The metaverse will revolutionize your ability to be a jerk.
That rather confusing pitch was made by none other than Facebook (er, Meta) CEO Mark Zuckerberg in a Tuesday interview, published Thursday, with Stratechery’s Ben Thompson. In an attempt to communicate why people should buy into his deeply depressing vision of the metaverse, the clearly oblivious CEO pitched “one of the killer use cases:” texting someone while in the middle of a face-to-face conversation with another person.
That revelatory gem came about as Zuckerberg spoke of augmented reality glasses, which according to the Thursday Facebook Connect presentation, are one of the foundational building blocks of his version of metaverse. With Facebook’s (still in development) AR glasses, the pitch went, you can work or play with holograms representing people physically far away from you via the metaverse.
And, according to Zuckerberg, that’s not all the AR glasses will allow you to do.
Credit: Screenshot: Facebook
“Although I do think that for augmented reality, for example, one of the killer use cases is basically going to be you’re going to have glasses and you’re going to have something like EMG [electromyography] on your wrist,” expounded Zuckerberg, “and you’re going to be able to have a message thread going on when you’re in the middle of a meeting or doing something else and no one else is even going to notice.”
Zuckerberg is saying, in other words, that Facebook AR glasses could one day let you secretly send and receive instant messages. Presumably, those messages would be displayed on the glasses lenses in a way that only the glasses wearer could see. That way, using the fancy Facebook tech, the wearer could discretely message people via a sensor on their wrist while sitting in a meeting, and no attendees would be the wiser.
Which, frankly, sounds dreadful for all involved.
And that’s even before one considers the fact that, yes, people will definitely notice you’re not paying attention to them as your Facebook EMG sensor monitors “electrical motor nerve signals that travel through the wrist” and coverts them to emoji.
But then again, maybe that’s the exact kind of thing Zuckerberg’s long pined for? The ability to be physically or digitally present, but totally mentally tuned into his own private wavelength.
The CEO has never been exactly known for his social awareness. Unfortunately for him, the metaverse doesn’t yet offer reality checks.