MIRED Magazine: A Speculative Exposé of the Metaverse
The 2031 MIRED magazine exposé highlights four tragic stories of the Metaverse, highlighting present-day issues with the internet and the need to critically consider responsible design.
Through the lens of four lives drastically changed due to the Metaverse, the design concept anticipates a future in which advanced in-world data analytics and tracking have created personalized, escapist fantasy realities within the Metaverse. The design critiques and extrapolates the present-day issues caused by the internet, including addiction, mental health, polarization of beliefs, escapism, and discrimination.
How might we use speculative design to envision, explore, and criticize the potentially harmful consequences of the Metaverse, in order to make thoughtful, responsible, human-centered design decisions as it is created?
Editorial Layout Design
Magazine Cover & Article Design
Currently, data analytics, tracking and artificial intelligence (AI) monitor users' behaviors, likes/dislikes, beliefs, and locations online. Though these tools can perform helpful functions for individuals, businesses, and groups, we've also seen how these powerful capabilities have raised issues of great concern. Data analytics and tracking have created an online world that incentivizes continued, excessive use, and in extreme cases has caused social media and technology addiction. AI recommendations create echo chambers that only feed information it has learned the user likes, polarizing groups of people and belief systems. We have seen issues regarding privacy, cyberbullying, mental health, and more.
Mark Zuckerburg's announcement in October 2021 revealing Meta's vision for ubiquitous computing and the Metaverse, marks the infancy of a potential new way of life in Mixed Reality.
This is a pivotal point: we are likely to see AI, tracking, and data analytics incorporated into the Metaverse as they are currently with the internet. There exists the very real possibility that the Metaverse proliferates and exacerbates the worst of the issues we currently see with the internet. This is an important time for designers to temper the rose-colored optimism that currently surrounds the glitzy vision of the Metaverse, and instead think critically about how design has the ability to either support or avoid these issues.
Creators of the Metaverse have the opportunity and responsibility to decide what the Metaverse should and shouldn't become, and time is of the essence.
Ten years into the future, the Metaverse utilizes advanced in-world data analytics and tracking to create the ideal in-world experience for users. The Metaverse not only supports the real world, but has threatened to replace it entirely. Large populations of people have begun to exist primarily in the Metaverse, driven by the escapist fantasy world it creates.
What began as a bold vision for an integrated, immersive future is dissolving the tenets of reality.When everyone lives in a world based around their selective and self-reinforcing beliefs, they are shocked by the rawness of reality.
Having only seen, felt, and been a part of chosen experiences for so long, reality becomes a disturbing place.
The Metaverse has been left unchecked, and its proliferation has created and exacerbated the present-day issues of addiction and mental health, polarized groups and belief systems, perpetuated injustice, and the lack of regulation of the corporate creators.
Design Concept: Stories from the Metaverse
The exposé features four stories of lives drastically changed due to the Metaverse, each highlighting a present-day issue extrapolated into the future context of the Metaverse. Through the tragic stories of the article, the design concept serves as a warning to create, regulate, and use the Metaverse in ways that will not perpetuate and exacerbate the critical issues we are already seeing with present-day technology.
Data Visualizations & Sidebar
Data visualizations based on hypothetical trends and data support the emotional testimonials. A sidebar covering a recent event provides context within the fictional future.