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Second Life Creator Philip Rosedale Unimpressed With New Metaverses

Second Life creator warns against the dangers of the metaverse

Philip Rosedale, metaverse pioneer and creator of Second Life, is skeptical when it comes to Meta and other companies’ metaverse and blockchain goals. In fact, Rosedale feels Zuckerberg’s metaverse could potentially lead to – and this is a big one – nothing less than humanity’s downfall…

According to Bradford Oberwager, executive chairman at Linden Lab, companies need to be passionate about building virtual spaces to create a metaverse in which people want to spend time. Additionally, Rosedale believes most adults are uncomfortable interacting with the metaverse. 

Rosedale, who recently returned to the Second Life team, also warns users against blockchain technology as such economies increase the wealth gap. “Blockchain economies are extremely dangerous,” Rosedale told PC Gamer. “They do some things that are good, but as a side effect in the way they’re designed, they’re an almost certainly fatal thing to humankind in the long term.”

Second Life and The US Economy

Second Life keeps the value of a Linden dollar equal to that of a US dollar. Therefore, the metaverse’s economy depends on the US economy. However, Rosedale believes this is a better option than designing around economic collapse. 

“If you assume, like, ‘Oh, the United States is going to collapse, and the dollar is going to go away,’ that’s a really bad outcome,” said Rosedale. “That’s going to be a very difficult transition. And you can say, ‘Well, you know, maybe if I buy the right coins, I’ll be one of the lucky ones,’ but nobody should be designing around that.”

Meta: Big Brother is Watching

However, Rosedale’s most prominent concern is with Google and Meta surveilling customers to send targeted advertisements. According to the Second Life founder, Meta could potentially use its VR headsets to track heart rate, body language, facial expressions and other physical cues users may not even notice about themselves to influence them.

“Surveilling information about people, even if they’re willing to give it to you, and then using that information against them, is definitely an existential threat,” Rosedale observes. Likewise, Meta is also concerned about its adverse effects on consumers. As reported by the Wall Street Journal, Meta’s own research shows that Instagram is especially harmful to teen girls.

Currently, Second Life hosts roughly 1 million users. “Would I like 10 million people [in Second Life]? Yes,” Oberwager told PC Gamer. “Would I like a billion people? Sure. Do I want everybody spending all of their time in it? No. The Matrix is not the instruction manual. The Matrix is the warning. I don’t think that’s good. But if advertising is your business model, you want everybody in there all the time. You want to spend as little money as you can supporting them, and you want to get as much money as you can through volume. We spend so much more money per person on the Second Lifers, on the residents [than Meta]. But our business model is that you rent land. That seems fair. We have to pay for servers. I don’t want to do it through advertising.”

Written By

Jack Brassell is a freelance journalist and aspiring novelist. Jack is a self-proclaimed nerd with a lifelong passion for storytelling. As an author, Jack writes mostly horror and young adult fantasy. Also an avid gamer, she works as the lead news editor at Hardcore Droid. When she isn't writing or playing games, she can often be found binge-watching Parks & Rec or The Office, proudly considering herself to be a cross between Leslie Knope and Pam Beasley.

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