Life in the metaverse

Technology companies such as Facebook have committed to developing the “metaverse.” According to a Facebook report the metaverse is “a set of virtual spaces where you can create and explore with other people who aren’t in the same physical space as you.”

Facebook’s parent company is now called Meta. Skeptics say this is an excuse to rebrand and deflect attention from a series of difficult public exposures of Facebook’s failings in content moderation.

In 2008 some colleagues and I produced a conference article: “Augmented duality: overlapping a metaverse with the real world,” and featured an explanation of how we inserted a live action, human avatar into Second Life.

The metaverse fantasy is a more challenging variant of this: walking about in everyday physical space and seeing, hearing and interacting with virtual objects and environments.

The scifi film Valerian and the city of a Thousand Planets (Dir. Luc Besson, 2017) offers a compelling live action and CGI rendering of a multi-layered city superimposed over a desert experienced by the occupants via head-mounted displays. The film Ready Player One (Dir. Steven Spielberg, 2018) offers a similar scenario.

A search online around the theme of metaverse returns several variants: parallel universes, alternate universes, interpenetrating dimensions, parallel dimensions, parallel worlds, multiple worlds, parallel realities, alternate realities, alternate timelines, alternate dimensions, dimensional planes, quantum universes and quantum realities. I would add some further variants: planes of existence and hidden dimensions.

Here are some blog posts pertinent to the metaverse theme:


  • Besson, Luc (Dir.). 2017. Welcome To Big Market | Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets 2017 English. MovieScenes – Clips, 9 December. Available online: (accessed 10 November 2021).
  • A. Bosworth, “Building the Metaverse Responsibly”, Available online: Bosworth, Andrew. 2021. Building the Metaverse Responsibly. Facebook: Newsroom, 27 September. Available online: (accessed 26 October 2021).
  • Isaac, Mike. 2021. Mark Zuckerberg rebrands Facebook and introduces ‘metaverse’. ABC News, 29 October. Available online: (accessed 10 November 2021).
  • Wright, Mark, Henrik Ekeus, Richard Coyne, James Stewart, Penny Travou, and Robin Williams. 2008. Augmented duality: overlapping a metaverse with the real world. In Masa Inakage, and Adrian David Cheok (eds.), Proceedings of the International Conference on Advances in Computer Entertainment Technology, ACE 2008, December 3-5: 263-266. Yokahama, Japan: ACM.

Leave a Reply