#1013: Parisi’s Metaverse Manifesto: Unpacking His Seven Rules for the Metaverse

Tony Parisi published really great Metaverse manifesto on October 22nd titled The Seven Rules for the Metaverse, which attempts to rein in some of the more hyperbolic musings about what the Metaverse is or could be.

Tim Sweeney & Epic Games have been talking a lot about the metaverse, but the hype train really left the station after Mark Zuckerberg told Casey Newton on July 22nd, “I think we will effectively transition from people seeing us as primarily being a social media company to being a metaverse company.” There was CNBC’s Jim Cramer trying to explain the Metaverse on July 29th, and then an explosion of companies talking about “our metaverse” or “enterprise metaverse” or “metaverses.” This led to a series of Tweets from Parisi from August 11th to 29th incrementally laying some boundaries and principles for what would become The Seven Rules of the Metaverse, which formally wrote up and published yesterday.

Parisi’s Seven Rules for the Metaverse
1. There is Only One Metaverse.
2. The Metaverse is for Everyone.
3. Nobody Controls the Metaverse.
4. The Metaverse is Open.
5. The Metaverse is Hardware-Independent.
6. The Metaverse is a Network.
7. The Metaverse is the Internet.

HTC’s Alvin Graylin presented Some of Parisi’s Rules for the Metaverse at Metaverse Conference in Beijing on September 15th, which inspired me to track down his original Tweets, and document them in a Tweet.

This led me to reconnecting with Parisi, and setting up a time to chat with him on October 22nd after he had a chance to properly write them all up. So it was great to have a chance to talk through and unpack them more over the course of a 70-minute conversation.


Here’s a thread of my comments brainstorming what a human rights framework might look like for the Metaverse in response to a comment made by Erica Southgate.

This is a listener-supported podcast through the Voices of VR Patreon.

Music: Fatality

Rough Transcript

[00:00:05.452] Kent Bye: The Voices of VR Podcast. Hello, my name is Kent Bye, and welcome to The Voices of VR Podcast. So in today's episode, I have Tony Parisi, who wrote a bit of a manifesto called The Seven Rules of the Metaverse. This was in response to a lot of the discussions that have been happening within the larger tech industry about the metaverse. It really got kicked off to the next level when Mark Zuckerberg told Casey Newton on July 22nd that I think over the next five years or so in the next chapter of our company, I think we will effectively transition from people seeing us as primarily being a social media company to being a metaverse company. So that really kicked things off, having a company like Facebook that they're now transitioning from being social media to metaverse. I had everything from Jim Cramer on CNBC trying to explain what the metaverse is and then There's a lot of ways in which that metaverse is an expansion of what we already know from the internet, but there's also things that we aren't quite sure about what exactly the metaverse is. There's a lot of people using it as a bit of a hype or marketing term. In response to that, from August 11-31, Tony Parisi sent out a number of different tweets responding to, like, here are some rules to try to understand what the metaverse is. He expanded that into a whole Medium article that was just published yesterday. So I had a chance to catch up with Tony on Friday to be able to walk through and unpack and discuss his seven rules for the metaverse. So that's what we're covering on today's episode of the Voices of VR podcast. So this interview with Tony happened on Friday, October 22nd, 2021. So with that, let's go ahead and dive right in.

[00:01:38.557] Tony Parisi: Hey there, I'm Tony Parisi. I work at Unity Technologies as the head of AR and VR ads and e-commerce innovation. You probably know about Unity Technologies. We power quite a bit of the world's interactive real-time 3D content across gaming, on all the gaming platforms, mobile, console, desktop. We also power many, many other industries with real-time 3D solutions and power a lot of the world's immersive content, VR, AR, mixed reality.

[00:02:06.240] Kent Bye: Great. Well, it's great to have you back on the podcast. And also you just published the seven rules of the metaverse, which we'll be diving into, but maybe before we get into the nuances of this, what I would say is a proper manifesto of the metaverse. Maybe you could just give us a little bit more context as to your background and your journey into XR.

[00:02:24.983] Tony Parisi: Sure, so I came up in technology as a software engineer. I was always sort of eagerly looking at cool new projects to work on, had done some 3D graphics programming back in the 90s, relocated to San Francisco and connected with a friend I had just made, another ex-East Coaster, Mark Pesci. And he told me about this idea of connecting 3D graphics to the worldwide web. He'd been doing a VR startup before that and been burned by being way too early in VR in the early 90s. But he was still kind of fired up about doing stuff like this. And I was like, I like 3D graphics. I like this worldwide web thing. Mosaic had just come out, one of the early internet browsers that made the internet a friendly place to be. And we built a little project to create 3D for the web back when you needed a desktop computer with some hefty added graphics card to do it. And people were dialed up on dial-up modems, all with an idea we were going to build something inspired by Neil Stephenson's Snow Crash. the metaverse. We knew it was probably simple 3D graphics and spinning a few things around and a couple of animated characters to start, but that would kind of unlock the potential of what you could do. So we built first a proof of concept that we called Labyrinth, which has some mythological implications to it. But the idea of 3D helping you navigate what was going to become this crazy information universe, it was clear that's the way the world was going to go with the internet. And we thought, okay, that's a cool prototype. And we were pretty happy about that work. And then we were invited to present that at the first ever worldwide web development conference. So now imagine there's a bunch of folks learning how to even just develop for the web, create the first standards, tech tools, browsers, et cetera. And they were already looking around for maybe we need VR for this. which was kind of wild. I wouldn't have expected that. I'd kind of entered it in the spirit of this is a fun prototype to work on. I'm going to learn some stuff, et cetera. And it ended up getting a lot of attention and came to be known as something as a virtual reality markup language or BRML. So it was a bit of a misnomer in the sense it wasn't VR as we know it today. It wasn't using immersive hardware. It was interactive 3D graphics that people could communicate with, you know, publish the content, possibly do multiplayer kind of communication avatar based stuff. But it was all on flat screens, because that's what people had. And again, even then, we were kind of aggressive about what, you know, the kind of computers that could power this stuff. Well, it ends up being a big deal. Silicon Valley companies got behind it. Silicon Graphics participated heavily. They contributed their initial technology. These fellows, Rick Carey and Gavin Bell, working in the inventor team at Silicon Graphics, were doing desktop graphics for 3D for film industry and other things. They said, we can take this interactive. We adapted a lot of their tech. That came to become an international standard we know today as VRML, which still exists, believe it or not. 20 plus years later. And eventually, you know, it all sort of wound down. It was a very early effort to do that. But literally every company in Silicon Valley that was of any import, Oracle, Sun, it just went on and on. Apple, all the big players had something going on. IBM with VR, VRML. But it was early. It was very early. Not enough computers were powerful enough. We were still dialing up. Broadband hadn't even really happened yet. And forget what consumers even could understand about this. They were still going to CompUSA to get their PC. They were connecting on the internet using a CD that they got from AOL that was shipped to them in the mail to get on America Online. And so the idea that we're going to go straight into the metaverse, yeah, it was a great idea. But Maybe we're a little rambunctious about it, let's just say. So that was fun, but boy, I tell you, that gave me a taste at the end of the day to keep going at this. And more stuff kept happening. And I talk about this in that other piece I published called The Third Wave that, you know, there's folks kept attacking the problem from one way or another. Philip Rosedale got inspired by our work. He was working at Real Networks doing streaming video, which was also still way too early. And he's like, I'm going to go build the Metaverse. And he started a company called Second Life. which did really amazing they're still here to this day. They never scaled up to the level of say you know the large social networks, even though it's sort of effectively trying to do the same thing create a place where people can have an identity, communicate together express themselves create. But, you know, very early technologically, there's a lot to get right in 3D, whether you're talking about the graphic side or interaction and all that. And so they've done an admirable job of building an amazing piece of tech that continues to this day and a thriving community. And programs just keep getting better and better. But in a sense, that's kind of a proprietary version of an early version of the metaverse. which we're going to talk about in a bit, in the sense that it wasn't interoperable with anybody else's technology. There were some folks who started doing open versions of being able to have a different piece of client software to connect to the Linden servers and all that, but still at the end of the day, kind of inching its way toward this. And a lot has happened in the intervening years since the founding of Second Life back in the early 2000s. which include the rise of massive multiplayer gaming, everything going on in the web and mobile, and all these things that have happened in the intervening 15 to 20 years. It's just been incredible, but not quite metaverse yet, which we'll get to as we unpack it. And along the way, a little thing happened called Oculus and the big resurgence of VR. during which time I was playing around a lot with some independent projects in VR. That's when I met you, I think. And then I made the wise decision to join this amazing company, Unity, who powers so much of the world's real-time 3D graphics to help this company move beyond our gaming business, because everyone was seeing the benefits of 3D now. Like, largely, the lens was VR, AR, the hardware that absolutely needed 3D graphics. But to a customer, everyone who started unpacking that realized, Oh, well, I can do the same 3D stuff on the other computers and tablets I have. Oh, this graphic stuff helps with a lot of my problems, right? And this is where we're at, and it's the evolution we've been on the last few years, is industries using real-time 3D. More and more consumer use cases you're seeing, you know, all that might be that I've been on at Unity in the last three years or so. Up until this year, I'm doing something new I can share with you. but it was about, you know, 3D and advertising and our mobile game advertising network using AR for that and the value there. And we're seeing all that innovation going on at Snap, Facebook and all those, you know, TikTok and doing 3D for social lenses. So it's just been waves and waves of this amazing innovation that's been going on. And just to catch you up fully for this preamble, The last year or so I've been working on e-commerce products. So what can we do to help people sell more or save time and money creating the imagery using a 3D graphics pipeline or delivering interactive 3D content? A lot of exciting stuff going on there. You know, can't really talk specifically about products so much right now. We have a couple of authoring tools over in that. Sphere. Forma is a product you may have heard about where now that's helping people take models of products and create experiences out of them. So there's just a lot of these really cool things going on. And then this thing happened a little bit earlier this year. It's been two, three months ago now. where all of a sudden, everybody starts dropping the M word again. They start talking about the metaverse. It would seem almost out of nowhere. I mean, you know, we know the flashpoint when Facebook started talking about it and everything, but that unlocked so much so quickly. that I think we would agree, you and me, Kent, that that was pent up, that was coming. I mean, we'd all been working toward this in one way or another, either through the lens of VR or social networks or these other things, right? And here we are. And as things started flying, I felt the need to start, how do I want to say it? Offering some perspective. And that's where we're at. And that gets us to today.

