Leading up to CES, I wrote a piece reflecting on the cutting edge technology of CES 2012. It was an interesting exercise for a number of reasons — not least the memory of the buzzwords of 10 years ago.
That year, LTE and ultrabooks topped the list. One had a great run. The other, not so much. That is, the strength of the buzz at CES in any given year is not predictive of longevity. By mid-2012, the stories surrounding the ultrabook’s death had already begun in earnest.
This year, the halls of CES may have been quite devoid of human life, but it looks like you couldn’t walk a foot without tripping over the metaverse. Just over two months after Facebook rebranded as Meta, a bit of metsploitation is to be expected at a show like CES, where companies are as invested in a good hook as a good product. In a show like this it’s understandable – if you’re not a company like, say, Samsung or Hyundai, it’s hard to stand out. Of course, both giant brands never met something they didn’t want to make fresh.
I’ll spare you the details about the smaller companies. this thread is pretty well versed in the aforementioned meta. Honestly, I don’t want to blow up startups in the hopes they’ll take on a bit of that shine (although, if I’m being honest, “Goart Metaverse” is a phrase that will wriggle in my psyche until my body releases the DMT in my brain during my last moments on earth).
What I’ll say for sure is that if you weren’t aware of what a metaverse was prior to the start of CES, the show didn’t do a particularly good job of clarifying — aside from the fact that it probably definitely features some goofy Memojis and probably some VR gear. And actually, as I type that, I recognize that it’s probably as good a description of metaverse as any of the others.
Receiving a press release from Hyundai titled “Hyundai Motor Shares Vision on New Metamobility Concept, ‘Expanding Human Reach’ through Robotics and the Metaverse at CES 2022” may have pushed me over the edge. Or maybe it was the companion video to Boston Dynamics’ Spot hanging out on Mars with a bunch of weird metaverse puppets. It was surreal to see a sci-fi video on the frontier in which a real robot was sent to Mars still orbiting the metaverse.
Hyundai’s concept is nothing short of interesting, using advanced robots like Boston Dynamics to act as real avatars for our metaversial interactions, but it also shows how much even ostensibly car companies rely on this concept for the future. Samsung, meanwhile, offered a sort of stopgap solution (betaverse?) as we sit down and wait for the real one to shake out. Here it was a “virtual showcase” of the company’s wares, at least sidestepping the very real irony of traveling to Las Vegas to show the metaverse in person.
The company notes:
Imagine: you just got the lifestyle TV you always wanted on your wish list, home appliances that improve your quality of life and the latest stylish smartphone. What if we told you that you could use those innovative products to decorate your home?
It’s an interesting scenario to think about, and it will become a reality once the metaverse is up and running. Samsung Electronics is innovating with the metaverse in several ways and has created an option for those interested in CES 2022 to experience the event online.
It must be a confusing time to be one of the most optimistic on the metaverse. Everyone, from beauty brands to wearables. It’s simultaneously hopeful to see so much excitement surrounding the concept, but also frustrating to witness what an emerging metaverse of shit can be. That is, will the metaverse lose all meaning before there is a metaverse to metaverse in? Your metaverse is just as good as mine (metaverse).