I Am Vainly Begging the Media With Tears in My Eyes Not to Confuse Apple Vision Pro With the Metaverse the Way You Confused Meta With the Metaverse

Metaverse Fact Check Apple Vision Pro

I love waking up to a New York Times story that cheerfully gets three things wrong in just the headline. We’ve been doing variations of this since at least 2021, when Zuckerberg changed Facebook’s name to Meta, announced it was making the Metaverse without clearly defining it, sucking most of the media into a vortex of circular logic where the Metaverse more or less becomes, “Whatever Meta is making — I guess it’s VR like the Quest?”

Please let’s not do this again.

To start from the beginning, the Metaverse is roughly defined this way:

A vast, immersive virtual world simultaneously accessible by millions of users through VR and other devices, highly customizable avatars and powerful experience creation tools. It is integrated with the real world economy and compatible with external technology.

And as I explain in my book, the Metaverse of Neal Stephenson’s Snow Crash is not simply a fanciful obscure science fiction idea, but a direct reference and inspiration to many multiple virtual world platforms and startups.

At a conservative estimate, 600 million people are already active in a metaverse platform which basically fits that definition.

The metaverse industry is thriving so much, it includes a startup founded by Neal Stephenson himself.

Who has since been at pains to explain that no, the Metaverse does not even require AR/VR:

Happily confusing the Metaverse with an VR or AR headset is an amazing act of hubris when the guy who came up with the concept is a very well known person fairly available for media interviews. Then again, the media is also cheerfully confusing what the world’s largest tech company is doing, even when the tech world’s most respect CEO has said on multiple occasions that Apple is not interested in making the Metaverse:

And so on. Maybe most of the media missed this point because Cook said variations of it in obscure French post-modern theory journals like CNBC, Forbes, and the Verge. But it’s out there!

Like I said yesterday, it’s true Apple Vision Pro can be used to access a metaverse platform (not created by Apple), but that’s an entirely different point.

I mean, I guess it’s good timing to tell the true story of the Metaverse. But it’s still mind-boggling and a bit eerie to witness how a flawed narrative can quickly calcify across our media landscape. If we could only somehow consult wsuch obscure personages like one of the world’s most well-known living American authors and the CEO of the world’s largest technology company.

Then again, I hear there’s a new book about all this coming out in a couple weeks.

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