AR Pioneer Warns That Metaverse Could Make “Reality Disappear”

You are about to enter a cyberpunk nightmare.
Dystopian Prediction

A pioneer in AR systems early on has made a dire prediction: The metaverse could alter reality as we know.

Louis Rosenberg, a computer scientist who developed the first functional AR system for the Air Force Research Laboratory, wrote an opinion piece in Big Think this weekend warning that the metaverse, an immersive VR/AR world being developed by The Company Formerly known as Facebook, could lead to what sounds like a cyberpunk dystopia.

Rosenberg stated in his essay that he was concerned about AR's legitimate use by powerful platform providers who will control the infrastructure.

The destruction of reality

Rosenberg is concerned that third-party companies could introduce "paid filter layer" which allows certain users to see particular tags more than real-life people. For instance, these tags could float above the heads of people and give bits of information about them.



He said that the layer is used to tag individuals with flashing words such as 'Alcoholic', 'Immigrant', 'Atheist’ or Racist or even more charged words such as 'Democrat' and 'Republican." The virtual overlays could be used to increase political division, exclude certain groups, or even create hatred and mistrust.

He is also concerned about the possibility that the metaverse could "make reality disappear", by creating a system where people are unable to simply walk away from their devices and have real-world interactions. It is possible that the metaverse will grow to a point where it has an impact on all aspects of our lives, making it nearly impossible for many to simply walk away. Because there would be an AR overlay on everything, we'd all be exposed to any false reality that third-parties may want to present to us.

Rosenberg isn’t the only one concerned. Ethan Zuckerman, director of the Initiative for Digital Infrastructure, University of Massachusetts, wrote an opinion piece in The Atlantic, decrying Faceboo... sorry, Meta’s ambitious project. Zuckerman, who created the first version of the metaverse in 1994, believes that it is poised for more harm than good.

Zuckerman stated that Facebook's promise metaverse was about distracting people from the world it has helped break.



READ MORE: Metaverse: An Augmented Reality inventor warns that it could be worse than social media [Big Thought]

More on metaverse push: Facebook's top VR expert seems to be irritated by the Metaverse push

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