[00:10:02.907] Kent Bye: Awesome. Well, thank you for that context setting, because, you know, you self-identified as one of the Metaverse OGs, the original gangsters who arguably wrote some of the first code for the Metaverse with VRML. And I think there's a way in which that you've been thinking about this space for a long, long time. In fact, the first time that we met was at the Silicon Valley Virtual Reality Conference in 2014, which was really the first professional conference of the modern resurgence of VR with all these people that were super excited. I saw Firefox get up and give a pitch that they were going to try to bring VR to the web. The way that I got into VR was through 3GS and watching one of the different Oculus lenses. And I was doing a separate project. I come with a web development background. And so I had spent a number of years in open source and Drupal. So I kind of had that ethos of how the interplay between what was happening in what is essentially these kind of closed wall gardens with Unity and Unreal. But, you know, there's a certain way that you need that to be on the bleeding edge where you may not be worried about backwards compatibility as much, but you need to be up to date with whatever the latest innovations are. And you need that to be able to get to the point where then eventually when you start to settle it down, then you can have something like WebXR come in. The most frustrating thing over the last seven years was to have these conversations with Vlad Spasivich, who says the Metaverse is already here, it's just in 2D and it's the web, which is some echoes of those ideas in this manifesto here that you just wrote up of the seven rules of the Metaverse. But there's been a lot of ways in which even the collaboration of building the specification, which originally started with WebVR, wasn't considering all the things with augmented reality. Microsoft came in and then it stripped into the WebXR and then they really wanted to make it so that it was a future-proof spec that really was taking account with all the different innovations that were happening with the XR industry, which I think it needed to have that process of really settling things down. So yeah, to have it now with, you know, we already have OpenXR, which all these different people came together to have different interoperable standards at the hardware level, there's WebXR to be able to interface with the web. And then for me, when I'm looking at this modern era of this, what would happen was that you have the lawsuit from Epic Games versus Apple, and it actually became a point of contention as to whether or not Fortnite was a game or was a social experience in the sort of taxonomy of how things are classified. And Epic Games was kind of arguing, well, this is more about our vision of the metaverse. So that was happening within a legal court system, which I think took it into another level. And then Mark Zuckerberg came up in July and basically said, well, Facebook's now a metaverse company, which, you know, they've been working towards that. And, you know, they may actually be in the process of rebranding that's yet to be seen, but there has been a lot of people that have been, let's say, using the term metaverse liberally. Is there anything that you could point to specifically where you saw one use of somebody using the metaverse where you're like, you know what, this has gotten out of control. I need to, you know, maybe put some boundaries for how you conceive of what this term of the metaverse means and all the different principles behind it.

[00:12:57.957] Tony Parisi: Oh, well, there's already in these couple of months, there are legion examples of things that I'd say probably just rankled or irritated me, that it motivated me to start again, providing some perspective and some forward looking thoughts as well. Before we dive into that, because I think it's going to touch on some of the rules you want to talk about that I just wrote about. I want to double down on the conversations with Vlad because I was there that's when we met at that Silicon Valley 2014 Silicon Valley VR conference, and I had to sit down with Josh Carpenter, and Vlad Vukovich, who was then working at Mozilla, and they said we want to do this what do you think and it was like well hell yeah I mean I'm sitting with the inventor WebGL, right? I mean, this is great. I couldn't believe they wanted to get into it that aggressively and quickly. And I immediately followed that. I said, I'm with you. What can I do to help? And I immediately followed that. I was starting a WebVR meetup group in San Francisco, and they came and did the first presentations. And Brandon Jones from Google was there too. And he was starting to work on it together with them, like right from the beginning, internet level collaboration, which is going to be a recurring theme of what you and I talked about today, I believe, because the internet is not just about tech. It is about a way to work together, right? Because this is key to the whole thing. And so I was super excited on that. And yes, I am as frustrated as you or more that it's maybe taken seven years to get to that vision, but But interoperability and standards and the technologies around that do take some time. And I want to just call back to the other thing you pointed out about proprietary pieces or walled gardens or all that. They have their necessary time and place in evolution. And there is this constant tension and interplay between innovation and then interoperation. And it's very hard to do them both at the same time. A lot of the innovations that we are all reaping the benefits from now in real-time 3D graphics would not have happened had it not been for a voracious focus on, say, solving problems for game development in consoles, desktops, and then mobile. And that was all about serving business models that could support those, consumer use cases that made sense, creators who knew how to do that and for what purposes and learn there. It would have been hard, and this is the hindsight I have on this, it's really hard to boil that whole ocean at once. So all these innovations come from different places and they come together and they play together. I also have no shortage of specific opinions about the approach being taken with web browsers. It's been very evolutionary. I think we may be coming to a point where we need to change some thinking on some of that stuff. But we have to figure out a way to do that and not throw the baby out with the bathwater. We need the cooperative spirit. We need to leverage whatever technology is there. But I honestly think the current browser stacks are quite mired in what they've had to do for over 20 years already. And there's possibly some breaking points there. We'll have to see. Because these systems were designed for something completely different. And there's only so much evolution you can do. But we've seen time and again, the internet evolves. It's super robust as a system, as whatever we would call it, an ecosystem, a global ecosystem. So I'm fully confident that that's going to happen over the next several years as we metaverse ourselves, as we can get there. So anyway, yeah, I've already rambled a bit. So I forgot that last point we left off with here, because it's also going to be relevant. So I don't know if you recall, but I'm sure we'll get back to it.

[00:16:13.701] Kent Bye: Oh, yeah, just to reflect that, you know, Neil Trevitt of the Kronos group has presented at GDC 2015. He said for every successful open standard, there's a proprietary competitor. So a lot of times the proprietary competitor comes first, because it really requires a lot of capital investment and the innovation can happen there. But once the innovation happens. And that proprietary innovation is usually vertically integrated in ways that are very tightly coupled. But in order to really make it into a standard, it has to be more loosely coupled. And then it rises the tide for everybody, but it becomes a little bit of the different design decisions of how to match parity. And so to have something like WebXR at the parity of something that has been happening from Unreal Engine and Unity has taken time and it may actually never get there or maybe it will, I suspect it will eventually, but it's just more of a matter of the ways in which that you want to be able to build stuff that has the persistence that you can watch in 20 to 30 or 50 years from now, just like people can fire up a VRML. versus the stuff that's going to be integrating the latest technology and the latest extensions and the latest stuff that's going to be kind of like the modular approach of the, the web extensions that we have of being able to have modules and extend things out. So having a solid platform, but be able to keep up with that innovation with the modules, which is what the approach of the WebEx are and the larger standards community has been taking, but usually it's those proprietary things that go first. So. I think it's important.

