So Facebook renamed its parent company to ”Meta”, in preparation for its implementation of the metaverse, its own version of mixing VR and AR technologies with reality. Like how Microsoft tried with “mixed reality”. Like how Google Glasses initially tried back in 2014.
What does this mean for the future of the internet?
This can be great for games. This can be great for businesses with an international presence. This could be great for disabled or injured people to better interact with society. There could be new ways to help people with various phobias, especially agoraphobia … this could help aid in treating transsexuals with extreme body dysphoria before they undergo their sex change surgeries.
One way many transsexuals try to relieve their gender dysphoria is playing video games as a character of the opposite sex; comparatively, these technologies could allow a trans person to design a live, 3D digital avatar to finally interact with the real world as a member of the opposite sex. Adjust their height, change their vocal tone and pitch, manipulate the appear of secondary physical characteristics, whatever they need to manipulate to assimilate digitally. Others would address them properly without “asking for pronouns”, without “deadnaming” or “misgendering”, at least avoid discrimination or harassment. Work, order out, go on virtual dates, socialize, you name it!
This could also be far cheaper for some transsexuals to access and utilize, especially if they can’t afford or access SRS for the time being.
Like with video game and internet addictions, however, this could create an addiction where transsexuals may not want to log off, as re-emerging into the real world could create a serious resurgence in dysphoria. They could become social recluses and just interact with the world remotely, not unlike the hikikomori of Japan, the tang ping of China, or the various sedae of Korea. Real world relationships would get disrupted or ghosted. Sleep and basic hygiene may be skipped to avoid having to deal with their real-world body; constantly be stimulated by the artificial lights from whatever device used to interact may interrupt their circadian rhythm and worsen other health issues. Impulses may increase. Without actually and physically eating and drinking, they may begin to suffer malnutrition; because their online friends and associates may only see them virtually/augmently, they may not know what’s going and if something were to happen, not know to call paramedics. If the IP address is not protected, this can open them up to threats in homophobic and transphobic regimens.
The benefits and drawbacks of this evolution of the Internet will be exponentially greater than what the current internet allows. Thanks to the internet, transsexuals can better find others to bond with, find online resources to HRT and SRS, and be able to some extent live as members of the opposite sex online until we can do so offline. That ease of communications and access is a two-edged sword—the internet also makes us easier targets for online and real-world harassment and discrimination if doxed or outed. The future will only expand both the good and bad—it’s best we take this optimistically, with a good dose of caution.