A week after the fact, here is the audio version of the last installment: “Notes from the Metaverse.” Ordinarily, the audio version accompanies the essay, but in this case you’re getting it a bit later. Nothing new in this version, so if you’ve already read the essay, feel free to disregard. But for those of you who do prefer listening, here you go, with my apologies for not getting this out sooner.
I will add in this short note that since I posted “Notes from the Metaverse” last week, Facebook and Ray-Ban announced the release of a set of smart-glasses. They don’t do much, at least they appear to have disappointed some. The camera might appear to be their main feature, but, in fact, I’d argue that their main feature is that they manage to look pretty normal and perhaps even stylish depending on your tastes. This, it seems to me, is the point at this juncture. Smart glasses, especially their camera, need to be normalized before they can become critical metaverse infrastructure. In that light, it’s worth noting, too, that the glasses bear absolutely no Facebook branding. We’ll see if they fare any better with the pubic than Google Glass did several years ago. Needless to say, much of the same criticism about the way that a camera enables surreptitious recording, thus more completely objectifying others as fodder for the digital spectacle, applies here as well.