Wagner James Au thinks there may be a metaverse in your future! He joins the Plutopia podcast as we explore the various incarnations of the metaverse, including Second Life and Mark Zuckerberg’s Meta. We also discuss the birth of the metaverse in Neal Stephenson’s novel Snow Crash, and its appearance in many sci-fi books and movies.
Wagner James Au:
Military veterans started meeting with each other in Second Life, and so they’re anonymous through their avatars, they’re all over the world, they’re all over the country. But they would start meeting together and discussing really deeply personal issues, like their PTSD, or their injuries in combat. Very powerful, for them. I wrote an Atlantic piece about this; I quoted a retired Colonel saying “some Marines are telling me that Second Life works for them like nothing else has done before.” I think a lot of the organizations miss that. So I make it a big focus of my new book, Making a Metaverse that Matters – to see what’s organically evolving in metaverse platforms like Second Life, like VRChat, like Rec Room, like Roblox… because you’ll often find organically emerging, really powerful real world use cases like that.
Wagner James Au has written about digital culture, especially the metaverse for many years. He’s been a freelance reporter, a metaverse consultant, a game developer, a screenwriter. He was also a white-suited avatar named “Hamlet Au,” the first embedded journalist in a virtual world, Second Life, beginning in 2003. In his just-released book, Making a Metaverse that Matters, he writes with authority about the history of the metaverse concept and the reality vs the hype re virtual worlds.
Mentioned in the podcast:
- Ernest Cline: Ready Player One (novel)
- Philip K. Dick: Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch,
- Neal Stephenson: Snow Crash, Cryptonomicon, Fall; Or, Dodge in Hell.
- YouTube: Introducing the Icelandverse
- “The Truman Show”
- “Confirming Danah Boyd’s Early Concerns, Studies Suggest Women Much More Likely To Get Motion Sickness From Using VR”
- Doug Rushkoff: Survival of the Richest