A Second Life: Welcome to the Metaverse, Cinema’s Next Frontier

What if you could live two lives at once?

That’s the premise of Ben Stiller’s Apple thriller series Look up. Employees of a mysterious technology company undergo a brain operation in which a microchip is inserted that separates their working memories from their personal memories.

When they step into the elevator at their workplace, they become the “work” version of themselves, without remembering who they are or what they are in their personal lives.

The show offers an interpretation of the “metaverse”, a somewhat hypothetical digital universe that is parallel to our daily lives. Filmmakers and entertainment companies have recognized its potential as a storytelling troupe – and as a tool in filmmaking. Facebook is also dipping a toe with a recently renamed parent company, Meta.

free guy, Loans play one look into the meta verse

free guy shot
Free Guy, starring Ryan Reynolds and Jodie Comer, follows a virtual bank teller who lives in the background of a video game world, unaware of the chaos players are inflicting around him. (workshops in the 20th century)

In 1992, author Neal Stephenson coined the term “metavers” in his science fiction novel Snowfall. Stephenson’s vision was a huge virtual world that existed in step with real life.

Since then, the concept and its definition have swelled, though most return to Stephenson’s idea as a framework.

“It’s a huge virtual world where millions of users can interact at the same time via avatars,” said Wagner James Au, author of The creation of Second Life and founder of the oldest metaverse cultural blog, New world notes.

Popular metaverse prototypes include virtual world-building platforms such as Second Life and VRChat as well as Roblox and Fortnite gaming platforms. Roblox alone has 55 million daily active users.

“It’s very immersive, it has authoring tools so virtually any experience can be created, and it’s connected to the real economy, usually through cash-out. process, ”said Au.

In a report by VICEVenture capitalist and angel investor Mathew Ball offers this perspective: If your phone is a computer in your pocket from which the Internet is always available, then the metaverse should be considered forever. in a computer and inde the Internet.

There is not yet a real metavers, accessible via a single gateway, where life continues even in the absence of the user.

LYT | Confront the “reality” of our reality on the wallpaper of CBC Radio:

Tapestry53:52Confront the “reality” of our reality

David Chalmers is Professor of Philosophy and Neuroscience at New York University. He claims that there is nothing “virtual” about virtual reality. Everything is real. Later we hear from the co-author of the movie Free Guy – Matt Lieberman. He talks to Tapestry about how you can tell the difference between the life you are currently living and a computer simulation. 53:52

But its on-screen portrayal is becoming more frequent and global, giving audiences an idea of ​​what to expect from what experts call “the next phase of the Internet.”

Besides Look upAmazon Primes black comedy To download happens in a future where the deceased can pay a generous fee live a metavers-like life after death created by a technology company. The characters choose which version of heaven they want to exist in, but that is not the utopia one might expect.

And the film 2021 free guy plays Vancouver-born Ryan Reynolds as a bank teller who discovers he lives in a metavers-like game world where others risk being permanently deleted by the game’s creator.

Previous films like Loans play one, The Matrix and Avatar (with the first of four successors on the way this December) intervened in the metaverse, with characters entering parallel digital universes using augmented reality (AR) or virtual reality (VR) technology.

ready playing one
In Ready Player One, for example, the characters are connected to a virtual world called OASIS to escape their real environment, which has deteriorated due to climate change and overpopulation. (Twitter)

A common trope in these traits is that they are put into dystopias. IN Loans play one, for example, the characters are connected to a virtual world called OASIS to escape their real environment, which has been degraded due to climate change and overpopulation. Why so dark?

“It’s partly a warning that so much of our lives are going online and digital,” Au said. “There’s a concern that writers and filmmakers want to express that we can lose too much of our humanity by digitizing everything.”

But the overall potential of a metaverse – both good and bad – has not yet been fully explored on the big and small screen, Au said.

“Every depiction of the meta-verse I’ve seen so far only scratches the surface of what platform games look like.”

Entertainment giants are investing in their own meta-verses

Film and television have been portraying the meta-verse for decades now. But the use of metaverse technologies to make real movies is becoming more and more common. Several major entertainment companies have revealed plans to develop a version of a metaverse.

disney executive order in November that it would begin to develop sit own metaverswhich she said would combine elements of entertainment and storytelling with new technologies.

So did Netflix public its intentions to move into the virtual reality space. The gaming industry’s Metaverse prototypes pose a risk to traditional entertainment and streaming: In 2019 quarterly letter to investors, Netflix wrote“we compete with (and lose) fortnite more than HBO. “

Epic, the gaming company behind Fortnite, executive order a $ 1 billion round of funding to support their vision of a metaverse.

oya black arts
Participants in the OYA Scale Up initiative are working on an in-depth media project. The program is a partnership between OYA Black Arts and the CFC Media Lab and is funded by the Federal Development Agency in Southern Ontario. (David Peddie / OYA Black Arts Coalition)

According to -one virtual reality filmmakers, users will soon be able to live in the worlds of their favorite movie – think boarding the Millennium Falcon with Luke Skywalker, Princess Leia and Han Solo, or traveling through Middle-earth with Frodo Baggins.

With the money flowing into the industry, the pressure to produce a viable product leaves little room for filmmakers and creators to experiment.

“We do not know much about how to tell good stories with these abilities,” said Richard Lachman, an associate professor at Metropolitan University of Toronto (formerly Ryerson University), who studies the relationship between humans and technology.

“We know a lot about how to build puzzles. We know a lot about how to create excitement, excitement and emotion, but not necessarily good storytelling.

“It’s a challenge, and one of the risks of that challenge is that there’s so much money going into it now … that money does not necessarily lead us to understand art.”

Oya Media Group, a Toronto-based digital media company, has launched an initiative to teach young black producers and filmmakers how to create compelling stories using metaverse technologies.

“We give them insight into what immersive media is and how it can be used for filmmaking, to create content for what will hopefully soon be meta-verses,” said Ngardy Conteh George, producer and co-founder of Oya Media Group.

SE | Ngardy Conteh George explains the meta-verse:


Filmmaker Ngardy Conteh George talks about the meta-verse and inclusivity

Oya Media Groups co-founder Ngardy Conteh George explains how the meta-verse could be a “new kind of world” where anyone could participate in positions of power and decision-making. 0:58

The projects use augmented reality (where digital components are transposed to our real environment) and virtual reality (which generally require a headset to simulate a digital environment that is different from what we see).

Metaverse platforms offer local creators from all walks of life a strong opportunity to “compete on an equal footing with large companies and also [with] people who have more privileges to move into the mainstream economy, “Au said.

But with great power comes a great responsibility: all the social and economic consequences we face in the real world can be duplicated in the metaverse. For example, you could lose all your money in a scam or fall in love with someone – only to be crushed by their counterpart in real life. You can also be the target of racism or bigotry.

“When you think of the metaverse and the creation of these new worlds: who creates them? And what view and what appearance will then be reflected in the final result?” said Ngardy.

“I think it is really important that it is inclusive and not exclusive, and that everyone has access to positions of power, positions of authority and decision-making, so that we do not copy the world we live in at the moment. . “

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