At the World Economic Forum in Davos, Meta’s chief product officer, Chris Cox, said that the metaverse would one day become as “important as the smartphone.”

What does he mean by metaverse? Does he mean virtual worlds? That seems like a non-starter. Does he mean mixed reality environments? That seems more likely. Even the folks at Meta should know that you need to define what you mean by “metaverse” when you’re talking about it.

If Mr. Cox believes that the stuff Meta has to show for the billions of dollars it has invested is the future, I will politely say that – at best – Meta has created a solution for a problem that does not exist. At worst, they are barking up the wrong virtual tree. Have you ever been in a situation where you said to yourself, “You know what would really help me right now? If everyone was a cartoon character in a cartoon universe, the laws of physics did not apply, there were no reliable facial expressions or physical cues, and the audio was marginal. Yep, that would solve everything!”

We need platforms that help us combine batch data with streaming data, ones that empower us to create value by building experiences that can be displayed across the observable metaverse (from AR to MR to XR to VR). Once there’s a good way to create and surface these types of data-driven experiences, the rest will take care of itself. Until then, it’s not a paradigm shift – it’s just a parlor trick.

Author’s note: This is not a sponsored post. I am the author of this article and it expresses my own opinions. I am not, nor is my company, receiving compensation for it.

About Shelly Palmer

Shelly Palmer is the Professor of Advanced Media in Residence at Syracuse University’s S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications and CEO of The Palmer Group, a consulting practice that helps Fortune 500 companies with technology, media and marketing. Named LinkedIn’s “Top Voice in Technology,” he covers tech and business for Good Day New York, is a regular commentator on CNN and writes a popular daily business blog. He's a bestselling author, and the creator of the popular, free online course, Generative AI for Execs. Follow @shellypalmer or visit



PreviousGPT-4 is Still a Rumor NextBetter Blogging with ChatGPT

Get Briefed Every Day!

Subscribe to my daily newsletter featuring current events and the top stories in technology, media, and marketing.