[00:17:32.952] Tony Parisi: 100%. And that was that last bit you were talking about. In fact, yes, Kronos, OpenXR, and all these things, they all have their place. They trail. They do typically trail. But in order to get scale, in order to get to a place where more people can benefit from these innovations in different areas, different industries, different disciplines, Those are the motivators to get to interoperability and standards. And something I talk about in this latest piece is you and I wouldn't be having this conversation right now if it wasn't for all these standards. I mean, everything from the headphones you're wearing, the mics you use, to the video protocols that help us have this conversation now on Zoom, none of this would be possible without open standards.

[00:18:13.366] Kent Bye: Yeah. Yeah. Well, you just published the seven rules of the metaverse, which I think is a real proper manifesto. I'm going to call it Tony Precy's manifesto of the seven rules of the metaverse, because it is righteous in the way that you're trying to set some boundaries for discussion. And, you know, you really trying to set the context for the intention for this. It's basically like, I love how you're, you're kind of not really connected to the outcome. You're saying that this is going to happen anyway, and people will be able to judge how close these rules were as things actually play out. But

[00:18:41.337] Tony Parisi: It also lets me off the hook, to be honest, because I mean, I say it right in the preamble. These are my opinions. Yeah. And time will tell.

[00:18:48.849] Kent Bye: Yeah. But I'd invite you to kind of read through the rules of the metaverse.

[00:18:54.457] Tony Parisi: Sure thing, man. So here we go. Rule number one, there is only one metaverse. It is the sum total of all publicly accessible virtual worlds, real time 3D content and related media that are connected on an open global network controlled by none and accessible to all. The first and foremost one is almost This is probably the thing that was bugging me the most that got me started on all this, which started the incremental tweet stream that you were watching that played out over a small number of days or a couple of weeks, two months ago or so that I started on this, was people using the word metaverses or calling something a metaverse. It just seems like such a massive category modeling error to me. This idea of the metaverse is the idea of an open, interoperable network of everyone communicating like the web or the Internet, but predominantly spatial, you know, 3D being the predominant media type. So Vlad's right. We're in the metaverse now, but it's just as envisioned, as imagined and fully realized. It will be in 3D because that is the way we're all communicating now. It's coming. We're seeing it. Real-time 3D is invading every aspect of the computing landscape. So this is the convergence of spatial computing and the internet at the end of the day. And we don't talk about there being internets. There's one internet. There's one web. There may be intranets. there may be private corporate websites, but that's not the web and the open public one. So it is a logical absurdity. It's almost aberrant to me. And it just, I'm such a geek for language that I find it offensive personally. And I also think though, whether it is via conscious intent or sloppy thinking, it is also currently being, I believe, exploited for advantage. A time of confusion like this allows folks to frame discussions and direct conversations in a certain way. So to me, framing and language is critical. And so the first bullet is really about how we think about it, how we frame it. Almost everything else in here is much more either ethnology about how usage happens or it's technology, opinion, Oregon process, and things like that. This one is purely about framing and how we think that we're building a global communications infrastructure in 3D based on the one we already have with all these other media types. That's what's in play. And there's only going to be one of them.

[00:21:31.968] Kent Bye: Yeah, I like how at the end you say, re-read this whole section by substituting, instead of metaverse, using internet or web for metaverse. You know, just like we don't say, come to my web, you say, come to my side or come to my world. So that's a subsection of this nested context where the highest level of context is the internet. We don't say the internets, it's one internet. Just the same, there's one metaverse. And there's going to be sub things that we call it, whether your world, your virtual world, your space, your environment, node zone, which is some of the different options you have here. But I have seen that trend of saying, this is our metaverse, which is annoying because it's like, no, it's like there's one metaverse.

[00:22:10.146] Tony Parisi: Yeah. That's a theme park, you know, come to my place in the metaverse. That makes sense to me. Right. Yeah. Exactly. We don't think of the internet that way. We should not think of the metaverse that way. And that will also play in a little later when I talk about these areas where we talk about the internet and going to the metaverse, we're going to need to do everything so much differently. No, it's just not the way it's going to work. That's when we get to rule seven, we'll talk about that some more. So yeah, for me, this is a very important framing. And to the extent that it can avoid confusion and help people think about this more clearly, Excellent. And that's goodness. And I, again, I also think there may be some bad actors out there just trying to go for it and like, you know, frame it differently. But I mostly don't even think that's the major thing. I say this in the preamble to I think people are just trying to get a grip on it. And I'm just like, OK, what does this really mean? But let's just straighten this out now. And so, by the way, my intent for this entire piece, just so you know, is if it helps clarify thinking for a few people and then, you know, rally around this a little bit and can be motivated by it and inspired, that's all I'm trying to do here in general. Right. And so for this one, it's just like, let's clear this up. This is what we're going for, folks, that it's the future of the Internet.

[00:23:19.172] Kent Bye: Yeah, you say at the end that this shouldn't have to be said, but because there's so much diffusion of what people actually mean when they're using it, that it really needed to be articulated. So I think this is a good response to that. So, but let's move on to the second one. So the first one is that there is only one metaverse. And the second rule is that the metaverse is for everyone.

[00:23:38.139] Tony Parisi: Rule number two, the metaverse is for everyone. It's for everyone as defined by our most broad societal rules of inclusion. By the way, this isn't a political statement, it's ethnographic and it has political and socioeconomic implications. And what I mean by ethnographics here is in the user experience sense, as in, you know, how people use software, what uses is it designed for? So that's in the strict sort of computer science and UX sense, I mean that. Look, okay, first of all, why do we do anything with computers if it's not for people? People is everyone. I mean, if we're making technology, it needs to be for the greatest number of use cases, I would hope, and for the greatest number of folks for the greatest benefit. So classic utilitarianism in that sense, I guess. But I mean, that should be what inspires us, and it should be our North Star in the very general terms. When you break that down a little more, I think it has some very functional and, again, sort of ethnological implications, which are, you know, this isn't just about making games. We all love games. And, you know, Fortnite's freaking awesome. But that giant nation of Fortnite nation of 300 million people, that's only 5% of the world's population. That's only 10% of the people who have devices, whatever that number is. And it's just for gaming. And, you know, the use cases will extend a little bit and all that. It's also play and storytelling. But, you know, some people want to use 3D to communicate about, like, buying products or learning a new thing or, you know, whatever the future of Wikipedia is going to be here so that, you know, get some new knowledge or training for safety. All of these things are going to happen in the metaverse. So we need to be thinking about systems infrastructure that supports all of those use cases and all of those business models.

[00:25:22.494] Kent Bye: Yeah. And I think a big thing, if you look at the web, a lot of the W3C, there's a lot of ways in which they've integrated into the web aspects of accessibility and making sure that no matter what abilities that you don't have full capacity in, that there's still a way that you have access and be able to remix different aspects of that. So I think that's going to be a continued issue within XR technology in general is the ways to make it more and more accessible. And as they have that more accessible options, it's just going to be better for everybody. So yeah, you know, you're not trying to exclude anyone from the metaverse. The metaverse is really literally for everyone, just like the web or the internet can be for anyone.

[00:25:57.474] Tony Parisi: Yeah. And obviously if you can't play games in or can't do some of these other use cases, that's not optimal either. It does need to support these things we're talking about. Well, for lots of people on these other devices and with accessibility. And we talked about that a little bit later as well, but yes, absolutely.

[00:26:13.320] Kent Bye: Oh, awesome. So, okay, moving on. Rule number three, what's that?

[00:26:17.322] Tony Parisi: Rule number three, nobody controls the metaverse. It is the universal commons for digital communication and commerce, intermediated as needs dictate, governed as required for the common interest, toward the greatest good for the greatest number. I bet you like this one, Kent.

[00:26:34.213] Kent Bye: Well, I think when I think of science fiction, I think of IOI and how they have this desire to try to own and control different aspects of what in that case is the Oasis, but that in some ways, the Oasis is a bit of a proxy for the metaverse. But I think as, as we've gone on, one of the things that Tim Sweeney, I did an interview with Tim Sweeney back in like 2015. And he's like, you know, a lot of the science fiction about the metaverse was written before all these games had come about. And so just the ways that video games and the different platforms and ways you have these immersive worlds are different for how this played out. But just to have one entity be in control of all of it is sort of a science fiction dystopic vision that we really don't want to live into.

