Issue #96 – Real Fake Newsletter

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2022 Was the Year of the Metaverse—Until It Wasn’t

“The commercial potential of the metaverse was so potent that it compelled Mark Zuckerberg to rename Facebook to Meta heading into 2022. But this year, rather than rapidly redefine the internet, the metaverse stalled. […] Video games and social media already encourage the sort of mental overinvestment that makes the more explicit, embodied immersion of the metaverse seem gimmicky and redundant. The immersive internet is already here, in Web 2.0. How much deeper can we go, and how many more phases can we take? How do you improve on Fortnite? By deleting the weapons and turning the whole thing into a crypto mixer for busy professionals? Are we sure?”

The End of the Silicon Valley Myth

“The dramatic, multidimensional implosion of Meta; the nuclear train wreck of Elon Musk’s Twitter; the momentous labor uprising against Amazon—it wasn’t just an unusually disastrous year for America’s biggest tech companies. It was a reckoning. The tech giants that have shaped our lives, online and off, over the course of the 21st century have at last hit a wall. Amazon, Alphabet, Microsoft, Meta, and Apple all saw their valuations fall, sometimes precipitously. Many slashed their workforces. […] These companies, launched with promises to connect the world, to think different, to make information free to all, to democratize technology, have spent much of the past decade making the sorts of moves that large corporations trying to grow ever larger have historically made—embracing profit over safety, market expansion over product integrity, and rent seeking over innovation—but at much greater scale, speed, and impact. Now, ruled by monopolies, marred by toxicity, and over-reliant on precarious labor, Silicon Valley looks like it’s finally run hard up into its limits.”

What’s Next For AI?

“Many AI experts believe that there is a real chance that human-level artificial intelligence will be developed within the next decades, and some believe that it will exist much sooner.”

Soon You’ll Be Able to Make Your Own Movie With AI

“Soon, Hollywood could be in direct competition with generative AI tools, which, unlike self-driving cars or other long-promised technologies that never quite arrive, are already here and getting better fast.”

In our book Real Fake we’ve called this the “Hollywood to the home effect”: “Technology that was previously exclusively used in the film industry has become a consumer product. The crucial question is not what stories you can tell with synthetic media, but who tells them. The answer is simply ‘everyone’, and with a quality that we are used to in Hollywood movies.”

DIY Dental Hacks On TikTok

“The polished nature of social media can amplify viewers’ insecurities, especially if they don’t have access to affordable dental care. TikTok and YouTube are brimming with tutorials that promise the perfect smile, without the exorbitant cost of visiting a dentist without insurance.”

@gustexoxWATCH THIS IF YOU HAVE EVER THOUGHT ABOUT FILING YOUR TEETH!

Sugar Babies On TikTok

“On TikTok, videos in which sugar babies show off their luxury lifestyles have become hugely popular. They can make the profession look easy, and ignore the labor and risks involved. Experts explain that these misconceptions are dangerous for women considering a sugar-baby career.”

Menno van Doorn

About

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.

More on Menno van Doorn.

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