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Issue #47 – Real Fake

Menno van Doorn
January 18, 2022

On the 15th of October our book “Real Fake – Playing with Reality in the Age of AI, Deepfakes and the Metaverse” has been released. It is our take on synthetic media, deepfakes, fake news, conspiracy theories, memes, crypto, narrative economics, virtual humans, CGI influencers, vTubers, NFTs, DAOs, VR, Web 3.0, the Creator Economy and the Metaverse. Real Fake is about how humans continuously manipulate reality and how new digital technology tools enable us to go one step further in this ancient game.

Doctors Warn Against Dangerous ‘Sleepy Chicken’ TikTok Trend

“Doctors are advising young people to think twice before they take part in a bizarre TikTok trend in which they cook chicken breasts in over-the-counter liquid cold and cough medicine. Known as “NyQuil Chicken” or “Sleepy Chicken,” the trend, which many chalk up to being a joke, has surfaced on various video platforms. In the videos, people place chicken breasts in a pan and pour the medicine over it, until it absorbs the liquid. “

Why Is The Metaverse Now Happening?

“While games like Second Life, SimCity, Minecraft and the likes have existed for a while, three things are fundamentally different now:

  1. Timing. The pandemic made a huge impact on consumer habits. It meant more time spent at home and much of it in front of screens. Working from home and social distancing translated to doing more things virtually – from virtual workouts to attending virtual concerts.
  2. Technology. Blockchain/Defi/Web3, 5G/6G and stronger GPUs, cloud gaming and graphic engines like Unity and Unreal, advanced GPUs, hardware (such as the Oculus Quest 2, the first mainstream VR headset at $300 a pop, with over 10 million units sold in 2021) all make it easier for the Metaverse to succeed now.
  3. Generational readiness. Generation Z, also known as ‘digital natives’ grew up with mobile devices and virtual worlds like Roblox and audio rooms like Discord or RecRoom spending more time online than any generation before.”

Crypto Enthusiasts Meet Their Match: Angry Gamers

“Game publishers are offering NFTs, but skeptical gamers smell a moneymaking scheme and are fighting back.”

Wikipedia Editors Have Voted Not To Classify NFTs As Art

“The editors chose not to include Beeple and Pak on the free encyclopedia’s list of the most expensive art sales by living artists. […] The conversation epitomized a larger cultural debate around newfangled forms of digital art and their relationship to traditional modes of artistic production.

It’s almost an existential debate for digital artists. Is their work art or not?

TikTok And Gen Z Have Completely Changed The Way Trends Work

“There has long been a rule in fashion that declares all popular styles must go from being trendy to outdated to trendy again over the course of 20 years. The so-called “20-year rule” controlled the trend cycle for decades — until TikTok took over. Since the COVID-19 pandemic began and TikTok usage increased 180% among 15- to 25-year-olds, we’ve seen fashion from the 60s, the 70s, the 80s, the 90s, Y2K and the 2010s “Tumblr era” come back in style. Those are a lot of trends to cram into a measly two-year period.

TikTok has sped up the trend cycle. What normally takes years in the make is now happening at lightning speed. Before you know something is trendy, it’s already cheugy. So get ready for: Indie Sleaze, Avant Apocalypse, The New Space Age, BalletCore, LolitaCore, Hyper Gen Z and Die, Cry Hate.

Surveillance Will Follow Us Into The Metaverse

“But virtual reality (VR) headsets can collect more data about us than traditional screens, which gives companies more opportunities to take and share that data for profiling and advertising. They could also give employers more ways to monitor our behavior and even our minds. There’s little stopping the government from getting its hands on body-related data from VR tech, and there’s little in place to protect us and our kidsfrom unrestricted data gathering and psychological manipulation, say digital rights advocates and experts following the industry.”

How Brands Can Enter The Metaverse

“For companies still waiting on the sidelines, it is important for each brand to find its place and balance the risk-reward equation. Doing so requires grasping what is possible, and the companies that are leaning in fast can both offer inspiration and act as test cases.  […] The commercial applications of the metaverse are even further heightened by the new behaviors that are surging around buying products and services directly from social experiences, also known as “social commerce.” […] Brands should always be in a test-and-learn mode, and the digital landscape in particular requires intellectual curiosity. The metaverse is potentially the next iteration of how humans use the internet to connect, communicate and transact — sitting on the sidelines too long is not likely to be an option. […] Most importantly, people in brand marketing or leadership roles should start thinking about how to unleash their creativity and their storytelling. If the creative palette expands dimensions in the metaverse, we should be excited to create experiences at any point in the customer journey, from acquisition, to engagement, to transaction, to customer support, which have the potential to be both spectacular and stickier than before. And, someday, we will likely want to move from real to virtual worlds seamlessly. That will be the next frontier.”

Luxury x Crypto

“Luxury has always been in the business of simulation: of making its stories believable by massive numbers of people. […] Luxury is a simulation. So is crypto.”

The Boy King of YouTube

“Shion and Loann noticed that a lot of kid YouTube channels were focused more on the brand of the toy than on the brand of the talent. They were, in plainer terms, just adding “Thomas the Train” to their titles and hoping that other kids who wanted to consume every single video about Thomas the Tank Engine would stumble upon their content. Shion thought this was backward. Ryan, not the toys, should be the brand. Shion was proposing an interesting evolution: Given Ryan’s popularity, why couldn’t he create his own brands, his own characters, his own toys? Why help Thomas when you can create your own universe of characters, diversify your content streams, ramp up merchandising and license your content to some of the biggest platforms in the world? “People are watching Ryan, not the toy he’s showing,” Shion says. “So, oftentimes, we create a new original, animated character that’s inspired by Ryan.””

MUST WATCH: The Metaverse Is Worse Than You Thought

The Metaverse Is Worse Than You Thought


Real Fake is a weekly newsletter in which SogetiLabs’s Research Institute VINT examines the future where synthetic reality becomes part or our objective reality. We investigate the impact of new technology on people, organisations and our society. If you have any questions or comments, do not hesitate to contact us. You can reach us at

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About the author

Director and Trend Analyst VINT | Netherlands
Menno is Director of the Sogeti Research Institute for the Analysis of New Technology (VINT). He mixes personal life experiences with the findings of the 19 years of research done at the VINT Research Institute. Menno has co-authored many books on the impact of new technology on business and society.


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