[00:27:14.728] Tony Parisi: And just because those novels have painted the picture of that future, that doesn't mean that's what the future is going to be. And that is definitely not my point of view on this. I might come back to this a lot. We have the opportunity to build something fabulous and make the world better. And we have a lot of things motivating us to lean and do that these days. A lot of things around us challenging us in our lives. And definitely double down on the idea that one controlling entity is probably not a good thing. We've seen what happens when there's too much concentration of power in any of these larger global communication systems right now. And we are suffering certain ill effects from that. And we're learning and growing and changing from that. And there's all movements afoot through decentralization and other things that we can talk about that are gonna move us in that direction. And I will say this now, and I am going to use rule number one, I'm going to use strict meaning and say, any metaverse that's not this is not a metaverse I want to live in. And I don't think most people do. So again, I'm using the word in the abstract there, so it's okay to be singular or plural about it. Yeah, no, we don't want this. Inevitably, it won't happen. There will be too many forces

[00:28:26.625] Kent Bye: I hope so, yeah. I mean, what we've seen with the mobile phone market of having like a functional duopoly between Apple's and iOS and with Google and Android, I would like to have more than a duopoly that is really having a say with whatever happens with this vision of the metaverse, which I think is kind of going away from the mobile phone self-contained unit and going back into these open interoperable aspects of a platform. But the control comes if like, if there's only one company that controls the main hardware and there's basically a monopoly there, then that's not going to be great for the metaverse either because we want to have, you know, I think I get a lot of solace from seeing what happened with open XR that it was really a industry wide collaboration to have like the open standards to really prevent this from having just one headset to really build in to make XR technology much more like an open PC where you have different ways to kind of plug and play or Yeah, just to standardize the different SDKs and everything. But I think for me, the fear of nobody controls the metaverse is that, you know, when I hear companies like Facebook say that they're going to rebrand and become a metaverse company. And, you know, I think they've had a lot of stuff where they can legitimately say that with producing XR technology, with the Oculus browser that they've created, with being a supporter of OpenXR and going all in there. You know, there's a lot of ways.

[00:29:38.980] Tony Parisi: Arguably the best consumer hardware. depending on how you measure that. I mean, the quest is amazing, right?

[00:29:45.604] Kent Bye: Yeah. They've really delivered on a lot of those things. I think the thing where I get in is like, there's been other potential anti-competitive, anti-trust types of behavior of trying to squash competition. When it comes to like having games interoperable between Facebook and Valve, you know, Valve has really been the leader when it comes to creating interoperable portals of being able to play any game on their system, whereas an Oculus hasn't been historically had that same type of behavior. So when they say that they're a metaverse company, I look at that and I'm skeptical, but I'm also a wait and see to see how they live into what I would see these rules, see if they are going to be doing things that are trying to squash competition or try to own different aspects of the metaverse rather than creating what we want, which is more of like the web or the Internet, where there's a thousand flowers that can bloom and all be a part of co-creating the metaverse together.

[00:30:34.992] Tony Parisi: And I'm sure, Kent, you and your kind, and I mean that in the kindest way, are going to be eternally vigilant. And we're here for that, and thank you. I mean, my job, and I call this out, like, I'm going to stay out of the politics of that. Industry is going to do what it's going to do. Companies are going to do what they're going to do. It's kind of cool that Zuck actually said, a metaverse company. That's quite good, actually. He didn't say, we're the metaverse. That's nice. Anyway, so look, I think it's great. Companies need to do what they need to do to build their businesses. Much of it is in service to consumer convenience, quality hardware, a lot of these things. They're not all for ill intent. So let's be hopeful about that and know that there are many, many other market forces and regulatory forces and other things that'll come into play as time goes on. I honestly think the market forces alone will keep this ultimately a level playing field. Honestly, I mean, I just did this and we like open XR. I mean, it's just great examples. You've got creators who need more choice. You've got consumers who want more choice. As long as there's a free market, well-regulated, I think we have a shot. I'll just leave it at that. And I do, again, my focus is on tag products, creating value for everyone. So for my part, I feel like if we can keep doing that as an industry, good things are going to happen.

[00:31:51.837] Kent Bye: Yeah. Yeah. So yeah, from my perspective of observing that there's tracing what is being said and what the actions are and making sure there's not too big of a gap, like, okay, do they really mean this or just tracing what the real intention is? And I think that's, you know, people are always just skeptical with the gap between the distance and the actions, but yeah.

[00:32:08.487] Tony Parisi: So I think there's also a little bit of paranoia. I'm not going to say there's not well-founded concern, but there's also a lot of paranoia and a lot of folks often think they overreact to be honest. I just think it's super nuanced.

[00:32:19.971] Kent Bye: Yeah. I mean, there's, I mean, yeah, anyway, it's a longer discussion, but I wanted to make one.

[00:32:25.073] Tony Parisi: I know we've got a few more roles to get through today.

[00:32:27.074] Kent Bye: Yeah. There's, there's the point that I want to say in terms of the forces of decentralization. So there's a part of the decentralized finance and the NFTs, non-fungible Tunkins, blockchain. I just had a conversation with Adam Draper, looking at some of these different confluences of the crypto world with the WebXR world. So for me, I think there's going to be a part of the new economic models of value exchange, and especially the Web3, which is a lot about the decentralized aspects of trading these crypto technologies that I think are also going to be a part of it. And how that continues to evolve and play out, I think is also an important part. But I think with those principles of a lot of that Web3 and decentralized tech, it sort of embodies that nobody controls the metaverse. Assuming that these networks of cryptocurrencies have proper protections against Sybil attacks and having those networks being taken over, all that stuff. There's things that algorithmically they're trying to do to be able to have it truly decentralized and not be controlled by anyone.

[00:33:18.041] Tony Parisi: I think a place to be more, yeah. So there's the concern over the large companies we already talked about that, whatever. there is a concern that only folks who are even steeped in DAOs and all this stuff are starting to think about and get hip to already, which is we need to worry about that. We need to worry about the new decentralized mechanisms being taken over or unduly influenced by hostiles over time. 100%. Like you were saying, there's already work underway. So outside of my domain, I'm not this person. I'm just learning blockchain. I'm just getting on some NFTs. I'm a 3D person. But this is an infrastructural movement that is part of it. It's a creator movement that's part of it. pithy thing I would say is the kids are already building this with or without you or me talking about it. It's happening. Web3 is happening right now. And to a lot of folks steeped in Web3 and blockchain, they think that's the metaverse. I think there's more to it than that, but that is important work. And actually what Adam and the gang at Boost are doing is they're doing a lot of great work. Adam has been a believer in this for many, many years now through all the ups and downs around blockchain and crypto and everything. So, wow, good for them to for staying on it.

[00:34:25.794] Kent Bye: All right, well, let's move on to rule number four.

[00:34:27.456] Tony Parisi: The metaverse is open. It's built on interoperability technologies and tools connected by a rigorously defined and broadly agreed upon free and open communication standards.

[00:34:40.170] Kent Bye: Yeah. So this is really what we were talking about before in terms of OpenXR and WebXR. And a lot of the different ways in which we're even communicating here, it's built on the foundation of those open standards and they move slow and they're not always the sexy thing to cover. It's something I've been tracking over the years and just seeing the importance of that because it's really going to open up all these new possibilities. What's the opposite of this? I guess it's this closed walled garden aspect of people not really embracing the interoperability and they have a virtual world and they're calling it the metaverse, but it really has no aspect of it relating or having any connectivity. And so I guess that's the question as to what degree is something like Fortnite already a metaverse versus at what point does it shift into being a metaverse now that it embodies different aspects of the openness and the interoperability aspects of whatever that may mean.

[00:35:30.614] Tony Parisi: Yeah, well, so again, there's a, we talked about this a little at the top. There's an interplay between proprietary tech advancing innovation and opening it up to scale and achieve interoperability. And I think there's multiple things that suggest and mandate and require openness. One is scale. Another one is this interoperability you talked about. If I make an investment as a content creator or a consumer, I don't say dressing my avatar up or whatever, or, you know, the lines are blurring between content creator and consumer anyway. Investments in those, they can't be trapped in one system. So that's anything from the server to APIs or whatever. This all has to be done in a way that as a creator, I can make the right investments in this stuff and they can be leveraged in as many places as possible. I also need to be able to use systems that work together because no one person or company or business will solve all my problems most likely. There's just too many. So in an open system, you're going to have some people with avatar creator tech that make one piece and other people have the world server and other folks have engine. And these things can all work together if everyone's agreeing on the ways they speak to each other. And that means consumers, creators have the most choice, freedom of movement, choice and payments, a lot of these things. And they are critical. And again, just even from a pure system standpoint, we wouldn't be able to have global conversations like you and I are having unless all of the pieces connect and talk to each other.

[00:36:58.895] Kent Bye: Yeah, I think of all the different ones, this is probably the maybe a sticking point for a lot of different companies in terms of how open they actually are.

