A defining force
Parallel to its runaway perils, the Metaverse also offers an unbound potential for the excellence to thrive and reach the intended audience
The universe of yore is the Metaverse of this millennium. It is no longer a world of correspondence but the world of messaging that has emerged as the force driving and defining enterprises, corporates and personal relationships. In fact more, as even ethics and morality have now been diluted to irrelevance. You can do it, is the new Magic Mantra, means do not matter, only ends do. Values have been replaced by self-serving interests as defined in and by oneself. 'Inventing Anna', Netflix's popular serial, is teaching us that the step from near success to total success through any means is a very short one.
The internet connected us all to the world wide web through speeds of nano seconds. Soon enough, the exhilaration of expressing oneself freely, without hindrance, captivated millions across the world. The virtual world has no encumbrances, no barriers and no bars to fact or fiction. Anyone can alter the reality as per her inspiration of the moment. The residents of the virtual world will buy into this altered reality having the power to form and escalate this into a narrative that can influence millions of people across the Metaverse. The womb of the innovator is pregnant with so many possibilities that suddenly we are flooded with waves of airborne castles. Truly, the build-ups are stranger than fiction, not to mention the facts.
Every Cyber prodigy has a potential audience in multiples of thousands. One instance can make you famous or your deed or composition can go viral, as per tech lingo. The life of a Pradeep Mehra changes overnight and takes him close to realising his ambition when an observant camera catches him sprinting ten kilometres in preparation for joining the Army. A private determination gets a public applause and recognition which would not have been possible even if a hundred PR agencies pooled their efforts. The media takes up his cause, endearing his devotion to thousands of people. The medium is now more important than the message. Keep posting to stay in the social stream. Communication in all forms has become a viral passion. Twitter, Instagram, Tinder, and the like, and, not to miss, what is derisively referred to as the school of the unthinking literates, the Whatsapp University, whose syllabus is fictional and factually infirm as a generality. Learning at this university is now involuntary. There is no fail and no pass. Everything passes muster. All learning is right only if you believe so and not to worry even if you are the only believer, you can still claim to represent the induced perception of the majority. A mere endorsement by this university, and it becomes the last word, never mind, if all evidence points to the contrary. Into the Metaverse of informational divides, we have all been ushered into an unfenced world. Suddenly, what is called truth has many views and sides. We have entered the era of the post-truth.
It is little wonder then, that the art of communication has assumed a pre-eminent character, a must have quality to negotiate the webs of one's existence. With prose, visual and graphic media giving an easy access, indeed with the touch of a keypad, reaching into any corner of the world is within one's grasp. You can make a movie, publish a book, start a national or a worldwide movement, associate with a cause or causes, if you have a passion there is an opportunity waiting to earn a name, fame or money. The blank screen represents a canvas on which you can paint or write your masterpiece. Rewards and responses are immediate too. This is the future world.
All engagements have got embedded in this ether. Strangely, it is called Artificial Intelligence. Every micro movement of the inhabitants of this earth is now visible to a keen and an interested eye. Governments can monitor on a real-time basis all movements within their borders and, through satellites, surveil their enemies and friends as well. While real dangers have multiplied, the passive dangers have grown manifold. The potential to misuse data has made populations very vulnerable to financial and physical risks.
Among all the risks, the most paramount are the dangers posed to democratic governance. Politics is undergoing a huge change as the influence of social media is getting used to change, counter or consolidate or alter perceptions about issues that endear a party or groupings. This is where the nation's vulnerabilities begin to multiply. The lead political parties have built up huge sized social media outfits with multiple anonymous influencers churning out all kinds of supposed achievements of their leaders. The range is wide, from managing world events to cleaning the back streets of the adopted villages. The doubters or the naysayers are ruthlessly trolled, calling into question their intelligence and even more seriously their sanity. In the extreme, even the patriotism of the critical voices is doubted, should the critic persist in his desire to represent a counter view.
There are no real boundaries to this virtual world and we better get used to its pathless ways. Yes, politics has taken a new trajectory and ideology has fallen by the wayside. Ethics are now moulded to suit the occasion as if they have acquired a flubber like mentality, and nearly as durable. The more reckless have, in a sense, weaponised the social media. The wars have entered our phones and its presentation is biased to the extent that we don't know the villains or the victims. Surely, this mayhem needs a steadying hand. Perhaps we need to invent a real God whose omniscience will be feared.
Even amidst the various perils of a runaway social media, those seeking to create excellence have a never before chance to harness the same boundaryless world to their purpose. We can all search, collect and captivate our chosen audience to our talents. Everything from art to commerce, to fight for a dear cause or to create a personal niche, the sky is no longer the limit. It is the limitless beyond now within our grasp. Perhaps we need a large dose of kindness to make the Metaverse a nicer place.
Views expressed are personal