Virtual reality in all its forms: virtual worlds, games, augmented reality, etc, are one of the key technologies that will transform our lives in the coming decade. The 2d internet will shift a lot of its content to 3d metaverse, as individuals seek more immersive social experiences, retailers seek to give consumers more of a “kicking the tires” experience with the product like being in a real store, and our outmoded educational structure decentralizes and loses its geographic fixation upon brick and mortar.
Experts agree that the ‘killer app’ of VR is social: hanging out, experiencing, discussing, playing, learning, working, are all richer experiences when done collaboratively, and even more so when done in an immersive environment.
Yet almost all of the capital being invested in this space is going toward ventures that are attempting to trap consumers into corporate walled gardens, as an attempt to capture as much face time as possible with which to present consumers with advertising content, without providing actual value beyond the immersive experience. Moreover, these plans all fail the logic of network effects other than leveraging existing social networks.
We at GSI believe in freedom. We don’t believe that walls, boundaries, borders or barriers provide meaningful purpose to consumers, only to those who wish to treat consumers not as consumers, but as product, to be corralled like cattle for market. We do not believe that you are a product. Moreover, we believe that you are more valuable if you are free to explore and communicate with as wide an audience as possible. Free range humans, what a novel idea!
We believe that economics supports this contention, and that the economic growth of the metaverse relies upon there not being boundaries or barriers between people or their avatars.
Many have said it was the fax machine that destroyed the Soviet Union. The “Samizdat Networks” of dissidents would anonymously fax home made newsletters about what was really going on to others across their country, circumventing the control of information that the KGB and the government propaganda ministries sought to impose. This is what led to perestroika, and enabled the popular revolt against the coup that was attempted against Gorbachev.
The same was seen in China with the pro-democracy demonstrators in Tianenmen Square, and led to the brutal crackdown of the government there, which ultimately led to the imposition of the “Great Firewall of China” which restricts their citizens access to information from outside government controls. The Chinese Communist Party did not want a duplication of what happened to the USSR.
We see great benefit for humanity in opening the floodgates of communications between people, and great profit potential. The power, and value of any network is not measured by the number of nodes, or users, in that network, but in the number of possible connections between nodes. Walls and barriers are automatically limiting the value of the user base to those companies that erect those walls and barriers. So to are those that create “friction”. Thus such short sighted corporate policies are inherently self destructive.
There is far greater profit in empowering people to communicate more freely, more widely, irrespective of boundary or barrier. Tear down the walls!
Virtual communities are some of the most insular, and walled-in social communities around. It is impossible, for instance, for an avatar in Opensim, or High Fidelity, or Active Worlds (yes that still exists), or Unity3d, or Second Life, to communicate directly with an avatar in any of these other platforms from within their immersive environment.
The user has to install some third party application, like Skype, TeamPlayer, Ventrilo, or Discord, etc to enable cross-platform communications. Such third party applications are significant in their footprint on the users RAM, processing capacity, and disk memory, which can cause a significant detriment to quality of the immersive experience, as frame rates suffer, time dilation expands.
It is obvious that the solution requires that there be a very thin client built within each existing platform, as a scripted virtual device, that interacts with exterior servers dedicated to cross-platform communications.
Thus, the idea for the GridFone was born. We will tear down these walls, and enable people to communicate freely, avatar to avatar, from within their immersive experiences, not just with each other, but with persons in the real world, and thus leverage existing virtual social networks with the entire connected population. Our network becomes the entire world.