[00:37:06.522] Tony Parisi: I think in terms of like literally my life, Ken, it's literally my life for 25 plus years. Right. Because I've always worked on tech that would get these things to talk to each other. And often at loggerheads with folks who are always saying, you know, the proprietary stuff's better. I can control the whole thing. Why am I talking to five people? Committees never work. You know, the old adage, a camel is a horse designed by a committee. I mean, it can be. But when you know how to do it, when groups like Kronos and W3C have been at this for so many years and many and many other standards bodies like ATF, IEEE, they know how to do it. And there are ways to foster innovation, not standardize something that won't work. You'll learn that the hard way. You write a spec, you standardize it. It may even go through big bodies like ISO to be never used in the market. Those things happen. But the world of tech standards has gotten more and more mature where like, for example, in the Kronos group, and I was one of the leads on the GLTF initiative for a long time. We did all our specking out in the open, but we always developed multiple implementations. We wouldn't consider standardizing on something until people had developed extensions and more than one person developed them, and they would interoperate. So you're proving that two different folks could do it. Multiple tools could work together. These were always gates to get to a place before we'd even consider advancing it to Kronos membership for standard. And now GLTF, by the way, has been submitted to ISO as well. You go through a maturing and a hardening process by doing that. And I talk about this a little more when it gets to sort of the internet side of this and getting more specific as we go through the rules. I believe it's somewhat naive and often it's in certain people's interest to say that it can't work through open standards. Again, agree, they trail, they have to trail. That's just the nature of it. But at some point, if you want to get to a bigger game, you go open.

[00:38:57.239] Kent Bye: Yeah. And I think the thing where I see it is say like avatar creation and different wearables where a lot of the economy and how the business model is working is that you are buying it within the context of that economic exchange. And so to export it may disrupt that or to import other things may also disrupt that. So that's probably one of the biggest sticking points of being able to export the wearables and your avatar. There's VRM as a open standard of taking like a GLTF model of a avatar representation. and then creating the VRM open standard around that. But you know, there's folks like Webiverse that have been using VRM and then adding different wearable as NFTs or crypto based. But yeah, rule number four is going to be the thing that if companies are not really living into the full potential of that, then the difference between an internet and an intranet, I'd say it's more like the intranet version of something that is similar to the web and you can have very much the same kind of user experience of it, but it's still behind a paywall or walled garden.

[00:39:53.739] Tony Parisi: Do we have a name for that? Is that an introverse?

[00:39:57.223] Kent Bye: Introverse, maybe, maybe we just made it.

[00:39:58.945] Tony Parisi: Let's coin it right now. We just made it up. Okay. The introverse. Yeah. For introverts, but hopefully for some extroverts as well. But yeah, I mean, maybe it's an introverse and, and those are going to exist and they're going to be based on metaverse technology as well. Right. And that would be the distinction between metaverse, the global communications infrastructure and the tech that powers it. Because this is what we have with web tech and internet tech today. There are corporate uses of that, and they often get nailed down with more proprietary and value-added features, and that's all to the good. Again, this is to have computers help us as much as they can, right? You don't want the standard to get in the way of that.

[00:40:34.687] Kent Bye: Right. Right. Yeah. Well, let's move on to the last three here. So we have rule number five.

[00:40:41.206] Tony Parisi: Rule number five, the metaverse is hardware independent. The metaverse is hardware independent, accessible on any device, regardless of display type and form factor. A couple of things I really want to emphasize here. I think there's a lot of confusion in the world around the idea or conflation of immersive tech, VR, mixed reality hardware, and the metaverse, because that's going to be a very attractive on-ramp and access point for experiencing rich 3D interactive multiplayer communications and content and entertainment and all of it. It's going to be amazing. That's not the whole game here, though. That is one set of hardware form factors. There's plenty to be experienced in 3D on flat screens, and again, that gets back to my roots in doing this in VRML, that will facilitate communication, help people work daily lives, entertain folks. There are billions of mobile handsets on the world. If they're not connecting to the metaverse, we're not gonna have a metaverse for 15 more years based on the trajectory of usable, cheap hardware, whatever that number is. I mean, we're all hopeful. new smart glasses are coming and all that, but we know there'll be more generations of those. But honestly, those will be good for some use cases and not all. And sometimes it'll be, you know, they've got content accessed in a big display wall somewhere, or, oh my God, have you been to TeamLab? I went to the Asian Art Museum in San Francisco yesterday, TeamLab, it's immersive art projection. And I and my wife Marina was dancing around in a flower dress among a bunch of floating flowers. And it's all 2D projection with mirrors. And it was the most immersive thing I've been at in a while. And if we cannot experience content in those venues as well, we're not achieving the full potential of this meeting. Back to accessibility, you mentioned it before too. I mean, not everyone's gonna be capable of even experiencing that way if they have impairments or disabilities.

[00:42:41.693] Kent Bye: Yeah, so as I hear you go through the rule number five of the metaverse is hardware independent, there is a temptation for people to say, well, in order to be the metaverse, you have to be immersed in VR. And if by your definition of the one metaverse back in rule number one, you say it's a publicly accessible virtual world that has real time 3d content and related media. we're kind of going from this paradigm shift from 2D to 3D. And it's like the immersive 3D world nature that makes it different. Of course, we've had the shift from 2D to 3D in video games for a long, long time from like the 2D platformer into these 3D virtual worlds. And so putting a point for when did the metaverse begin in that sense, we've been playing in these 3D worlds for a long time. And so I think that's probably the one thing that Also, maybe confusing is like for people thinking about the metaverse is what's the difference between, say, a video game and that 3D content versus if you have access, is it have VR enabled? And so something like, say, Decentraland doesn't have VR enabled yet. Is that part of the metaverse or because it's a 3D world is now all of a sudden it's a part of that. But Second Life has been, you know, a 3D virtual world for a long time. So for me, it starts to get into these little nuances for what is the difference between some of these different things?

[00:43:57.344] Tony Parisi: Well, certainly, I think you would agree that the video game industry has done pretty good delivering on flat screens for a couple of decades already and didn't need VR hardware to be successful. And now we're seeing how VR hardware is doing great things in gaming, but that's just the next step. Likewise, the metaverse will not need fully immersive hardware to be successful. Back to your other points, Second Life is not the metaverse simply because it's not open. It's very metaverse-y. I'd say Decentraland is much closer to the point. It's decentralized, it's web accessible. Any web clients like in Altspace and anything can get you there. It doesn't matter what the hardware is. This one's been grating on me since the first time someone stuck a Rift on my face. 2012. Well, it wasn't the first time. It was my buddy, Dave Arandash. And he was like, check this out. And I was like, wow, I lasted 10 minutes in this. This is pretty good. You know, just all the motion stuff. This is pretty good. I like it. It's not ready yet. And then six months later, someone saying, well, this is what WebGL was built for. Nobody needs 3D graphics if you don't have a Rift. And I was like, I just so disagree with that. There's so many uses for 3D graphics and it's independent of form factor. So to me, the defining characteristic of the metaverse is the predominance of 3D media and the predominance of a spatially organized thing. Though not all of it. You don't always need presence with an avatar. You don't always need spatial organization. To me, it's 3D content. I mean, that's a fine line. And I don't think you can say today, you know, all the product spins you do and all the Facebook and snap AR and Tik Tok AR you're doing is quite the metaverse yet, but it's getting there.

[00:45:40.516] Kent Bye: Hmm. Yeah. Well, these last two, I think will kind of flesh out some of the other questions that come up in terms of like things that are a client that self-contained versus whether it has some sort of portal onto the web or WebEx are, but maybe let's start with number six, because the metaverse is a network.

[00:45:55.992] Tony Parisi: Yes. Rule number six, the metaverse is a network. The metaverse is a computer network connecting the world's publicly accessible virtual experiences, real time 3D content and related media. This now gets into its statement about technology and product user experience. It's not a program. It's not one program. It's not one title or one app, not one specific type of content. It is a network of interoperating computers at the technical level, exchanging information the way internet things do. It's me accessing from some access point, again, regardless of device, connecting to an experience that's powered by computers, presumably running in the cloud or on P2P networks. and presenting that graphics to me so that I can do something interactive and communicate with someone else, most likely, whether that's asynchronous, you know, point-to-point communication, publishing experience or synchronous real-time communication, chatting with avatars or building together like Minecraft. It is a network. It is not a program.

[00:46:58.877] Kent Bye: One of the things that I think might be a sticking point in this one is the world's publicly accessible virtual experiences. And then the reason why I say that is when I look at something like VRChat, there's an ability to start a public instance of something and there's ability to have a private instance. So how do you differentiate between private instances within these worlds? Is that if it doesn't have any public instances?

