Note — May 30, 2021

The Worlds to Come

Seen in → No.175

Source → nwsh.substack.com/p/the-worlds-to-come

At New World Same Humans (great name!), David Mattin considers Snap’s new Spectacles and associated AR apps, and extrapolates what they might evolve into, user-generated shared worlds, frames the creation of worlds as the next phase of media, and compares this stage of AR to the radical early days of the web.

The early web parallel is probably apt. Which means that, just as Fortnite - Roblox - Minecraft can be seen as the early prototypes of some aspects of the Metaverse, perhaps these Spectacles and AR can be another.
(Although I’m aware that the overlapping of worlds and physical reality is not part of everyone’s definition of the Metaverse.)

According to some reports, Apple is getting closer to releasing something in the same space. That was almost blinking in my mind like a neon sign as I was watching the Snap demo: this is the shitty MP3 player from 2-3 years before the first iPod came out. Even though it’s pretty cool, there’s no way Apple releases something like this. When / if they do, it will be head and shoulders above, or they won’t launch. (Sorry for doing their marketing for them, but you know it’s true!)

We are meaning-making animals. We construct complex representations – both of the world around us and our ideas about that world – and share them with one another. It’s what sets us apart from other creatures. It accounts for our dominion over this planet. You can build a strong case for the idea that it’s this, above all, that makes us human. […]

The answer is worlds. The next step in our journey towards ever more sophisticated representations is to build immersive worlds that we can inhabit just as we do the world around us. […]

That is to say: our representations of the world become worlds of their own. Or to put it yet another way, the boundaries that separate our representations from reality itself start to fade away.