It's impossible to ignore all the news and commentary surrounding Facebook's rebranding as "Meta" given their outsized role and influence on global business, culture, and politics.
Many people are making comments along the lines of: "The term 'metaverse' was first used to describe a virtual world owned by corporations in Stephenson’s 1992 dystopian sci-fi novel Snow Crash."
I watched Mark Zuckerberg's video announcement to form my own impression. It's very slick -- and here's the transcript: https://www.rev.com/blog/transcripts/meta-facebook-connect-2021-metaverse-event-transcript
Here are my takeaways:
1 - He repeatedly talked about how beneficial their new focus would be for the creator community ("creator" mentioned 49 times) and how they want to help enable that. I expect we'll start to hear more corporate pronouncements about how 'Meta' is good for creators.
2 - He hates Apple.
3 - He paid lots of lip service to issues concerning government regulators.
4 - Some of the surveillance capabilities enabled by all the new tech they are working on goes well beyond what they can do today -- and it's pretty frightening.
5 - He's techfatuated (my term) -- which is sort of what I'd expect given his location in Silicon Valley and all the resources available to him. Advancing technology isn't the answer to the problems his company is creating.
6 - He's in over his head on the unintended social consequences of his platform.
7 - His time and enthusiasm spent on VR gaming made me see him as an immature teenager (yes, i'm getting old). I don't like seeing my son gravitate to sticky shoot-em-up games that exist today, and can't imagine where this is going as it gets more realistic and addictive.
8 - "Connecting people" - the only stated principle he comes up with - seems innocuous but it's a weak vision.
Final reflection - it sure would be nice to have FB/Meta's cash pile of $60b to play with. With that, a company could be really innovative (beyond just the technology) and do truly good things for employees, customers, and society.