[00:47:20.495] Tony Parisi: That's nuanced, and you may be the one person in the world who might get me to change the language on something like this. I wasn't really excited to think about revisions on this. I got a little input from a few trusted sources prior to publishing. What I meant by publicly is not that any experience is something for all the world to see. It's that it's accessed via a public forum. That is, I'm trying to contrast this here from private intranets, private corporate uses of it, is this sense of publicly here. Clearly, if folks want to dive into a private chat, go for it, or group chats, and that should all be governed by permissions and privacy concerns and anything else people want. So if that is not clear, I may clarify that. I may not change the language here. I may clarify it below, though, because that's a really good point. I certainly didn't mean that.

[00:48:12.137] Kent Bye: Well, yeah, I guess there's dimensions and the 2D web is public, but when you have your identity, what ends up most of the really interesting thing that's happening is all these private shared instances. And I think that's going to be just a natural part of when you walk into a city, you walk down the public street, but there's also, you know, you have private property where you're going into these worlds, but maybe it's the accessible through that public street. If you can't get into it through that public street in any fashion, then. Is it a self-contained part that's in maybe a sphere of the metaverse, but an introverse? Yeah, there may be language where we differentiate that, but yeah.

[00:48:46.328] Tony Parisi: A mini-verse. All the verses, come one, come all. No, thank you for that. I am going to ponder this and reflect a little bit because I might need a clarifying point on this. The reason there's so many bullets and so many little bits and pieces here is because I was thinking about a lot of these kind of aspects of it. I frankly did not even consider that though. And so honestly, let me go do a little work on that because I think that is important to emphasize that private communication needs to be part of this.

[00:49:19.069] Kent Bye: Yeah, because there's, there's a part of which I'm speaking from my experiences on social VR apps, like VR chat, where I often ends up when I'm connected to people that I know it's usually in a private instance because you don't just want anybody kind of disrupting that just the same. Like when you invite someone over to your house, you're in your house and you don't. have anybody just walking through it, you create that private context. So I do think there's going to be private context within things that are publicly accessible. It's almost like this nested context where you do have the onboarding that allows you to have access to it, but VRChat's not totally open, so maybe that's a bit of a mute point. But even say Mozilla Hubs, which is using the infrastructure, I'd say it's the closest to say the social VR experience that feels very metaverse-y, even then the URLs can be private where you don't want just anybody coming in, just like there's private Zoom calls and everything else. So the public-private aspect there is the one thing that I'd push back on.

[00:50:11.161] Tony Parisi: No, thank you for that, Kent. It's a really important point. I will absolutely go back and reflect on that. And there may be some changes based on that, because I agree with everything you said. I just hadn't really thought that bit through. There is nothing more annoying than the sort of Wild West and things being too public about current metaverse environments. I mean, it's even true on the 2D web now, as you said. And so to that extent, one needs to be thoughtful about giving folks the tools and forms for doing whatever private communication they need.

[00:50:43.138] Kent Bye: Yeah. Yeah, and there are going to be a lot of private worlds. It's compelling enough that it's going to be a part of whatever the eventual final form of the metaverse is going to be. But let's move on to the final rule. What's rule number seven?

[00:50:55.749] Tony Parisi: Rule number seven, the metaverse is the internet. The metaverse is the internet, enhanced and upgraded to consistently deliver 3D content, spatially organized information and experiences, and real-time synchronous communication. So A, it is an evolution of what we're in today. So like Vlad said, we're already in it. It's just getting more and more 3D-ish. But also, there's some upgrades about to happen as we metaverse this thing. I mean, we need more tech. We need more fundamental pieces of tech here and there. I've offered a few suggestions. We need to dust off a few pieces that work, but maybe not so well. Rethink a few of those. We have some great pieces already, in my opinion. Some of those not so humble opinion and unbiased standards like GLTF, they'll just keep getting better. I mean, I'm a firm believer that's a good starting point. You know, WebGL, great for the rendering. They've done their best, again, with WebGL and some of the other stuff around the WebXR specs to make it work as well as you can in the context of jamming 3D into 2D pages. But there's some backflips that have had to happen for that. And it just makes you wonder if it's time to actually do some clean slate whiteboarding, start with a blank canvas on some bits, but you don't throw the whole thing out. And so partly I'm talking about this too to just say, look, there's a temptation because this is so new and exciting. especially coming from folks who are really into the VR and the immersion, aren't such internet people, where it's like, oh, we're going to need this whole thing. How do we do this? How do we do that? Folks, we have been solving these problems for decades and decades already in internet land. ITF, W3C, Kronos, it goes down the list of processes, organizations, practitioners, who have done this, know how to do this, interplay between writing specs and standards and folks just writing code, like 3JS isn't a standard. That's the JavaScript library most people use to write WebGL content. It's freaking fabulous. It's just, it's an open source project, not a standard, right? We need all of that. And by the way, even though I'm saying all this old geezers know where the bodies are buried, we've done this all before, the IATF knows how to do this. Don't get me wrong. The energy and innovation that's gonna happen are from new generations of folks getting involved in this. I just like to think they'd do a Google or two and hope to get a little perspective that they don't need to reinvent everything. So there's a certain naivety there in play. And I'd say also there's a little, you know, there are some actors out there who would like to, try to exert undue influence in some areas to maybe not have people understand that this is solvable through open internet technology and processes. So it's gonna be wild, but this is what's happening. The internet is going 3D. When the internet is 3D, that's the metaverse, we're done. We'll look back when that happens and go like, we did it. I don't know when that's gonna be, but that's it. I mean, sure, people can say a lot of things. Show me a better plan. This is the plan. That's how I feel about this stuff, Kent. And it's partly wizened experience and arrows in the backs, but it's also just like, it's that simple. I mean, it's that simple and it's that complicated because there's a lot of hard work to do, but we can at least simplify this thing by not looking at it going, how do we invent the internet all over again? Like that's going to happen anyway. It ain't going to happen as a practical matter. Right.

[00:54:19.869] Kent Bye: Yeah, I think the last point of the metaverse is the internet. When I talked to Vlad, he said, the metaverse is already here. It's already here in 2D. It's just the web. Internet is a larger context that the web is within the context of the internet. And all of these other technologies of web three is also a subsection of the internet. And so the confluence of all the web three with the web, with other 3D technologies is going to be this new confluence that I think this spatial immersive experience, the immersion is a part where it could be dependent on how much you can get immersed based upon if it's a 2d portal, you know, people saying there's a like the AR metaverse. And so, you know, be curious to hear your thought as to whether or not if there's an AR portion that people have been called the magic verse or the AR cloud or the some other names that people have thrown out in terms of describing what this metaverse is, but tied to IRL life and having a layer of this virtual augmentation that's overlaying different parts of the metaverse, but connecting it to the wide world. If you're saying the metaverse is the internet, does that exclude different aspects of the IRL augmented reality aspects of the metaverse that may be also adding in there?

[00:55:29.388] Tony Parisi: Hell no. So here's the thing. I think that distinction between an AR and real world IoT and things and you pointed things and it's all the real world based metaverse and the one where it doesn't do that, that's just kind of silly. We already have the internet of things. We already have a situation where you can point your phone at more and more things and the phone knows what it is. And you get information about it. And the phone ingests it and turns it into reusable real-time 3D content for other uses. That all converges too. If the metaverse isn't subsuming that too, we're doing it wrong. It's got to encompass all that. I appreciated John Hanke's piece on this. I'm sure you've read. I think more than anything, he was probably, I'm going to imagine, I haven't talked to John about this. I'm going to imagine he's probably a little vexed and frustrated by, you know, the dystopian aspects of this. He even calls that out. A lot of the nonsensical aspects of the stuff bouncing around the internet right now. So felt compelled to speak and what they're doing at Niantic and what we're doing with ARCloud as an industry and all of that to the good. And for these use cases, incredible. The through line is 3D for communication. It's our computers making our lives better. Why would you be inclusive of pure escapism use cases where you jack fully into some matrix type experience in the fully immersive VR and haptics and astute? And God knows what other senses. Why would you exclude that or the extreme real world point of phone or smart glasses that everything in the world comes alive with digital magic? Why are they not part of the same continuum the way the internet is part of all that today? There's no reason they couldn't be if we envision it that way.

[00:57:13.368] Kent Bye: Do you think it needs a separate name to differentiate the AR versus the VR version of the Metaverse? No, I don't.

