BCNM at Data and the Metaverse

19 Apr, 2022

BCNM at Data and the Metaverse

Rachel Leven reviews UC Berkeley’s Human Technology Futures Group and Division of Computing, Data Science, and Society sponsored a colloquium, “Critical Data Futures: Art, Life, and Data in the Metaverse,” at the Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive on MAR.20. The program was a who's who of BCNM students and faculty, featuring Emma Fraser, Edgar Fabián Frías, Greg Niemeyer, Morgan Ames, Hannah Zeavin, Clancy Wilmott, Asma Kazmi, and Jacob Gaboury!

From the review:

“The discourses that we have inherited of virtuality and digitality are very invested in the necessity of it being something less real and less impactful. There's a whole range of reasons why that maintains the status quo and a particular power balance,” said Emma Fraser. “Is it not convenient to suggest that we're all going to take off into the metaverse just when we're starting to really come to terms in a big way with all the inequalities of material [and digital life],” she added. “It's like, ‘Oh, why don't we just jet off to some other place where we can control everything and ignore everything else that's going on.’”

Technology companies want to “take over existing social and cultural life through intensified media consumption,” said Fraser. That would be a big change, and it raises questions around who owns the digital spaces, how they’re monetized and how that impacts the users, the panelists said. This could further exacerbate systemic inequities in society.

To read the full article, please visit here!