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    I met someone who loves Meta’s metaverse and now my eyes won’t shut

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    Zorika Nastasic/Getty Images

    You don't really expect a big surprise on Tuesday night, do you?

    Tuesday night is a slight improvement over Monday night, and Monday night is usually not very pretty.

    However, my wife and I were having dinner at the restaurant on Tuesday night with one of our friends and his friend from out of town. We had never met her before.

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    Everything was perfectly cheerful for a Tuesday night. We discussed the usual personal foibles, sociopolitical grievances, and deeply held feelings about linguine vs. spaghetti.

    But then word came from another planet.

    love from different generations

    I don't know how this topic came up, but out of the blue a friend of a friend, a female millennial, said this. She said, “I love the Metaverse.''

    Chances are your Tuesday night is different than mine. But if there's one thing I'm not expecting, it's that. To be honest, I've yet to hear anyone say they like the Metaverse. Perhaps this just suggests that you need to go out more, find new friends or discover a whole new virtual world.

    Still, to some people, the exclamation “I love the Metaverse” may sound like “Wow, I miss Google Glass” or “I respect the infinite humanity of all technology leaders.” not.

    So I had to ask what made this woman so sincerely passionate. Naturally, I was wondering if she was interacting with some super cool nerdy people who, in her real life, are all die-hard followers. Naturally, I had made a grotesque mistake.

    “My father's partner bought an Oculus for his grandchildren. They didn't want it, so he gave it to me to try. I love it,” she said.

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    Did she say grandchild? Did she say that some teenagers weren't interested, but adults in the prime of their intellect were? I was a little confused.

    So why did she love Oculus so much? (She always called it “Oculus”. Now it's a metaquest.)

    “I love disappearing into it,” she said. “I love exploring all these new worlds and meeting new people there. I love being able to share things with my friends in those worlds.”

    She continued to express unbridled enthusiasm, but then received further evidence.

    The next day, my friend sent me a photo of a hypnotized friend wearing a mask and clearly experiencing some mid-level nirvana.

    Also, the Metaverse has effectively disappeared.Here's why generative AI is to blame

    open your eyes

    Of course, this was an eye-opener for me.

    I'm not attracted to things that are shoved into my head. I think crash helmets are claustrophobic. So the idea of ​​wearing a mask to get out of this world doesn't cheer me up as much as, say, a well-made linguine vongole.

    Still, meeting someone with such enthusiasm for her Oculus/Meta mask is a confrontation with a changing reality, one that Apple clearly wants to capitalize on. vision pro.

    Related article: I tried Meta's Quest 3 VR headset and the mixed reality experience was next level

    Meta changed its company name entirely from Facebook and committed to the Metaverse. claim that Apple is ready to enter this fast-paced space.

    But are there really that many people in the Metaverse? I've always imagined that there aren't that many, but as my colleague David Gewirtz recently reported, on Black Friday, the Meta Quest 3 will replace Apple's AirPods. exceeded.

    There are some people who want to escape from this world – perhaps a growing number. For them, quests are everyday adventures to other lands, without the hassle of travel plans or big expenses.

    a Meta Quest 2 costs just $249. It represents a more basic Android-like attitude to Apple's flashy pretensions.

    But when a friend of a friend described how wearing a headset wasn't a nuisance, it was a complete interruption to her life, and I couldn't help but wonder about the changing world.

    power of extinction

    In this context, it's hard not to think about the power and prevalence of loneliness. The Internet has made it very tempting to disappear inside and not appear for hours. The pandemic has exacerbated the feeling of confinement, both mentally and physically isolating for many.

    For some reason, travel agencies are now Focusing on creating trips that connect lonely people.

    Perhaps the true power of the Metaverse is that, like the best vacations, disappearing into the Metaverse is absolute. Or as absolute as you can get from where you're stuck (or feel). Put on the mask and you disappear.

    Also: Can AI curb loneliness in older adults? This robot companion proves it's possible

    Yes, Meta focuses on mixed forms of metaverse reality. That is, the real world is still there, but with a (perhaps more exciting) virtual world layered on top of it. But a friend of a friend of mine claimed to love it precisely because of its all-encompassing nature. She doesn't want her reality mixed up. She wants to get out of there.

    I might worry that many people get far more joy and affirmation in the digital world than in the so-called real world, but a friend of a friend of mine simply loves Quest. It's just that. For her, it will provide another life for a while.

    Who among us hears a friend of a friend happily say, “My grandma loves Oculus, too,'' and wonders what the (real) world is like?

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