[00:57:20.694] Tony Parisi: Okay. Now, when it comes to the Metaverse, I mean, no, I think, I mean, so much of this name game, by the way, is the inside baseball. Now, given the fact that not only Mark Zuckerberg, but Jim Cramer has given us a voice now. He did a great job, by the way. I mean, I poked a lot of fun at that, but Jim Cramer talking about the metaverse on CNBC Squawk, I mean, that was genius. That was so great because he got everything right in this bumbling way of suit who's speaking to the finance press and audience. I mean, it was great. It was great. This one's gonna hit the consciousness really quickly. I can't tell you how many people outside of my industry Normal people have dropped the M word to me already. So we're going to have to deal with that one. So there's inside baseball at the level that you and I talk about it and that we're dealing with it as an industry to try and advance it. We went through so much of that to still, in my opinion, very unsatisfying outcomes when it came to the XR, what do we name it, debate. We haven't come up with a term. Consumers won't care at the end of the day. They may not care about the term metaverse at the end of the day, though it is really invading the public consciousness in a hardcore way right now. So they may just call it the internet. Or they may just think about it as some of these major access points already, the way most people think about doing a search is doing a Google. That's the way of it. We shall see. I honestly don't think we need to work so hard at distinguishing between the AR metaverse and the VR metaverse. I mean, to what end? The use case is definitely some different use cases. A lot of the practice is the same. I think the way a lot of people are discovering the metaverse is through Snap and TikTok and Facebook and augmented reality on your phone. So that's all great. Yeah. I mean, why not just roll with it and just call it the metaverse? I mean, what do we lose?

[00:59:17.912] Kent Bye: I think it's the same discussions that happen with people having confusion around AR, VR. When you're talking about different experiences and you think about the affordances, there's new affordances that come when you're connected to IRL. So it's sort of a linguistic shorthand of the differences that allow you to really shortcut the difference between VR and AR as an example. Being in the center of gravity of virtual world is going to be different than you being in the center of gravity of the context of your surrounding world and you're overlaying aspects of context on top of that. Whereas in VR, you're doing a complete context shift. So there's abilities to have more contextual dimensions that are available for you and your palette of different experiences that are different than AR. So there's a value for being able to differentiate the difference between the AR and VR aspects. And so is there going to be an equivalent type of difference between an experience that is in the fully immersed virtual world version of it versus a more mixed or augmented reality version of it. And the different affordances, is that going to merit the need of calling it something different so that people understand what the aggregation of all those different affordances may mean when they're talking to other people about it?

[01:00:24.805] Tony Parisi: Yeah, look, I wouldn't disagree with anything you said. There are needs to identify and differentiate some of those different types of experiences for the practitioners who make the stuff for the consumers and users and folks who are using it for whatever the utility is. But let's just step back and go like, okay, let's imagine a world in three years. So it's metaverse time, we're built, it's real, we're all in earnest, we're doing it. What are people gonna be doing in the large? They're gonna be making places in the metaverse, the creators, right? They're going to be going into the metaverse, however, through their phone, going fully in with a quest for the next hardware or mixed reality. And they're going to go to a place or destination. And they're going to do things with people. And they're going to create stuff and add it to the thing. That's what's going to be happening. Just the way people got on the internet and started doing things. And the verbs will come. And the nouns will come. In this early how we build it phase, it's important for the thinkers like us to make sure we do make those differentiations. But we shouldn't let that become a point of conflict, I think. I think we can do both. I think we can embrace the whole initiative, but understand the distinctions and swim lanes, because people do need to build products. Consumers need to use them and all the things. So we need to do it. Let's not get wrapped around the X on it. There's no consumer in the world who gives a crap about the XR debate. Not a one. Where it might matter, though, is ad agency. Am I doing VR, mixed reality? Who do I need to hire? Am I making a game? Is this a VR game or an AR game? These are real important. You've got to figure that out, because you won't be able to build something, and you won't be able to make a product that people can use. So let's not get too obsessed with it, I would say.

[01:02:09.592] Kent Bye: Well, just to wrap up here, I just want to read through the rules and ask you a final question here. So rule number one, there's only one metaverse. Rule number two, the metaverse is for everyone. Rule number three, nobody controls the metaverse. Rule number four, the metaverse is open. Rule number five, the metaverse is hardware independent. Rule number six, the metaverse is a network. And rule number seven, the metaverse is the internet. So just to wrap things up here, I'm curious for you, what do you think the ultimate potential of the metaverse might be and what it might be able to enable?

[01:02:43.600] Tony Parisi: 3D graphics are going to change the computing landscape. It's already happening. This gets back to my lens. That's why these other distinctions I don't care about. It's about using the power of real-time 3D to make our computers work better for us. And there are so many things you can do with that, that we would never have enough time to cover them all. And we know the sort of ongoing discussion together and within the industry, we've already identified so many playful and useful and communication use cases for this, we could go on and on. I think For me, I'm entering a very positive phase of this after going through lots of travails over the years, but trying to evangelize technology like this, fits and starts and progress, it's all coming together. And we have the opportunity in front of us to do some really fun stuff, but more importantly, some really super world-changing stuff. There is so much going on in life around us that is challenging. And we need to meet those challenges head on first and foremost, and then we can go beyond them to some greatness. But right now, a little bit of house is burning situation that we've got to get through. I mean, I'm talking literally climate, pandemics, other things in social areas, social spheres and politics that this next movement into the metaverse can actually help. will motivate business interests as well as political, as well as social movements to start fixing. And then once we get through that, we can get back to really creating something wonderful in the world. And along the way, we're gonna create amazing and beautiful things too. I can't remember who was said recently, a guy named Jonathan Glick said that the metaverse is gonna make fantasy more real. This is gonna make the world more fabulous. And I'm a firm believer in that. And I'm shocking myself in how I'm excited about it because I just, I didn't think I'd be there right now. You know, there'd be a lot to be cynical about. And again, a lot of people with this metaverse stuff are immediately going to the ready player one and good, but I don't, you know, we've got a great opportunity here. And again, if you just get bottom line and back to getting our computers to make our lives better, that could be the North star right there. The metaverse is the next step in that.

[01:05:12.841] Kent Bye: Yeah, like that thing that Tim Swimmy told me, which was that the way in which some of these science fiction novels were written came before the video game industry, but also a lot of what happened with the web and the internet. So we have a lot of metaphors that we have now that we can build upon that are expanding our sense of what the metaverse will become and eventually evolve into, regardless of whatever a science fiction author tapped into the collective zeitgeist of the kind of imaginal realm that is able to kind of tune into where things may be going. you know, tapping into some of the human aspects of what the experience may feel like, but the tech stack and how it actually plays out in the larger context of the world and the dystopia or the cyberpunk context under which those different things are written, that's not an inevitability that we have to have that larger context in order to actually make the metaverse work. and that there's a temptation to take a interpretation of that as like, almost like the Bible of the mind of verse when really, it's this dynamic changing evolving process that's in relationship and conversation with this evolution of the technology over many, many years and taking out where we can see the technology is at right now, and where to take it from there. And I'm just really grateful that you were irked enough to be able to sit down and share some of your elder wisdom here, because it was bothering me. I just didn't sit down to be able to articulate it as clearly as you could, based upon your own journey of this from the very beginnings of the Metaverse with VRML. And to sort of lay out these as a framework, I think it's just going to be really helpful and a guiding light and principles for people to really evaluate when people are using the Metaverse There was a moment when I was talking to Adam Draper and he was like, you never wanna be able to like evaluate someone as an investor and say, hmm, is this an appropriate use of the word metaverse? But this is at least a heuristic that we can point to to say, hmm, well, actually it's not open or it's not interoperable or it's not a network or not the internet, you know, so starting to- I'm gonna talk to Adam.

[01:07:04.112] Tony Parisi: I imagine he'll offer that to his companies as a quick little, we can have the handy reference card, not the 17 minute read on Medium. Yeah, well, I appreciate that, Ken. And look, even within the context of this conversation, you've already added to the dialogue around this, and we might refine it a little bit, which is also part of that process. Honestly, all the dystopian stuff, let's face it, science fiction novels sell better when there's, they sell better in this genre. That's okay. It's great. They also, they're hero's journeys, and those work really well against the backdrop of a lot of conflict. They're also cautionary tales, good speculative fiction, all for it, right? Sometimes they're oddly spot on, and I think it was probably Gibson and Stevenson were more spot on about some things. But if you look at Stevenson's metaverse, it's kind of crappy, but it's not that bad. It's not the Matrix. Yeah, that's one we don't want. So yeah, they're not Bibles. They're not handbooks. They better not be. They're not instruction manuals. They better not be. Hopefully they're like police caution tape or I don't know, something else. Do not enter signs.

[01:08:08.322] Kent Bye: Awesome. Well, is there anything else that's left and said that you'd like to say to the immersive community?

