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Making a metaverse that matters | Wagner James Au interview/podcast


Jul 19, 2023
Making a metaverse that matters | Wagner James Au interview/podcast


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Wagner James Au has been covering the idea of the metaverse for decades. He was the first embedded journalist inside the world of Second Life, the early virtual world from Linden Lab. And now he’s back with his own book about the metaverse, the universe of virtual worlds that are all interconnected, like in novels such as Snow Crash and Ready Player One

The book, Making a Metaverse That Matters: From Snow Crash & Second Life to A Virtual World Worth Fighting For, debuted this month from Wiley and you can find it here and on Amazon. Au’s book is a kind of spiritual sequel of his earlier titles, The Making of Second Life and Game Design Secrets.

It’s a book about exploring nascent metaverse platforms that have already captured the imagination of millions. It includes interviews with people like metaverse creator Neal Stephenson and it tries to cut through the myths and misconceptions around it. Rather than favoring walled-garden approaches that the big tech companies favor, Au prefers a grassroots and open view of the metaverse. And he tackles a variety of controversies and challenges of taking the ideas of the metaverse to the mainstream.

I interviewed Au (@slhamlet) for the inaugural release of the latest season of Navigating the Metaverse Podcast I’ve independently recorded with Dirk Lueth, co-CEO of Upland, the metaverse app.

We’ll be releasing a new podcast once a week for 10 weeks. Hope you enjoy it and see you in the metaverse.

Here’s an edited transcript of our podcast.

Wagner James Au is the author of Making a Better Metaverse.
Wagner James Au is the author of Making a Metaverse That Matters.

GamesBeat: What’s the status of your book right now as far as timing and the publisher and so on?

Wagner James Au: It comes out June 27 through Wiley.

GamesBeat: How did it come together as far as getting in touch with them? What was it like having this bigger recognition of how important the metaverse is?

Au: It’s interesting. I was pitching this with (agent) David Fugate. He’s become really big. He represents the guy who did The Martian. Now he’s doing Hollywood stuff too. We were pitching it last year, right as the metaverse hype was peaking again. There was a flood of metaverse books, most of them kind of web3-related. There was one with Paris Hilton doing the preface on it. It was challenging to pitch bigger publishers who are not as well-versed in the tech world as Wiley. You’ll probably see that frustration in the book. A lot of people in the publishing world were conflating the metaverse with Meta. You still see that to this day. Most people don’t really closely follow this topic. They consider the metaverse synonymous with whatever Meta is doing.

Navigating the Metaverse is now in its third season.

That even led to changing the title of the book. The original title was Why the Metaverse Matters. My agent and I were talking about it. We were thinking about the timing of the booking coming out in 2023. Meta was almost certainly going to screw up their metaverse strategy. We’d have to start from the beginning. That’s why we changed the name to Making a Metaverse That Matters, because as we’ve seen so far, Meta has totally failed in that regard, even though Tim Sweeney at Epic, Roblox, and some other big platforms are doing very well. There’s been a disproportionate emphasis on whatever Meta’s doing.

Wagner James Au wrote Making a Metaverse That Matters: From Snow Crash & Second Life to a Virtual World Worth Fighting For.

GamesBeat: When you think about it, going back to the beginning, how long were you considering the metaverse yourself? Did Second Life have a lot to do with this?

Au: Yeah, yeah. Really, when I started as a journalist in Central Life, that was 2003. My first visit to the Linden Labs office in San Francisco, I saw Snow Crash prominently there in the company book library. It was very much a reference guide to what the developers were doing in Second Life. I started the book the very moment after Snow Crash came out. Developers were trying to build something like it. Up to and including Neal Stephenson, actually. Some of this is lost in time, but apparently he was trying to build the metaverse himself in 1993, almost immediately after the book came out.

You probably recognize the name Avi Bar-Zeev. He was at a startup called World Design in Seattle. It was an early VR virtual world company. Neal Stephenson used to visit him quite frequently, to the point where Avi remembers him saying, “Could you actually build this? Because I would like to build this.” I asked Neal about that and he said he doesn’t quite remember.

But I started the book with that because I wanted to really lay out how influential Snow Crash and the metaverse have been as a practical design guide. I quoted John Carmack. He’s been wanting to build the metaverse basically since Snow Crash came out. Tim Sweeney. The founders of Roblox. The leading metaverse platforms were directly inspired in part by the metaverse as described in Snow Crash. I want to tell that story. And then Linden Labs as well. They were directly influenced.

