Researchers Have Discovered that Facebook’s Metaverse SUCKS


 

Technology advocates have long welcomed the idea of a digital metaverse as the future of work, meetings, and even the way that businesses hire new employees, but the outcomes of a recent experiment, however, indicate that the technology is still be very far from reality.

 

The so-called metaverse is the physical equivalent of the internet, where people connect using avatars and virtual reality technology. The concept has been around for a while, but gained more popularity ever since Facebook was renamed as Meta in 2021. Researchers wanted to understand the impacts of working in VR for lengthy periods of time and how this compared to work in a physical setting. This led to the experiment, which is described in a study titled Quantifying The Effects of Working VR for One Week.

 

According to a report from New Scientist (via Insider),  18 volunteers experimented by spending a week working in the metaverse, using virtual reality, and the experiment went quite poorly. Two dropped out early due to persistent nausea, and the remaining participants said they felt more frustrated, anxious and their eyes hurt by the end.

 

They asked volunteers, who were all either university staff or researchers to spend an entire five day working week in recreated virtual reality office. It amounted to 8 hours a day, with a 45 minute lunch break. Afterwards they spent the same time in a real-world work environment. 

The participants weren’t given set tasks to complete, meaning they could control their own work day. They were, however, given identical equipment. 

Two of the participants dropped out within hours, complaining of nausea, anxiety and migraines, caused partly by the weight of the Oculus Quest 2 headset, they both said. Nausea is a common side effect of virtual reality

The remainder lasted the week, but reported some negative consequences. Compared to the physical work environment, participants reported on average a 42% increase in their frustration levels and 48% increase in eye strain.

They also reported feeling more anxious, by almost a fifth, and overall suffered a 20% drop in wellbeing between the week spent virtually compared to the physical environment. 

Participants also noted feeling less productive, for example highlighting that it was difficult to take physical notes while in VR, for example.  They did note that that could envisage working in virtual reality in some way in the future, though. 

 

Comedian Jimmy Dore had a field day with this study. Worth watching:

 

The Metaverse Causes Anxiety, Nausea & Headaches Says Study

 

Mark Zuckerberg announced that within the next five years, Facebook will be seen as “a Metaverse company.” But observers or this sort of technology, such as Joe Allen at Warroom.org, say that despite the setbacks, virtual reality is going to become a way of life:

 

[…] the coronavirus pandemic—celebrated as “The Great Reset”—made it all possible. Lockdowns, corporate Covid policies, and induced germaphobia forced the population to fuse with their machines.

In the near future, many work-from-home meetings will be conducted via sophisticated holograms. As with obedience masks, if you don’t wear your augmented reality glasses, you won’t keep your job. Anyone who refuses to adapt to this new environment will not be able to compete. Holdovers will be socially Darwinized.

Most importantly, schoolchildren will rapidly acculturate to these virtual worlds. They’ll be socialized to treat digital entities—both avatars and AI-powered bots—as if they were real. Virtual reality will become a way of life.

 

And Facebook isn’t the only company working on a massive virtual space. Joe Allen wonders what kind of environment can we expect in this Metaverse. Not a good one, that’s for sure:

How can real charity, real altruism, unfold in a simulated environment? How can there be real forgiveness or reconciliation in a realm where the only true sacrifices are the time and energy spent in VR that could have been spent in the physical world?

Any truth or beauty conveyed in VR will be simulated, but it will be true and beautiful still. Any goodness that occurs in VR will be purely artificial, and therefore of no real consequence.

 

The Metaverse is a disaster, whether it is fully adopted or not.

 

 


Karina Smitt

I'm not as much of a "CoMiCs NeEd MoAr DiVeRsItY & iNcLuSiOn" advocate as my girlfriend often is, but we both love funny books, crispy bacon, straight bourbon and hip hop. Add yet, we never vote the same, so we cancel each other out... and that works perfectly in my book!

JUST KEEPING THE LIGHTS ON