A leading computer engineer believes that the metaverse could make reality vanish, which is the same idea that drove Mark Zuckerberg’s rebranding of his entire company.

Louis Rosenberg is a computer scientist who created the first functionally augmented reality system for Air Force Research Laboratory. He also founded the virtual reality company Immersion Corporation.

‘Our 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 Think.

Rosenberg mentioned old Zuckerberg and Meta, but he made it clear that he was deeply concerned about what the infrastructure will look like for the platform providers. 

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

A world-renowned computer engineer, Louis Rosenberg believed that the metaverse would one day “make reality disappear.” Louis Rosenberg (pictured) was the one who developed the first functional augmented real-ity system for Air Force Research Laboratory.

Rosenberg is deeply worried about the 'platform providers' that will have the metaverse infrastructure. Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg has previously suggested the metaverse will be the future of his company

Rosenberg is worried about which ‘platform providers” will be able to access the metaverse infrastructure. Mark Zuckerberg, Meta CEO has stated that the metaverse would be his future company.

‘… I am worried about AR’s legitimate use by powerful platform providers who will be in control of the infrastructure. Rosenberg also said. 

Zuckerberg has previously suggested the metaverse is the future of his company, and has been talking up the idea since July.

“And my hope is that we do this well,” Zuckerberg told The Verge in July. 

Is there a metaverse?

The “metaverse” is a collection of virtual places where you can play, work and interact with others who don’t live in the same space as you. 

Facebook explained that you can connect with your friends and work, play or learn from them, as well as shop, make, and share photos. 

‘It’s not necessarily about spending more time online — it’s about making the time you do spend online more meaningful.’

Facebook leads the charge in the metaverse. However, the company explained that this is not a product any one company can create. 

It added that “Just as the internet exists, the metaverse exists regardless of whether Facebook is present or not.” 

It won’t happen overnight. Most of these products won’t be complete in the next 10 to 15 years. 

Rosenberg, who is 62 years old, worries about how augmented reality technology such as contacts or glasses, (such as those made by Meta) will force people to be ‘completely dependent on the virtual information projected all around them’

Rosenberg explained that it will be no different from internet access feeling optional right now.

‘You won’t 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.’

Not only does he note that the world is in dangerous times, but augmented reality “has the potential of amplifying the dangers at levels we’ve never seen.”

Rosenberg gave one instance that is especially concerning to him regarding a future where the metaverse overrides reality.

“Imagine yourself walking down the street of your hometown and casually looking at passers-by on the sidewalk.

It is similar to today except that the glowing bubbles are floating above heads of everyone you meet with information.

“Maybe this is an innocent intention, but it allows people to freely share their hobbies and interest with all those around them.

Now imagine third parties being able to inject their own content into the site, perhaps as a paid filter layer which is visible only to a select few. 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 don’t know others may see them as such.

These virtual overlays can be used to increase political divisions, exclude certain groups or even incite hatred and distrust.

“Will it really make the world better? Is it going to spread the confrontational and polarized culture of online bullying and resentment across the real world instead?

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.

He said that AR was a rising force and could make it impossible for the last vestige of reality to be reliable.

“And when it happens, that will only increase the social divides that are threatening us.”

What is the Difference Between AR And VR?

A computer-generated virtual reality simulation is one that simulates an environment.

  • This device immerses users by giving them the feeling of being in a simulated world through sound and images.
  • VR could allow you to feel as if you are climbing a mountain from your home.

Contrary to that, an augmented reality layer computer-generated pictures on top of existing realities

  • AR can be used to create apps that bring digital parts into the real world
  • In the Pokemon Go app for instance, characters appear to exist in real life scenarios

Rosenberg acknowledged that AR, despite the negativity about the metaverse’s implications for society, could still be beneficial.

He said that AR will also make us more dependent on insidious layers technology that facilitate our lives and powerbrokers who manage those layers.

“This makes us more vulnerable to manipulations by people who have the money to do so.

“AR could easily be used as a tool to divide society.”

The New York Times has recently highlighted some of the areas in which the “metaverse” is already happening, such as Nintendo’s Animal Crossing or Fortnite. All these games can be played both on mobile phones and consoles. 

Neal Stephenson is a science fiction writer whose 1992 book Snow Crash touches on this subject. 

Following a world economic crisis, the US was split into many regions. These regions were created by wealthy entrepreneurs and organizations that use them for different purposes. 

Many people spend a lot of time in the Metaverse, which is a multi-player virtual world that allows them to own virtual houses, visit bars, and spot celebrities.

Stephenson was credited for creating the phrase “metaverse” as an alternative to the internet.