GamesBeat: So the book has a fair amount of origin story about the metaverse?

Au: Partly it’s because I define the metaverse very succinctly, directly based on how it was described in Snow Crash. Partly it’s hopefully destroy the myth around it, that there’s no real definition for the metaverse, or no one knows what it is, or it doesn’t exist. That’s just not true. And second, to show how influential the book has been, and also how successful it’s been. Roblox, Fortnite, these are directly inspired to a certain extent by Snow Crash, and these are huge platforms.

In fact, they’re larger by some measures than what Neal Stephenson described in Snow Crash. If you look at Snow Crash, he says there’s about 14 million concurrent users at any given moment. Roblox has about that many at the moment. When Travis Scott did his big event, he had 12 million people concurrently. The leading metaverse platforms are even more popular than what Neal Stephenson imagined.

But yes, I go back into the history and talk about the origin of this concept. I start also with my personal history. Not only writing about Second Life and often referring to it as the metaverse, because we would discuss it in those terms, but really being inspired by what had become possible by the use of community.

When my first book came out, The Making of Second Life, I was giving a talk to an architecture group in Beverly Hills. They asked me to show them what people do in Second Life. “Well, people perform live music.” I randomly teleported to this place and there was an avatar of an old black man playing blues guitar in a bayou club. Totally at random I clicked this guy. I clicked his bio. He was, in real life, an 86-year-old blues guitarist, Charles Bristol. They asked me to show them something at random and I didn’t even know this guy was here. He just showed up. In the book I get into how he ended up performing live in the metaverse. His grandparents were slaves. He’s in his 80s. Somehow he ended up in the metaverse. One of the themes of the book is how we can make metaverse platforms be as diverse and serendipitous as Second Life has proven to be, just on a much larger scale.

VR Chat
VR Chat

GamesBeat: As far as the competition out there, there are a lot of metaverse books now. Matthew Ball’s seemed to be the definitive one. What do you feel about the other books on the market? Was there something more unique that you felt you wanted to get across?

Au: Matt’s book is great for laying out the business case. For people in the entertainment industry and Silicon Valley, outside the game industry, it’s great in that regard. My book is very different. Hopefully it works as a companion piece. I’m talking about the history and the culture and the societies that emerge within these platforms. The business side and the technical side, that’s all very important. But you basically, fundamentally need very active, thriving, creative communities for this to work at all. That’s my focus. Very much a companion piece, hopefully.

GamesBeat: The drive for the open metaverse has become more prominent or stronger since some of those books came out. How much of that angle have you emphasized?

Au: I definitely get into that, the open metaverse. I have a whole chapter on metaverse myths. One of them is that interoperability or the open metaverse should be a primary goal. I think that’s a mistaken approach to it. It’s taking a web model and trying to apply it to virtual worlds. You want the web to be interoperable because you want people to go from one page to the next. But that’s a 2D, noninteractive medium.

With a metaverse platform, by definition, it’s a virtual world. It’s real time. It’s people from all over the world using it in real time. They have highly customizable avatars and content creation tools. They’re constantly evolving the world in real time. The idea of an open metaverse is sort of a mistaken approach to what the experience really is. The important thing in terms of interoperability is interoperability of community. You should be able to take your user community with you from one platform to the next. Hopefully there’s more effort among companies to allow that interoperability of community.

But really, that’s partly been attributable to the rise of Discord. That’s really how metaverse and gamer communities are able to interoperate across different games. They have these big Discord servers. “Let’s go to this new world in Minecraft.” “Let’s go to this new world in Roblox.” They jump back and forth. We already have an open metaverse, if you will, just through how the user communities use the technology we have now.

I think a lot of people who talk about the open metaverse don’t actually talk to user communities about what they want. They don’t necessarily have, as one of their goals, to jump from Roblox to Fortnite and vice versa. There’s very much a dedication to the specific virtual world, the metaverse platform that they’re in. Open metaverse, if you want to call it that, is a goal, but we should follow the lead of the communities, not come down hierarchically on top of them and try to apply a 2D web model to a real time, fully immersive virtual world.

Another way to put it: is your version of the metaverse really just Steam with a few extra steps? We already have–what people are describing when they talk about the open metaverse, it’s basically Steam with a few extra logins. We already have that. Again, follow what the user communities are doing.

