faehnri.ch

Not Meta

an immersive experience in a computer is still in a computer

2021-11-18


The Facebook Meta company has created their first ad campaign for their name change. It features some museum-goers looking at the painting "Fight between a Tiger and a Buffalo" by Henri Rousseau which changes into a 3D scene with all of the animals just vibing in a jungle.

The Meta company is obsessed with "experience", it wants to make its social platforms even more immersive by turning them into a metaverse.

The term metaverse was coined in Neal Stephenson's "Snow Crash". The novel depicts a dystopian world, dominated by huge corporations with people living in shipping containers, using the metaverse as an escape.

You'd think a company wouldn't want to be associated with those in that world. However, it's fitting that, after monopolizing everyones social connections and communication, I'm convinced what Meta's really doing now is trying to move your subjective experience of reality into their walled garden while tracking and monetizing it.

I'm going to see Neal Stephenson talk about "Termination Shock", his latest novel. Maybe he'll have something to say about it.

After seeing the commercial, I knew the painting was in the Cleveland Museum of Art because I've seen it posted by my Twitter bot that posts pictures from the museum.

So I decided to go see the painting in person. Maybe as a rejection of Meta's idea that you should experience reality through their platform.

Fight between a Tiger and a Buffalo by Henri Rousseau

The museum says in the description for the painting that "Rousseau was working on this painting while imprisoned for fraud", "Despite the wild subject matter Rousseau never left France", "botanical accuracy was of little importance".

It's funny to think of the comparison between the commercial and the company; it pulls people in without even asking them and expecting them to just nod their head along with it, into a world created by someone that committed a crime who has no idea about the subject matter and isn't concerned how inaccurate it is.

But I'm not there in the metaverse, I'm just standing in front of the actual painting looking at it. There are no notifications, popups, infinite scroll of other content, comment sections, or other "engagement". It turns out those things aren't what makes an experience immersive.