[01:08:14.385] Tony Parisi: just that this is a great journey that we're on together. I'm really excited and happy, delighted even, that we've hit a flashpoint, that this has happened just now, and that this can be a really wonderful journey we can go on together if we kind of just keep to the North Star, keep the simple things simple, not over-complicate them, appreciate the hard problems, and work collaboratively because we're all going to benefit from this. And I can't wait to see how this unfolds in the next several years.

[01:08:50.541] Kent Bye: Awesome. Well, Tony, thanks so much for being on this journey, this lifelong journey. You've been working on this for a long, long time, one of the Metaverse OGs. And just to be able to do all the work that you've been doing and all the stuff that you're doing now at Unity and to come out and put out this piece, Thanks for writing it and putting it out into the world and contributing to the larger conversation. But also just thanks for coming on and helping unpack it and discuss it and break it down and kind of ruminate on different things. And yeah, just thanks for your time to be able to come share your insights about what the metaverse could be based upon these different rules and guardrails as we move towards this.

[01:09:25.598] Tony Parisi: Well, you know, I appreciate you, Kent. I really appreciate this time today. And it makes me even more excited. So I can't wait for the next one. And stay tuned for another manifesto or two in the coming weeks and months. This is fun. And I'm looking forward to more dialogue with you.

[01:09:42.864] Kent Bye: So that was Tony Parisi. He's the head of AR VR ads and economic innovation at Unity. So I have a number of different takeaways about this interview is that first of all, well, first, the whole concept of the metaverse is seeded from science fiction, but then we have a lot of embodied metaphors for what virtual worlds mean, what virtual reality experiences mean, what the internet means. What video games mean and so when you're blending and blurring all these lines together you're in some ways transcending the limitations of what the internet means and You're including new aspects of things that weren't included there before for me at a baseline. There's the 3d virtual worlds which I have been around for a long time, with both video games as well as things like Second Life. But the difference is that now that you're able to explore them through the web, is that open interoperability aspects of the internet being combined with these other aspects of 3D virtual worlds. And also, there's a level of immersion that I think also is dependent upon whether or not you're in VR or AR, or whether or not you're looking at a 2D portal. So, there's some question there in terms of, okay, what is it that the public is going to accept as what they understand the metaverse to be? Now, there being only one metaverse is very analogous to how there's only one Internet and there's only a World Wide Web. But we still have people that are saying our metaverse or this metaverse or that metaverse. And so I think in some ways there's a bit of trying to make a firm stand of, you know, this is what I believe the metaverse is. And Tony said, you know, I don't want to live in anything that isn't this. And so this is very aspirational in terms of, like, a set of guiding principles for people to actually build it. Because I think that's the big thing, is that we're still building aspects of the metaverse. So, if there's nothing else, this is a bit of a catalyst or a provocation to inspire people to go out there and actually build a lot of the technologies to make it happen. And, you know, there's going to be a lot of things in terms of, you know, is this open or not open, and things like VRChat or RecRoom or Roblox. or even Facebook with whatever they create for their more closed-wall garden aspects of the metaverse. You know, how open or how interoperable is it? And I think that's a bit of the principles that we want to see, but in practicality, how does that actually play out? The whole other question around public, private, and, you know, our experiences and these private instances and public instances, there's actually some language that, as a result of my conversation with Tony, that he went ahead and actually made an additional point that I just want to read through here. So originally we were talking about these issues of public-private, but under rule number three of nobody controls the metaverse, it is the universal commons for digital communication and commerce, intermediated as needs dictate, governed as required for the common interest, toward the greatest good for the greatest number. So we were talking earlier about the public-private and whether or not private instances were part of the metaverse, kind of like how on the internet, if you have your own company's intranet, which is not accessible from the outside world, then it becomes more of a self-contained island that is more of an intranet than the internet. But to add on to the concerns around the public-private, he says, for the avoidance of doubt, this rule refers to the entirety of the metaverse, not specific realms within the metaverse, control of which is entirely up to their stakeholders. Company can, will, and should control their own realms within the metaverse. Individuals and groups can, will, and should be free to create private or restricted access pages under their own control. Experiences created for private use would be expected to be afforded the proper safeguards and protections, treated much like private spaces in the physical world. So yeah, just looking at the analog for what happens in the actual world when you have public and private spaces and translating those same concepts into the metaverse and to have these immersive 3D spatial worlds be more and more like what already happens and the differentiations between public and private already is there. So I think it makes sense to incorporate those aspects of the private into the world. So glad to see that he made that little addendum. And I also wanted to give a shout out to Erica Southgate, who said after I had tweeted out the seven rules from Tony, she said the metaverse should uphold human rights. And at first I was like, well, does the internet uphold human rights? I was resistant to first of that as a concept because I was like thinking about it as this low level technological architecture in the code. Tony did mention in his seven rules from the metaverse that there is going to be a need for governance. I think in some ways we're recreating are these different towns and cities and countries and there's going to be a need for aspects of governance and with Aspects of governance then there's going to be the need to embed human rights into all of the different aspects of these virtual worlds So this is a part of how maybe we haven't fully figured out all of the ethical frameworks around how to even deal with big massive networks and social media and So we're dealing with some of the aftermath there. And as we start to expand things out into 3D, then we have to transcend the limitations of all the previous metaphors that we have and also include all these other concepts like governance as well as human rights. And so I did a bit of a deep dive into brainstorming all the different approaches from human rights After participating on the RightsCon panel with the Electronic Frontier Foundation, and also talking to Britton Heller last year, who's also a human rights lawyer, the human rights perspective had really gotten onto my radar. There's lots of really interesting things that are happening around the world, everything from neurorights being a part of the Constitution within Chile, or the Charter of Human Rights and Principles for the Internet from the net rights. There's also the Barcelona Charter of Citizens' Rights. presented on February 21st, 2019. And then on July 14th, 2021, there was the government of Spain passed the Charter of Digital Rights, which was talked about at the non-invasive neural interfaces ethical considerations conference that happened sponsored by Columbia Neural Rights and Facebook Reality Labs back in May of 2021. So I'll link into a thread down at the bottom, you can get a little bit more information into some of that. So, yeah, I think it's going to be an important part. And how actually to pull that off, I think, is a big open question for, is this something that comes from a cultural level? Because, you know, usually human rights can be a soft law that informs the laws that are more enforceable within the more smaller regional areas. So I guess a final point would be that, you know, Tony is working at unity technologies and, you know, unity has one of those clothes while gardens, but I think that the way that Tony is speaking is that, you know, a lot of the innovation happens there and then there's able to export some of that stuff out into the open web. And so Vlads Vesivic that we were talking about here in this conversation has been working at Unity Labs for a while. And I know Tony's there, and he's been very much into this vision of the open web for a long, long time. And there has been a lot more public statements from some of the leadership from Unity. This is from the second quarter earnings call from this year from the CEO, John Riccitello, where he says that we believe in the emergence of the metaverse, and Unity will be a major player in defining and help lead its creation and operation. So he goes on and says we believe in the adoption of real-time 3d will change the way people interact with digital content and entertainment Just as digital replaced analog hd replaced standard definition in the coming year 5g will replace 3g or 4g Real-time 3d will replace linear and flat 2d content and we expect more of the world's content to be 3d real-time and interactive We believe this cycle would create an adjustable market that presents us with decades of opportunity at unity So, yeah, part of the metaverse being this 3D spatial interactive and Unity being game engine is certainly going to be a huge part of it. But up to this point, they've been very focused on having their own apps across all these different platforms. But they have been having different aspects of web export. And I'm really, really encouraged to see these last two statements, which is at Unity, we believe in interoperability and in the open Internet, even as the Internet becomes more 3D, more real time, more interactive and more like the metaverse we imagine. Unity's mission and worldview centers on a belief that the world is a better place with more creators. At Unity, we intend to support and shape the metaverse. We will emphasize content creation, cross-platform access, and narrowing the distance and reducing the friction between creators and consumers. So super, super exciting stuff to be able to start to see some of those different discussions about how the different game engines will start to be publishing and distributing on the web, presumably on different aspects of WebXR, but people have more access and more distribution platforms that are available. So very, very excited to see where that goes, especially as Tony leading a lot of the thinking in terms of the future of immersive technologies and to have that fused with someone like Unity, I think is super, super exciting. So that's all I have for today, and I just wanted to thank you for listening to the Voices of VR podcast. And if you enjoy the podcast, then please do spread the word, tell your friends, and consider becoming a member of the Patreon. This is a listener-supported podcast, and so I do rely upon donations from people like yourself in order to continue to bring you this coverage. So you can become a member and donate today at patreon.com slash Voices of VR. Thanks for listening.

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