Wagner James Au is Hamlet.

GamesBeat: How ambitiously do you think about the metaverse and its potential? Are we going to get to the Star Trek holodeck? Is a collection of separate virtual worlds and games going to meet the definition?

Au: I’d say we already have very successful metaverse platforms, which have all the qualities that Neal Stephenson described. That’s why I get kind of ranty when someone proclaims that the metaverse doesn’t exist yet. Whose terms are you using? If you look at how it was defined in Snow Crash, and you look at platforms like Roblox, Fortnite, VRChat – probably my favorite right now – it fits all of these things that he described. We’re already successful on those terms. We already have a mass market.

GamesBeat: To devil’s advocate that, the visual fidelity that you see in something like the holodeck, and the instantaneous ability to change worlds with the snap of your finger, that takes an enormous amount of computing power. If you’re looking for a case where you can’t tell the difference between a simulation and reality, we’re nowhere near that kind of computing to make the highest-end metaverse visions possible. I guess the question is, is that it? All these things that come before it, do they qualify as not the metaverse if that’s what you’re thinking about?

Au: No. The fidelity improves every year. I mention that in the afterword of my book. Roblox has made amazing leaps.

Wagner James Au (right) and Neal Stephenson.

GamesBeat: It’s not what I would call responsive, though.

Au: At Roblox, the company funded it, but a user group made this game called Frontlines. It’s using all of the latest bells and whistles in Roblox. It’s visually indistinguishable from a Call of Duty map. It’s amazing.

I’d say two things. First, the technical capacities keep improving. They’ve gotten amazing in just the last few years. Second, visual fidelity in and of itself is not necessarily the main driver. The main driver is responsiveness of the physics. That’s one reason why Minecraft, for example, became so huge, and to a certain extent Roblox. You can create content and it’s responsive to the virtual world. It interacts with the physics really well. It doesn’t have to be a full hyperreal 3D graphics.

There are actually a lot of issues around hyperreal graphics. With a full 3D effect you run into what I call the immersion funnel. Only a percentage of people enjoy fully 3D, fully immersive experiences all the time. It tends to be a smaller group versus the people who enjoy immersive 3D, but with graphics that are more cartoony. I see both. We’ll see a growth of the Call of Duty or Grand Theft Auto 3D graphics, but then a lot of people also enjoy more of an abstract representation where they still have powerful creative tools. The creative tools and the ability to interact with the world have proven to be more of the draw than just high-end graphics per se.

GamesBeat: Is that a sizable part of the book, or not so much? Talking about the technology and how it’s going to change.

Au: I get into it from the social market adoption level. The two main challenges for metaverse adoption are the immersion funnel, like I said – as an experience becomes more hyperreal and more 3D, the interest drops off – and then the metaverse age gap. The activity for usage by age really starts dropping off sharply after about 24. Those are the two challenges to work on.

My main concern is making these metaverse platforms as mass market as possible. Really, having a responsive virtual world and having an aesthetically appealing presentation, at least for the audience, is more important than high fidelity per se. I talk about this with Minecraft and Roblox. They became huge, and a lot of gamers’ response was, “These are just blocky Lego avatars.” But that’s actually really important for the users, mostly kids. They’re trying to express themselves and figure out what they’re interested in. They have an avatar that’s not themselves exactly, doesn’t look like them, but it’s something they can play with and dress up as they explore different aspects of their personality. That’s been proven to be more appealing. I find that very interesting.

GamesBeat: When you spend a lot of time in these communities, what are some takeaways for people who maybe don’t do that as much? If the big message is that the metaverse is all about community, what do people need to know about that?

Au: Trusting the communities to create amazing things and giving them tools that are powerful. Monetization is important, but it’s a challenge. You don’t want to introduce it too quickly. You want to have a community that grows and thrives based on creativity, and then slowly add monetization tools. I talked with the developers of VRChat, because they were very careful with that. The userbase is thriving based on my estimates. It’s 5-10 million active users. They only now, just a month or two ago, announced that they’re adding monetization, but they’re very slow and careful about doing that.

Partly it’s that you don’t want to over-determine people’s reasons for being on these platforms. You want them to be for the community first, and thing about the economy second. The introduction of capitalism, if that’s the only motivation–we’ve seen what happened with all of the crypto-based metaverse platforms like Decentraland and Sandbox and so on. They put the financial motivation first, before anything about the community. That’s all it had. They didn’t have much user growth because the only people who were interested were there to hopefully make a profit. They’ve become ghost towns now.

