by Chris Ciaccia
One of the world's leading computer engineers
believed the metaverse could one day
'make reality disappear.'
Louis Rosenberg (pictured) is known for
developing the first functional augmented reality system
at Air Force Research Laboratory
who worked on
for the US Air
logical end of the Metaverse is to sink people into an
artificial reality which will be so addictive that they
will not be able or willing to escape.
Louis Rosenberg's warning should be heeded:
he created the first fully functional augmented
reality (AR) system for the Air Force.
the world's leading computer engineers believed the
metaverse could one day 'make reality disappear'
Rosenberg is known for developing the first functional
augmented reality system at Air Force Research Laboratory
Rosenberg is deeply worried about the 'platform providers'
that will have the metaverse infrastructure
Mark Zuckerberg has previously suggested the metaverse will
be the future of his company
fiction writer Neal Stephenson is credited with creating the
'metaverse' phrase as a successor to the internet
One of the world's leading computer engineers believes the metaverse,
the idea that caused Mark Zuckerberg to rebrand his whole
company, could one day 'make reality disappear.'
In a recent op-ed,
Louis Rosenberg, a computer scientist
known for developing the first functional augmented reality system
Air Force Research Laboratory and founding virtual reality
Immersion Corporation, believes that by integrating virtual
reality and augmented reality and having people interact in the
digital realm for a significant portion of their day, it could,
'alter our sense of
reality' and distort 'how we interpret our direct daily
surroundings will become filled with persons, places, objects,
and activities that don't actually exist, and yet they will seem
deeply authentic to us,' Rosenberg penned in the piece,
published by Big
Although he did not
specifically mention old Zuckerberg or Meta by name, Rosenberg made
a clear reference that he is deeply worried about the 'platform
providers' that will have the infrastructure.
concerned about the legitimate uses of AR by the powerful
platform providers that will control the infrastructure,'
the metaverse is the
future of his company, and
has been talking up the idea since
Rosenberg is deeply
about the 'platform
that will have the
Meta CEO Mark
suggested the metaverse
will be the future of
'And my hope,
if we do this well, I think over the next five years or so, in
this next chapter of our company, I think we will effectively
transition from people seeing us as primarily being a social
media company to being a metaverse company,' Zuckerberg said in
a July interview with The
Rosenberg, 62, also
worries that augmented reality technology, such as glasses (like
by Meta and reportedly
being worked on by Apple) or contacts will eventually force
'become thoroughly dependent on the virtual layers of
information projected all around us.'
'It will feel
no more optional than internet access feels optional today,'
Rosenberg, who made his fortune in technology, explained.
unplug your AR system because doing so will make important
aspects of your surroundings inaccessible to you, putting you at
a disadvantage socially, economically, and intellectually.
'The fact is,
the technologies we adopt in the name of convenience rarely
remain optional - not when they are integrated into our lives as
broadly as AR will be.'
In addition to the
fact, he notes, society is living in 'dangerous times,'
augmented reality 'has the
potential to amplify the dangers to levels we have never seen.'
Rosenberg cited one
example that is particularly worrisome to him about a future in
which the metaverse overcomes reality:
'Imagine walking down the street
in your hometown, casually glancing at people you pass on the
'It is much like today, except
floating over the heads of every person you see are big glowing
bubbles of information.
'Maybe the intention is innocent,
allowing people to share their hobbies and interests with
everyone around them.
'Now imagine that third parties
can inject their own content, possibly as a paid filter layer
that only certain people can see.
And they use that layer to tag
individuals with bold flashing words like "Alcoholic" or
"Immigrant" or "Atheist" or "Racist" or even less charged words
like "Democrat" or "Republican."
'Those who are tagged may not even
know that others can see them that way.
The virtual overlays could easily be
designed to amplify political division, ostracize certain groups,
even drive hatred and mistrust.
'Will this really make the world a
Or will it take the polarized and
confrontational culture that has emerged online and spray it
across the real world...?'
Rosenberg is concerned that the metaverse
could make many of society's technology problems
- deepfakes, botnets, troll farms and more -
worse, because humans won't leave the digital realm
The tech bigwig is also
concerned the metaverse could make many of society's technological
problems - deepfakes, botnets, troll farms and more - worse, because
humans won't leave the digital realm.
'With the rise of AR
(Augmented Reality), this last bastion of reliable reality could
completely disappear,' he wrote.
'And when that happens, it will only exacerbate the social
divisions that threaten us.'
Despite all the
negativity surrounding the metaverse and its implications on
society, Rosenberg did add that AR could be beneficial and enrich
people's lives in 'wonderful ways,' specifically citing faster and
better surgery, as well as untold revolutions in entertainment,
education and more areas of the economy.
'But AR also will
make us even more dependent on the insidious layers of
technology that mediate our lives and the powerbrokers that
control those layers,' he wrote.
'This will leave us increasingly susceptible to manipulations
and distortions by those who can afford to pull the strings.
'If we are not careful now, AR could easily be used to fracture
society, pushing us from our own information bubbles into our
own custom realities, further entrenching our views and
cementing our divisions, even when we are standing face-to-face
with others in what feels like the public sphere.'
The New York
recently detailed some areas where the 'metaverse' is already
starting to happen, including Nintendo's popular Animal Crossing,
or video games such as Roblox and Fortnite, all of
which can be played on mobile devices and game consoles.
writer Neal Stephenson's
Snow Crash, published in 1992,
touches on the subject.
worldwide economic collapse, the US has been broken up into
different regions owned by powerful organizations and
entrepreneurs who use their regions for various purposes, often
nefarious in nature.
much of their time in the 'Metaverse', a virtual multi-player
world where people own virtual homes, visit 'bars' and go
credited with creating the 'metaverse' phrase as a successor to the