John Hanke on Pokémon Go: “Metaverse as Dystopian Nightmare”

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John Hanke, CEO of Niantic and creator of Pokémon Go, shares his thoughts, stating the “Metaverse as a Dystopian Nightmare.”

“I shared some thoughts on the Metaverse with our vision that technology should serve us as humans and not the other way around. The future of AR that we envision is designed to enhance our connection to the world around us and each other.”

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After global giants like Facebook, Roblox, and Epic Games also said they are working to make the Metaverse real, Hanke wanted to emphasize his philosophical point of view on the topic. 

The CEO of Niantic wants to highlight how the Metaverse could become the worst human nightmare, in which even our own heroes would go to take refuge to save the world in the virtual version. 

On the contrary, Hanke wants this new dimension, intended as technological development, to be at the service of humanity and not a refuge. Yet Niantic has already introduced humanity to the use of augmented reality or AR (typical technology used in the Metaverse), creating precisely the game of Pokémon Go. 

Hanke and Metaverse: between entertainment games and reality

Today’s Metaverse uses augmented reality, which mixes digital content with the real world through the screen of a smartphone, now, and AR glasses (already planned by Hanke) in the future. 

That is a continuous technological evolution, which, as past experiences teach, could modify (if not replace) our natural reality, that of getting out of the house, walking in nature or the city, and meeting other people. 

Here is the dystopian nightmare of the Metaverse that Hanke would like to avoid for our society. To act in this sense and without stopping in technological advances, the creator of Pokémon Go relies on games and entertainment as the main channel of augmented reality. 

In this regard, he comments as follows:

“But it’s not just about games. While we expect games and entertainment to be the main drivers of this new platform, reality channels are a way of seeing the world that will power more activities that entertain, educate, guide, explain and assist us, from assembly lines and construction sites to more complex knowledge work, all without taking us away from the thing we do best: reality. We have a responsibility to do all of this in a way that respects the people who use our services, as well as the people who don’t. User privacy, responsible use, inclusive development processes, and recognizing and mitigating the potential impacts of AR technology on societies must all be considered now, not after the fact.”

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The concept discussed by Henke on the Metaverse has also become part of the cryptocurrency sector dedicated to Non-Fungible Tokens or NFTs. 

The OVRLands project, known for creating NFTs that represent parts of a digitized globe and with which owners can create new virtual worlds, has begun working with BlackPool specifically to add augmented reality and virtual reality to its own NFTs. 

Not only that, going into the world of sports, just today, Italian soccer team ACF Fiorentina created an exclusive exhibition of NFTs in a virtual metaverse to celebrate its first 95 years. 

It’s a collection dubbed Viola 9.5 that includes 200,000 NFTs, divided into 11 chapters that summarize the entire history of Fiorentina, thus using AR and VR. 

But the NFT metaverse didn’t come out this year. Already last September 2020, in fact, the NFT metaverse project of “The Sandbox” had also seen the participation of Binance in the game, with the purchase of 4,012 LAND. 

 



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