It’s trusting the community to do amazing things. It’s quite impressive. I saw that in a microcosm form in Second Life, but just looking at VRChat and Roblox, there’s amazing creativity going on there.

GamesBeat: What are some more examples of the metaverse that make you believe that it has this great future? Things that convinced you that it will be real no matter where the hype goes.

Au: Really, it’s the sustained growth. To be honest, after my first book came out–I saw Charles Bristol, the blues player, and other amazing examples of creative community. But Second Life didn’t really grow. I have a whole chapter about that, because I find that story fascinating and hilarious and aggravating.

After a few years where it felt like a wasteland, you started seeing this slow but steady growth of other platforms. I remember when I noticed Roblox. It launched in 2006. I thought it was just a kids’ game. But it got more and more sophisticated. People were creating things that were more and more interesting. It had this steady growth trend. Same with VRChat. When it first launched, I remember–what was it called? The Ugandan Knuckles? It was just a bunch of YouTube trolls who used VRChat for trolling. That was in 2018 or so. I thought it was going nowhere.

But then I turned around a year or two later and it had more and more thriving communities. There are YouTube channels of amazing content. I profiled this guy called Syrmor. He’s almost the embedded journalist of VRChat. He does amazing interviews with people he’s met in VRChat. A lot of veterans who are dealing with PTSD. There are powerful videos of these veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan who have bizarre avatars, penguins or whatever, while they’re talking about really horrible incidents from their service. But it’s part of their healing process.

Wagner James Au’s book in the metaverse in Breakroom.

I was there for the first hype wave around the metaverse with Second Life. 2006 to 2010, it was the same thing. Second Life is the metaverse and it’s going to be transformative. I saw that hype wave build and crash. But when the media looked away, the community kept growing and thriving. We see that now. I talk to people about Roblox and VRChat. They’re only dimly aware of what Meta is doing. They really couldn’t possibly give a damn. They’re having a good time creating content where they are. They don’t want to do anything with Meta.

John Carmack mentioned that before he quit Meta. The user activity in Rec Room, another metaverse community, and VRChat–it was so huge that that’s why Meta raised the price of the Quest. Rec Room and VRChat are free to play. There are in-app purchases, but they’re free to play. He mentioned that during last year’s Oculus conference. There are a huge amount of people using the Quest headset not to go into Horizon, but to play Roblox or Rec Room. The community finds a way, whatever they want.

GamesBeat: They had supply problems as well. That was part of the explanation for it.

Au: Supply problems, yeah. But Carmack specifically said that there are all these people not paying because they spend all their time in VRChat and Rec Room.

GamesBeat: The whole model where you lose money on the hardware to make money on software, but if there’s no software selling–

Au: Right. They’re in these free-to-play metaverse platforms. I thought that was amazing.

GamesBeat: Is there a way people should think about the metaverse post-crash here, about the latest ambitions for it? The notion that–what was it, Goldman Sachs expected a $13 trillion market? McKinsey was saying $5 trillion by 2030. If everyone is starting to say, “Maybe this isn’t going to happen as fast as we thought, or as big as we thought,” what’s the way they should be looking at it in this post-hype phase?

Au: Post-hype phase, well–speaking out of self-interest, hopefully they read my book to reframe their expectations around what’s happening. But really, stop thinking about a hypothetical version of the metaverse that doesn’t exist. Look at metaverse platforms as they exist now. Look at the user numbers. Look how huge they are. Conservatively speaking, there are 600 million monthly active users, and that’s only counting Roblox, Fortnite, and so on, mostly platforms that are popular in the west. There’s a huge one called Garena Free Fire, which is huge in Asia and South America. That has 600 million installations by itself.

Conservatively speaking, we’re already over 600 million monthly active. Look at the actual user numbers for metaverse platforms. Build your expectations around that. There’s already a huge market. It can easily grow to a billion. If you look at the existing market for immersive experiences, 3D games, that’s at least a billion people. It could reach that within a decade. Look at the hard numbers, the monthly active users. Stop looking at hypothetical presentations of the metaverse that may or may not exist when we have so many successful examples of what is working.

