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Philosophers’ Café: Into the Metaverse

February 9 @ 7:00 pm 8:30 pm

Facebook, Epic Games, and other massive Internet and gaming companies are enamored with the concept of the “metaverse”, an always-on virtual and augmented reality environment that marks a change in how we interact with and use the Internet. Rather than having a layer of separation provided by our computer and phone screens, the metaverse acts as what Mark Zuckerberg calls “an embodied Internet” where we communicate using virtual avatars in navigable space. While this poses a significant benefit for brands, media properties, and tech companies that can extend consumer relationships with their products into a new space, how far is too far? Is this another means through which the individual self and creativity is subsumed into a monoculture of advertising and blockbuster media releases? Is the future of creativity just a recycling of existing corporate intellectual property to which we tie our identity? And in a pandemic-altered social and professional world where our workplace can now be anywhere and our work/life balances are forever changed, does meeting and working in a virtual space just offer another means through which our personal agency can be taken away? Does virtual reality and augmented reality provide for greater human contact, or is a meeting in virtual reality just a solution in search of a problem? What happens to our individual identity when we live and work in a virtual world owned by private companies? These questions have significant ramifications for how we work, socialize, and act as humans, and this installment of Philosopher’s Café seeks to start asking those questions.

This discussion will be lead by Bryan Carr (Communication & Information Sciences, UWGB) and will be held at St. Brendan’s Inn (Waterford Room).

Free

St. Brendan’s Inn

234 S. Washington Street
Green Bay, WI 54301 United States
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