How the Metaverse and Web3 will change social paradigms. Sunyata is the void before worlds are formed: what do we want to form? I look at Reimagining Value and NFTs with Intangibles, Peer to Peer economies including blockchain gaming guilds, The End of Reality as Virtual HUDs take over our experience of the real world. And how it’s our Dharma to create worlds in the image WE want.
Transcript of the Lecture on Metaverse and the End of Reality
Hello, my name is Laurel Papworth and today I want to talk about the metaverse and how it’s going to change society in a “big picture” way. I think we could talk about real estate and shopping and things like that, but that’s still transferring 2D websites into a 3D vernacular. I don’t want to do that. I want to talk big, big picture. How are we fundamentally changing the world?
So the first part is when we create something particularly collaboratively, particularly when the whole world is co-creating this. There is a moment called Sunyata, and Sunyata is a Sanskrit word and it means from nothing, creation, like a big explosion. It also exists in the here and now. So if you look at Eckhart Tolle’s, the Presence or the Source? No, I think it’s the presence.
So at the moment we’re still in that sort of phase, pre-Metaverse, where we’re thinking about it, we’re arguing about it. Does it exist, doesn’t it exist? What’s it going to look like? What are the functions? What are the fundamentals?
What kind of, again, vernacular, what kind of dialect, what kind of vocabulary are we going to use around this? And it’s a good time for us to talk about how we want the world to change. Sunyata gives us an opportunity to create what we want. So I want to go through a few fundamental big picture changes that I see coming because of the Metaverse.
The first one is that we are reimagining value. So traditionally value has been placed on either tangible or intangible items. Tangible would be cars, physical cars, physical houses, jewellery if you’re not at that place, then food and shelter and whatever else we can ascribe in the physical world as having value. If you look at branding and marketing, a lot of that is about creating value, possibly where there is nothing intrinsic value to that. So some things have intrinsic value, others have manufactured. We are moving into a manufactured reality. It will be interesting to see how we re-imagine value.
The other part is intangibles. So for companies and corporates, when we talk about amortisation of the intangibles, we’re protecting brand assets, brand reputation. What happens to an oil company’s reputation if there’s an oil spill in the Galapagos? What happens to Coca Cola’s reputation if there’s a poisoning of Coca Cola bottles? What impact does that have on an intangible that should be immeasurable, but we try to measure it anyway. And so with the metaverse, we’re working a lot in intangibles.
The Economist made an NFT of one of its magazine covers called down the Rabbit Hole. And even though we can take a photo of that or screenshot it, or grab the JPEG or PDF off of the internet because it’s backed by Blockchain to say that it’s a unique item, a unique image, a unique NFT, it’s sold pretty well for about, I think, 100 ethereum, which is maybe half a million dollars, actually sold for $420,000 US and the money went to charity. But that’s neither here nor there. It’s about reimagining value. Is it possible that either the NFT or the digital Twin, where you have both the real world item and the online item, will mean that we release our hold on resource hogging physical products and start to chase more of the online digital version of reality? I know there’s a lot of arguments about this and people who are not in virtual spaces, augmented reality or virtual worlds won’t recognise perhaps that we create experiences in digital as much as we do in the real world.
And so whether you’re going to Travis Scott’s concert in an online space, in a metaverse type of space, or whether you’re going to the real world one, each will bring its own experiences. And as somebody who’s been involved in virtual worlds now for decades, some of the most profound experiences of my life have been in virtual worlds. So I will not discount the experiential part of a digital reality. So I would ask with Sunyata that we consider how much of the physical world do we
want mirrored in the Metaverse and how much of it do we want improved? And with regards to value, how do we shift to the intangible and yet position that product or that service as an important and meaningful exchange of value?
I want to talk about PeerToPeer economies, which has always been something dear to my heart. When social media, before it was called social media, it was called Web Two and online communities as opposed to Web Three in the metadata. But Web Two was supposed to be about peer to peer economies and I was always interested in peer to peer economies that were swaps and bargains, or whether they used fiat, and then whether they were exchanging fiat currency, or whether it was products for fiat or products or something else.
I’ve been involved in decentralised currency since 2005, so before Bitcoin and have tracked how economies have been built through using different items for exchange. Before Bitcoin, for instance, there was the QQ coins in China, PeerToPeer currencies and PeerToPeer economies removed the taxonomy in the centralised heads. So whereas I thought that Uber would be run by the People or Airbnb would be run by the People, that didn’t happen. Absolutely not. And the gig economy started to look a lot like Serfdom, so definitely didn’t go in the direction I thought it was going to go into. So, like, everything that I say, take it with a pinch of salt, because obviously there’s a lot of thinking about how things could be, but they don’t always work out that way. Which is part of the reason why we need Sunyata. We need to see what forces are coming together before the big explosion, before the whole thing accelerates into Being. This time with Web3. Web2 didn’t achieve the PeerToPeer economy thing. Web3 has potential.
Blockchain gaming guilds: if you ever look at the Play to Earn Gaming Guilds. It’s about everybody contributing and paying into the guild like a cooperative and then working together to achieve particular goals. With the Gaming Guilds using blockchain for their smart contracts and then scholars and NFPs and you have investors and managers and different things happening so that the community has access to the assets and the whole thing is done in a decentralised DAO type of a way.
