semicircular canals inside one's head play a primary role in our sense of balance and are smarter than your foolish eyes. If your eyes fly around–but your ears don't–it can make you vomit!

And, while you are at it, produce some real music, defined to me by Bob Moog as " . . . music that earns some real money."

Uh, I doubt if my students even looked up from their video devices . . .

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They can use some AI engine to populate their virtual world with bots!

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Facebook was an app that you could look at whenever it was convenient to you. If you had to let the dog out, or wipe up after the kid, you could do that and it wouldn't really affect your FB experience.

VR can be very powerful when person-to-person, but it demands real-time attention. And that's on top of the big cost of equipment. So there needs to be a compelling experience there, too. However, the experience looks generic and boring.

I think this VR thing is going to work much better as a small-to-big thing. Start with games with just a couple people in them, or a dozen. Give them a good experience that's worth devoting some time to - maybe make it half-hour chunks?-and those people having good experiences will pull other people in.

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I’ve dumped all ‘centric’ corporate-owned social media, including Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter in particular. It was the ‘enshittification’ of these platforms that promulgated my move.

Switched over to Mastodon, which has gotten a lot easier to use and never looked back. I’ve had a ton more interaction than I ever did on Facebook or the others and I recommend you check it out. Decentralized, non-corporate social media is the way to go.

PS: Facebook may get a reprieve if the government bans TikTok. Will be interesting to see. Hoping they all go to Mastodon! Check out Ivory or Ice Cubes on iOS or M1/2Mac and sign up. You can follow me at https://vmst.io/@drrjv

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