In a booth at Ted’s Fish Fry, in Troy, New York, my friend Daniel Beck and I sketched out our plans for the metaverse. It was November 1994, just as the graphical web was becoming a thing, and we thought that the 3-D web could be just a few tweaks down the road. In our version of the metaverse, a server would track the identity of objects and their location in virtual space, but you’d render the objects locally, loaded to your hard drive off of a CD-ROM.
So, after watching metaverses spring up and crumble for 27 years, and after building one myself, I feel fairly well equipped to offer context for what Mark Zuckerberg is trying to do with his firm’s pivot to “Meta.”
Zuckerberg isn’t building the metaverse because he has a remarkable new vision of how things could be. There’s not an original thought in his video, including the business model. Thirty-eight minutes in, Zuckerberg gets serious, talking about how humbling the past few years have been for him and his business. Remember, he’s not humbled by the problem of Russian disinformation, or the spread of anti-vax misinformation, or the challenge of how Instagram affects teen body image. No, he’s humbled by how hard it is to fight against Apple and Google.
Facebook can claim originality in at least one thing. Its combination of scale and irresponsibility has unleashed a set of diverse and fascinating sociopolitical challenges that it will take lawmakers, scholars, and activists at least a generation to fix.
So in summary, Facebook (Meta) could again be unleashing something they have no way of managing, and will likely create all sorts of new issues for them... Even VR already exists for Second Life, but no doubt Meta will make it popular now.
Read his full text at Hey, Facebook, I Made a Metaverse 27 Years Ago
It was terrible then, and it’s terrible now.