What's Real World

Weekly I/O#39

There's a physical world and a digital world. And the real world is actually both. Being digitally present in a place that they physically can't be present doesn't mean it's not real.

Podcast: Mark Zuckerberg on Long-Term Strategy, Business and Parenting Principles, Personal Energy Management, Building the Metaverse, Seeking Awe, the Role of Religion, Solving Deep Technical Challenges (e.g., AR), and More

As to the rise of remote work, Mark thinks it is good since a lot of research shows people's opportunities—social, economic, and otherwise—are generally pretty anchored to physically where they are. When people can feel more present together even they are physically in different places through virtual and augmented reality [1], it naturally unlocks more social and economic opportunities. Therefore, people will have more freedom to choose to live where they want, maybe where their family physically is, a country they grew up in, while all the opportunities available around the world. Mark thinks it's one of the most promising things about the future.

Under this context, some people draw the juxtaposition saying that there are the digital world and the real world. However, Mark uses a different taxonomy. There's a physical world and a digital world. And the real world is actually both. Using technologies like AR/VR to be present in places that they physically can't be is not only powerful but also real. [2]

[1] In another Mark Zuckerberg's interview with Lex Fridman, Mark Zuckerberg: Meta, Facebook, Instagram, and the Metaverse, it mentioned the goal of the metaverse is not to build technology for people to interact with, but to build technology for people to interact with each other.

[2] This is another view on what's "real", which is different from Weekly I/O #22.2, "Virtual is not opposed to real but opposed to actual". The French philosopher Gilles Deleuze stated that both actual and virtual are fully real. While the former has a concrete existence, the latter does not, but it is no less real for that fact. Like some conceptual inventions which people pursue, such as freedom, equality, justice, we won't say these aren't real just because they are virtual or haven't been realized. This distinction is initially treated as an esoteric interest only to specialists in the field of ontology. However, since the advent of computer games, or more especially now we have Virtual Reality technology, this distinction has become more essential. It reminds us that what is seen or experienced on screen is still real, even if it is not actual.

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