Technology makes Users of us all

Literature invented the metaverse decades before Mark Zuckerberg renamed his digital empire after it and started spending billions to try to make the virtual world a reality. In the 1992 sci-fi epic Snow Crash, the first use of the term “metaverse” sits nested in a thicket of author Neal Stephenson’s usual provocations about politics, religion, and technology. It was perhaps inevitable it would have appeared in fiction: Like invisibility or time travel or vampirism, the idea of a totalizing three-dimensional virtual world provides an irresistible tool with which to explore the human condition. Untethered from the material world and its messy constraints, what would you do? Who would you be?

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