February 04, 2022
Mamoru Hosoda’s new anime presents an enchanting alternative reality, in contrast to Hollywood’s usual terrifying portrayals of virtual life
Bring on the metaverse! How Belle depicts the future as a psychedelic wonderland
Fears about our digital future were not assuaged last October when Mark Zuckerberg released a video trailing the delights of “the metaverse”. The Facebook supremo’s awkward presentation style made it feel like an AI-generated missive from beyond the uncanny valley. Plus, many felt there was something pretty dystopian about an immersive new online world controlled by a corporation with a track record of misinformation spreading, data gathering and disseminating harmful body images.
If we’re feeling paranoid about our metaverse future, it might also have something to do with our movies. Hollywood has rarely met a new technology it couldn’t make seem terrifying and wrong. From virtual reality (the Matrix movies, Tron), to Artificial intelligence (the Terminator franchise, Ex Machina, The Mitchells vs the Machines), from Social Media (Catfish, Eighth Grade, Unfriended) to real-life tech titans like, er, Mark Zuckerberg (The Social Network), we’ve seen enough to put us off ever going online.
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