Don’t forget to read the fine print.
Mark Zuckerberg’s “metaverse” — a virtual world for Facebook users to gather via digital avatars — is far from its official launch, but that didn’t stop one animator from sharing their own nightmarish vision of the augmented reality space.
Created by 3-D animation studio Surreal Entertainment, the parody video purports to invite the viewer into the metaverse virtual reality [VR] “demo experience” as an “Alpha Tester,” where Meta (formerly Facebook) CEO Zuckerberg awaits to show you around.
And while many know of the 37-year-old billionaire tech founder’s quirks, this video takes Zuckerberg’s uncanny qualities to a whole other level.
Using authentic clips of Zuckerberg’s own live announcements, he enters the void as a spindly version of his corporeal self.
“Hey, and welcome,” he begins, then waves his floppy arm in greeting — for far too long for comfort.
Brandishing a giant, gleaming chef’s knife behind his back, he continued, “Today, we’re gonna talk about the metaverse … ” then pauses before eliciting a spine-chilling, ear-to-ear grin as the screen is cast in red — a warning for our participant that something is very amiss. “Starting with the most important experience of all: Sweet Baby Ray’s.”
He touts the augmented reality aspects that “bring things from the physical world into the metaverse” before launching into unhinged praise for barbecue: “I like barbecuing. I guess I’m a Sweet Baby Ray’s fanboy.”
Of course, Zuckerberg’s allegiance to the cult-fave BBQ sauce has been widely mocked by keyboard critics who spotted a bottle of the sweet and tangy condiment on his bookshelf, in a recent promotional video discussing the Meta rebrand.
“New alert,” a voiceover chimes, “Mark Zuckerberg offers you his Sweet Baby Ray’s Barbecue Sauce,” then prompts you to nod your Metaverse headset up and down to accept or side to side to decline.
He seems pushy, so you decline. “Mark did not like that,” the voiceover announces. That’s when he finally wields that knife he’s been hiding behind his back and stabs toward the screen’s view — closing the metaverse.
A warning in red letters appears: “Meta has dispatched a hitman to your location at Mark Zuckerberg’s request. You may feel your licensed headset tightening. Soon you will be unable to remove it.”
Then you learn that this consequence was, in fact, mutually agreed upon per the Terms of Service that you previously signed.
Experts and whistleblowers have already warned the public against the potential ills of the metaverse — which Zuckerberg has suggested will soon be “incredibly powerful” — and the need for policing the virtual environment.
“The metaverse’s ultimate aim is not just virtual reality or augmented reality, it’s mixed reality (MR),” Dr. David Reid, professor of AI and Spatial Computing at Liverpool Hope University, said in a recent report by the Sun. “It’s blending the digital and the real world together … Whoever controls it, will basically have control over your entire reality.”
Since Surreal Entertainment uploaded the animated spoof on YouTube last week, the 99-second clip has played more than 253,000 times. “If the Metaverse is anything like this masterpiece, I’m all for it,” joked one viewer on the video-sharing platform.
The design studio also enabled a 360-degree view of their metaverse demo, allowing the spectator to reposition the view as they choose for a more authentically VR perspective — that is, if you dare.
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