Mark Zuckerberg wants us to believe that soon enough, we’ll be connecting to each otehr in the metaverse, a virtual reality in which our avatars will be able to meet in virtual space, have virtual meetings and share virtual experiences. It will seem to us as though we’re really there present in virtual space, and our experience will feel real, even though they won’t be.
But should we believe the hype? And even if virtual reality ends up being as exciting as Zuckerberg wants us to think, should we really trust him and his company to curate a whole new internet for us? If Facebook’s products proved to be masterful distraction machines, designed to keep us online and mine our private data, will the metaverse end up being a version of that on steroids? What is the value and significance of virtual experiences, compared to real ones? And what will be the moral status of virtual acts – like murdering someone’s avatar in the metaverse?
Rami Ali is an assistant professor of philosophy at Lebanese American University in Beirut.
And holds a PhD from the University of Miami in Florida. He works on the phenomenological movement, the philosophy of technology and the philosophy of mind and perception. He is also an avid proponent of virtual reality technology.
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This podcast is created in partnership with The Philosopher, the UK’s longest running public philosophy journal. Check out the autumn issue on Thinking Otherwise: https://www.thephilosopher1923.org
Artwork by Nick Halliday
Music by Rowan Mcilvride