GamesBeat: So much of what’s successful comes from gaming. I wonder if that’s maybe a more realistic way of looking at the metaverse – to not call it the metaverse, but just call it online gaming. The future of the metaverse, or the future of online gaming? Does that make you think about different things? Maybe gaming is going to be the successful part of whatever metaverse ambitions people have. I think a lot of people like–I remember Strauss Zelnick saying, “Look, we already have Grand Theft Auto Online. What more do you want?” Second Life was a failure compared to GTA Online.

Au: Gaming is huge, for sure. That’s why I get into a very specific definition of the metaverse, as a mass virtual world with millions of users, highly customizable avatars, and powerful creation tools that’s integrated with the real-world economy. In other words, you can create content and you can make money with it if you want to. Also, it’s integrated with other external technologies. It’s connected to the web. It can be connected to other devices. There’s a guy in Japan who’s connected VRChat to a giant robot. He can steer the robot from within VRChat. That opens up the possibility, eventually, of some really interesting use cases, since it integrates with devices beyond the virtual world.

That’s distinct from an online game. With most online games you can’t do that. You can’t create and sell content. I put that in the chapter about the future of it. I think these online games will become more metaverse-like. There’s an open source version of GTA Online that’s very popular. People are creating a lot of content for it. The user concurrency is in the six figures every day. It has a bunch of communities around it based on different servers. I would think that Rockstar would realize that and make that more of a part of the “official” experience, adding more e-commerce and the ability for people to create and sell content within GTA. Or Call of Duty or Elder Scrolls, all of these online games. I see a likely possibility that these games become more metaverse-like.

Roblox experience
Roblox experience

The distinction is that the platforms that start with user-generated content, the “pure” metaverse platforms–they’re much larger than what the game industry has. Also, an important distinction with whether it’s going to be games only–we already have much more than just games. You’ll have games within these platforms, but people will have a lot of community activity as well that’s not gaming, in the sense that they’re not trying to accomplish a goal or earn points or whatever. It’s mostly there for socializing. It starts with gaming, but it branches out into other avenues of expression.

In Roblox, for example, I profiled a girl named LAgurlz. She’s 20 years old. She’s from Jamaica. She co-created a Roblox experience called Starving Artists. It’s huge. Last I saw it was upwards of 100 million visits. It’s a–I wouldn’t say it’s a role-playing game. You can create art within the experience and sell it. You can start with just doodles, but she showed me some really impressive pieces. More impressive than a lot of the NFT art from the last few years. There’s a huge community creating art and buying and selling it within this one experience in Roblox that’s larger than a lot of traditional, professionally made games.

There’s already a lot of that and we’re going to see more of that. It’s not gaming per se, but it’s user creativity within an immersive space.

GamesBeat: What do you think about the B-word, blockchain, and the connection between blockchain and the metaverse?

Au: I don’t want to dunk on it too hard.

GamesBeat: Everybody else has dunked on it enough?

Au: It’s so much of a dumpster fire already. Really, it has not proven itself. Like I mentioned with Decentraland and the Sandbox, it inevitably attracts more speculators than community members. I did devote a whole chapter to Lamina1. Mainly I did that because it’s co-founded by Neal Stephenson. I talked about the tension there. It’s a blockchain layer for metaverse platforms. I’m actually skeptical that it’s going to work.

It’s interesting. Cryptocurrency, and by extension blockchain, were heavily inspired by his novel Cryptonomicon. Snow Crash heavily influenced metaverse platforms. It feels like with Lamina1 he’s trying to have both succeed. The metaverse idea has succeeded, certainly with these metaverse platforms, and ideationally. Cryptocurrency and blockchain have not succeeded as well. They had a run for a while, and we’ll see.

Maybe the fact that he’s presenting it as a layer and trying to do it to benefit creators–maybe that will work. I asked him about that. What’s the value add from blockchain, really? He goes into it very philosophically. But it’s very much an open question. So far blockchain has not proven to have any value whatsoever.

GamesBeat: I think about the limits of internet technology and whether that will hold some of these things up. Folks like Yuga Labs, they’re trying to do gigantic gatherings using the Improbable technology that can put 20,000 people in one space. For things like concerts, the Fortnite people are thinking about the problem of jamming everyone together as opposed to separating them into shards of 100 at a time. I think they call it the sniper in the metaverse problem. If you have one person on a mountain they can see into multiple shards. They could shoot at someone far away, but if it crosses a shard border, the bullet just goes away.

