In the 2011 novel Ready Player One from Ernest Cline and the 2018 Steven Spielberg movie based off the book, people around the world enter what is known as the OASIS. This is essentially a virtual reality world where people spend almost all their lives. In recent weeks, the idea of such a place has taken shape as conversations around the metaverse have escalated.

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella has this week weighed in on the metaverse discussion. Depending on how you view the concept as a whole, the comments Nadella made are worrying or exciting. In Ready Player One, the virtual landscape is painted as a wonderland where everyone can do and be whatever they want.

However, it is also a place of exploitation and where people become lost and disconnected from reality.


Of course, we are some way off a completely immersive virtual realm. It is also worth noting Ready Player One is neither an amazing read nor an amazing watch. But the point still stands, the dangers of a realized metaverse are clear.

Still, tech companies are moving forward. Facebook believe enough in its Metaverse that it has rebranded its whole operation under the “Meta” name. So, where does Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella stand?

Blending Worlds

In a video call with Harvard Business Review’s Editor-in-Chief Adi Ignatius, Nadella was asked about how a metaverse would entangle our real world into a 3D virtual one. Nadella sees it the other way around.

He argues the idea is not to put a virtual/digital reality over real life, but instead to place the real world within a computer. Nadella points to Microsoft Teams, which allows users to place real work functionality into the digital product. Furthermore, the CEO says the concept of a Metaverse is also not really new:

“[…] So video [-based meetings] transcending to 2D avatars and 3D immersive meetings is probably as practical a way for us to think about how the metaverse really emerges,” he says.

I will leave it up to you whether the whole idea of a Metaverse is scary or just a natural technological step we must take.

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