Tech

Google's Ex-CEO Warns of the Dangers of Facebook's Metaverse

What does a metaverse mean to human culture?
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Remember when Twitter users trolled Facebook and Mark Zuckerberg for Meta’s eerie similarities to Black Mirror? Well, it looks like a former Google CEO is joining the critic's crowd. 

Facebook is officially rebranding its corporate name to Meta to emphasize the company’s shift toward bringing virtual realities to life—and to dissociate itself from all the controversies and legal cases in Facebook’s wake. However, Google’s ex-CEO Eric Schmidt warns users that Mark Zuckerberg’s Meta isn’t as benign as it seems. Just a few months ago, Schmidt publicly said that social media is an “amplifier for idiots,” and now, he suggests that Meta might only make it worse. To Schmidt, this obsession with the metaverse could just worsen our already toxic behavior online. 

“All of the people who talk about metaverses are talking about worlds that are more satisfying than the current world—you’re richer, more handsome, more beautiful, more powerful, faster,” Schmidt said to The New York Times. 

“So, in some years, people will choose to spend more time with their goggles on in the metaverse. And who gets to set the rules? The world will become more digital than physical. And that’s not necessarily the best thing for human society.”

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Some tech giants like Elon Musk have warned about the dangers of artificial intelligence to warfare, technology, and conflict, but Schmidt points out how AI could change culture just as drastically—and just as detrimentally. 

“It will be everywhere,” said Schmidt. “What does an A.I.-enabled best friend look like, especially to a child? What does A.I.-enabled war look like? Does A.I. perceive aspects of reality that we don’t? Is it possible that A.I. will see things that humans cannot comprehend?”

Of course, the online world has become integral during worldwide quarantine as millions shifted work and even leisure online. But despite this massive move to digital, Meta does present an important question: Is the digital world where we’re supposed to stay?

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Anri Ichimura
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