PlayStation creator and former head of Sony’s gaming department Ken Kutaragi is not a fan of the metaverse in the way it is formed. For him, there is a divisive potential to transpose the real world to the virtual.
In an interview with Bloomberg, the Japanese engineer said that he “does not see the purpose”, that is, he does not see any sense in transforming a world that already exists physically into a “clean” virtual version.
“Would you rather be your own wax avatar? This is no different from the mechanics of anonymous internet forums,” said Kutaragi, who favors a different way of relating to technology: holograms.
The creator of PlayStation currently serves as chief executive of Tokyo-based Ascent Robotics. It is an artificial intelligence startup, which recently secured 1 billion yen (R $ 38.3 million) in funding from Sony itself and the Japanese group SBI Holdings.
Similar but different
The technology that Ascent has developed has a similar purpose to the metaverse, but not the same. Kutaragi describes the work as “the mission of a lifetime”: it connects the real world with cyberspace, without using devices to mediate between them.
The idea is that real-world objects are read virtually by Ascent’s robotic systems, which can be reproduced in the form of holograms.
In this way, the engineer intends to create more versatile robots that can perform multiple activities and produce more than one product. Ascent’s target audience is customers in the area of logistics and sales, who deal with a variety of objects and who can use robots to make jobs more tiring.
According to the interview, Kutaragi predicts a revolution in e-commerce in particular, with the representation of real products in the form of holograms, changing the online shopping experience, now based solely on photos and videos of the goods.
“Headphones are very annoying”
Major technology companies, such as Mark Zuckerberg’s Meta team, Apple and the PlayStation itself, which Kutaragi helped create, are developing immersive devices so that the metaverse can be explored.
In general, these devices are “headphones”, virtual reality glasses. But Ken Kutaragi is against using this type of device.
“The headphones isolate you from the real world, and I can’t agree with that,” he said in the report. “The headphones are very annoying.”
Therefore, the engineer reinforces that his startup is heading in the opposite direction. “Today’s robots do not have software and sensors that are equal to humans in understanding real life, and our short-term goal is to offer a solution for that,” he said.
For him, it is necessary to teach robots to create “a variety of things, not just countless units of the same thing,” which means deepening their knowledge of them.
With Ascent’s hologram technology, it also plans to allow people to play a remote encounter as if it were in person – without the need for a metaverse or headphones.