It reminds me of Amazon’s Mechanical Turk, but a cooperative. So with Amazon’s Mechanical Turk it was always play-to-earn. It was called artificial artificial intelligence because it was human beings doing the jobs that artificial intelligence would do. Probably training AI, to be honest. But I always felt that there was a potential there for that crowdsourcing marketplace to then explode. And I can see with DAOs and with Gamefi and some of the other technologies that we’re reaching that sort of convergence that when they all come together, there is a potential for peer to peer economies.
And I cannot express enough how incredibly important it is that we do move to a non taxonomic economy and we start to work in a Folksonomic matrix. Not that type of matrix, the other type of matrix structure really important. Otherwise we will continually have feudal lords like Airbnb and Uber and Udemy and companies like that coming in and oppressing, oppressing us through the gig economy. Play to Earn should never be about oppression, it should be about freedom. That’s my rant for the day solidarity out there with you guys.
The third big picture is the End of Reality, which might sound a little apocalyptic. It certainly may be, depending what we decide to set up before Sunyata, and then once we’re putting structures in place, once it’s actually happened, end of reality. We will not see reality nekkid again. So companies like Google are already working on real time generation of transforming virtual space around us. So I may put on my sunglasses, go out for a walk and say, hey Google, I hope that doesn’t do anything to your systems, but hey Google, hey siri, hey Metaverse, whatever make my walk today, Monet . And then as I walk around the Australian bush in real life, everything around me changes into a Monet painting. And
because it’s real time and we have very sophisticated object identification, if a bird flips up and flies across, then that bird can be transformed so that it’s real time transformation. If you combine that with other HUDs heads up displays where we are continually walking around and receiving information through the HUD of “your friend is 360 steps to the right and around the corner”, or “that pair of shoes that someone’s wearing, are blah blah blah brand, and can be bought from XYZ at a discount if you click now”. So you’re actually seeing in real time HUD information coming through.
This kind of technology already exists. We’re looking at mesh technology we’re looking at server side versus locally. Oh, and by the way, with games, this already happens. When you go into a game, it preloads a whole lot of artefacts, a whole lot of objects, and then the only things that have to be tweaked and changed in real time is what’s happening directly to you so that you can see it. So if a car comes down the street, then that artefact is loaded but if there’s no car coming down the street, the artefact doesn’t have to be loaded. Artefact is something we use in gaming terms. I don’t remember what it’s called in the Metaverse. I think it’s got a different term, but you’ll know what I’m talking about. The object gets loaded in real time if needed.
Because we’re looking at the end of reality. Because we are looking at a reality where there are layers over everything and things pop up every time you look at something. I think there’s two things that can happen.
If we are going to place layers over absolutely everything in our lives, who controls that and how do we turn it off? And if you think you were frustrated by newsfeeds on Instagram, on Facebook and the other collaborative platforms, just imagine what it’s going to do in collaborative worlds and collaborative augmented layers like the Metaverse. We will be so deep down the rabbit hole, we won’t even think to turn off those layers or to turn off that reality. And I want to point out that we’re of a generation “just turn it off, just have a break from it, just do something else”.
If you’re in that environment all day for your job and then you come home and it’s where you experience whatever the equivalent of Netflix will be, it won’t be Netflix, it’ll probably be more like World of Warcraft. Or for me anyway, that’s a huge number of hours that you’re experiencing inworld which will feel more real than NOT being in that world. Which takes me back to that first point I was making about digital reality and experiences in digital reality, feeling more powerful, more of a dopamine hit than “reality” reality.
What’s our call to action here? To stay awake, to be aware of where this is going, to understand that there is no “they” out there.
And as much as people in the Metaverse space are trying to say, oh, it’s being hijacked or this happening or that’s happening, actually, we all have a role to play in how the Metaverse progresses and we have to fight for what we want. And if that’s open worlds and open source and gaming guilds and DAO and decentralise this and decentralise that, and a complete rejection of the hierarchical taxonomic structure of current economies, current social paradigms, then first we need to be aware of them. And secondly, we need to fight for them. So that’s just my thoughts on what some big picture changes are coming that may come once we’ve passed through this void space of the Sunyata into the Metaverse itself.
We are co creating worlds. It’s an exciting time, but we need to be aware and awake. Okay. Thank you.
Resources for lecture on Metaverse and End of Reality (Sunyata)
- The Economist https://www.economist.com/weeklyedition/2021-09-18
- Forbes and Travis Scott Fortnite Metaverse Concert https://www.forbes.com/sites/paultassi/2020/04/23/fortnites-travis-scott-concert-was-a-stunning-spectacle-and-a-glimpse-at-the-metaverse/?sh=41dc8fee2e1f
- Gamification, crowdsourced Marketplace and Amazon Mechanical Turk https://www.mturk.com/
- Blockchain Gaming Guilds articles https://boxmining.com/crypto-gaming-guilds/#5_Connect_Investors_with_the_GameFi_Market
- gamers and integrated real/metaverse https://www.skypotential.co.uk/services/metaverse-blockchain/
- 10 ways the metaverse will change the world (real estate, shopping etc) https://listverse.com/2022/04/30/10-ways-the-metaverse-will-change-the-world/