Jack Dorsey, the former overlord of the blue bird dunking bonanza that is Twitter, unsurprisingly has opinions on VR. In a recent interview discussing VR's effects on humanity as a whole, it seems there's something dark lurking in the back of his mind. His words are tainted by visions of a future akin to that of Pixar's Wall-E, and I'll be damned if I haven't had the same intrusive, dystopian thoughts from time to time.
"That's the future we're driving towards, with everyone in the floating chairs drinking their food out of straws and constant 24/7 entertainment. You can see that the whole world is headed this way", Dorsey tells interviewers of the Breaking Points YouTube channel (via The Byte).
His comments follow Apple's recent Vision Pro announcement, and while it's hard to envision a future in which everyone has the disposable income to drop $3,500 on a VR headset, it seems the air is still somewhat saturated with all that potential metaverse malarkey.
"I'm super worried and concerned with how out of touch it might make people, and how it distances us even further", Dorsey notes.
It's a concern shared by Meta CEO Mark Zuckerburg, too, who seemed taken aback by the fact that every Apple Vision Pro VR demo "was a person sitting on a couch by themself."
Dorsey actually opened up with, "If you want to understand the future of any technology just read science fiction. They're actually the roadmap writers, and it's obvious that Snow Crash, this book from Neil Stevenson, is going to happen."
Snow Crash, being the book that coined the term metaverse, is filled with net running, hacking, and naked, virus-spreading avatar ladies. It's a highly privatised, franchised, and digitised world, where even the US president's identity has faded into obscurity.
I think all that may be going a little far, though he's right about sci-fi writers laying out the road map in a vague sense. It's something I've been noticing recently as the Torment Nexus opens up around us, and the fears around privatisation are partly why I'm on board with Dorsey's other comments.
"The most important thing to me is that we have open-source models," he says, talking about artificially intelligent large language models (LLMs). "You know I've critiqued Facebook and Mark Zuckerberg for most of my career, but I really respect the fact that he chose to open-source his large language model."
Lets just hope the rest of Zuck's plans don't involve us drinking our dinners through tubes while we metaverse it up.