Metaverse Can Create A 'False God' And It Is 'Not The Best Thing For Human Society'

Eric Schmidt
Former CEO of Google

When it all started, computers were limited to simple calculations, with results that were shown as outputs on small screens that can only produce one color.

Fast forward, computers can process gigabytes-worth of information, every single second. Screens to show the outputs, have grown so large, and also so small but without sacrificing their millions of color display.

At any given time in history, there has never been a time where computer tech degraded. All the time, it advances to a whole new level, to a new capacity, up to a different degree, promising even more things that weren't previously possible.

And when human–computer interaction has become even less distinctive, the next obvious thing, is certainly to "blend" the real world and the digital world.

To some companies, they call this new world the "metaverse."

Tech companies are eyeing on it. They most notable include Facebook as it rebranded to Meta, Microsoft in leveraging its Mesh technology to create its own metaverse, Pokémon GO Niantic Labs sharing the technology needed to create AR/VR apps, Samsung in developing its own chips for the metaverse, and Qualcomm in developing chips dedicated to headset devices among others.

Eric Schmidt

But to Eric Schmidt, the whole metaverse thingy is worrying.

According to the former Google CEO, speaking to The New York Times, he believes that the technology will soon "be everywhere." However, he warned that the technology is "not necessarily the best thing for human society"

"All of the people who talk about metaverses are talking about worlds that are more satisfying than the current world — you're richer, more handsome, more beautiful, more powerful, faster."

"So, in some years, people will choose to spend more time with their goggles on in the metaverse. And who gets to set the rules? The world will become more digital than physical. And that's not necessarily the best thing for human society."

As a tech person himself, Schmidt is no stranger to AI and other computer-enhanced prowess.

But to his opinion, the AI that Meta and other "metaverse" platforms of the future use, is going to be the "giant, false god" that can create unhealthy and parasocial relationships.

In worse case scenario, the former executive believes that AI technology like the metaverse will eventually replace human relationships.

"It will be everywhere."

"What does an AI-enabled best friend look like, especially to a child? What does AI-enabled war look like? Does AI perceive aspects of reality that we don't? Is it possible that AI will see things that humans cannot comprehend?"

While no one knows how exactly this metaverse will become, Eric Schmidt is a bit vocal concerning the way the metaverse is shaping.

And he is not alone here.

Previously, the technology has also been heavily criticized by other business leaders, including Tesla CEO Elon Musk, who said his confidence is "not high" in the transparency and safety of AI within his own company. Others raised their concerns, saying that Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality can pose even more risks of abuse than social media.

And in this case, Meta, the rebranded Facebook, is among the pioneers in the field.

CEO Mark Zuckerberg said that Meta is creating the metaverse as a virtual space where people can interact digitally using avatars.

While he said that Facebook shall no longer be considered a social media company once it is a "metaverse company", people are worried because of how big Facebook can influence the industry and the overall economy.

Giant tech companies that are large enough to encompass many things, tend to make others gravitate to it.

And not only that.

When it concerns large for-profit entities that deal with user data like Facebook, the company is not known for having a good history in preserving the privacy of its users. Making things bad for Facebook, the social giant has increasingly emphasized its metaverse mission in an attempt to distance itself from the controversies it caught itself into.

This scares Schmidt.

Despite Schmidt was the person who oversaw the growth of Google into a notoriously monopolistic giant intent on controlling the internet, to him, Facebook "went a little too far on the revenue side and not enough on the judgment side."

Facebook "knew what it was doing," but is careless about users' health.

Further reading: People Should Not Allow 'Computers Deciding What We Focus On'