Au: Second Life had that problem all the time. There was a war game area. People would shoot sniper bullets that would go from the warzone area to more peaceful areas. That would cause a clash back and forth. That’s a huge challenge, yeah. But it’s not a must-have. We already have very fun, engaging, large crowd events where you don’t necessarily need to get tens of thousands of people in the same shard.

If you go to a real-life concert, if you go see Beyonce at Coachella or something, there are 50,000 people there, but you’ll only see about 200 people around you at any given time. I interviewed Jenova Chen about this. You wrote about the live event he did in Sky. They did a lot of trickery to have, what was it, 5,000? Pretty high concurrency. Within your range, it’s a huge crowd that you can interact with. It doesn’t have to be 10,000, as long as you can interact in that close proximity with a lot of people. That’s sufficient, really.

It could be that Improbable–well, technologists do this a lot. They see a technology challenge and they go after it without thinking about the user experience. The actual user does not really need 12,000 people all in the same place and the same time. They just want the feeling of a huge, crowded experience everyone is enjoying. If there’s 100 people around them, that should be enough. You can fake the crowds, or simulate the rest of the concurrency, in ways that aren’t going to be so taxing.

GamesBeat: Are there other things you wanted to talk about around the book?

Au: Two things. I get into how Meta’s whole entrance into the metaverse was driven by Second Life’s co-founder, Cory Ondrejka. I don’t think this has been told that much. He was the one who drove the acquisition of Oculus, after helping Facebook shift to mobile. He started presenting a vision of Second Life to Zuckerberg and other team leaders, which kind of set the stage for their direction into the metaverse. That’s one of the ways that Second Life is still a very influential technology related to what we have today. Then I proceed to tell the story of how Zuckerberg and the team basically ignored everything that Second Life had learned. They fell into a lot of the problems that were learned the hard way 20 years ago.

Also, I get into a problem with VR, which really hasn’t been covered much at all. I’m kind of stunned about this. After Facebook purchased Oculus, Danah Boyd, who’s one of the top researchers on internet culture and society – she’s with Microsoft now – she wrote an essay called, “Is the Oculus Sexist?” She summarized academic research she did around how VR has a strong propensity to make women nauseous. It’s interesting. There might be a hormonal aspect to it. She cites research from a group in the Netherlands where trans people, when they’re taking male hormones, tend to perceive 3D images better or more efficiently in their minds.

I asked her if anyone from Meta had talked to her about this. She said, “No.” I talked to at least five people from Meta, including Carmack and Cory, and asked them if they’d looked into this. And they have not. I think that’s just stunning. They’ve spent tens of millions of dollars, and it’s not clear if half the population of the world might have a propensity to throw up after putting on their headset. They haven’t looked into it as far as I can tell.

Second Life on mobile

GamesBeat: What’s the one thing you want to do in the metaverse the most?

Au: Me personally? I just get excited about the latest creative thing. If I could do anything, I’d love to do more of the embedded journalism, like I did with Second Life. I do that on occasion. It takes a lot of time interviewing people. Some guy in VRChat created a recursive VRChat. There’s a VRChat within VRChat within VRChat. It’s kind of mind-blowing. But it took several hours to get into it and write about it.

One thing I hope that happens with this is that there are more reporters put on the metaverse beat. Roblox alone has 250 million monthly active users. That’s the size of Brazil. There’s a hugely thriving economy and amazing things being created. Overwhelmingly, it’s grassroots stuff. There’s some interesting real-life marketing and that has its place, but really, the grassroots creativity is what I never get tired of. It’s that serendipity of accidentally stumbling on an 86-year-old black blues musician in Second Life. And not just in Second Life, but all these other metaverse platforms. There’s so much amazing serendipity.

GamesBeat: Do you agree that, say, by, 2040, governments will control the metaverse?

Au: That’s a weird one. Well, hopefully they’ll have more oversight over it, because there is so much economic creation being done. I do think there is a place for government regulation, especially because a lot of this content is being created by kids on platforms like Roblox. There should be more oversight to encourage positivity, especially around minors. But whether they control the metaverse–governments don’t really control the internet at large, nor should they. But there’s a place for the government.

I’ve had at least two major government agencies talk to me about how they should regulate this. The regulation is coming. But they have to figure out AI first, I think. They’ll be working on that probably for the next year or two. Then we may see some form of regulation start showing up. A major congressional body told me that they’re going to do a public hearing soon-ish. But that’s been delayed by all kinds of things. Still, it’s coming.

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