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Niantic’s CEO believes the metaverse could be a ‘dystopian nightmare’



interview ceo hanke nianticsullivan fastcompany The metaverse, the concept of an alternative, shared digital world that originated in sci-fi, has bubbled up to the surface of tech chatter during the later days of the pandemic. It’s a concept that a number of Big Tech and gaming companies, most notably Facebook, Roblox, and Epic Games, are trying to make real.

One of the technologies that may be used to interact with a future metaverse is augmented reality, which intermingles digital content with the real world through a smartphone screen right now and AR glasses in the future. Niantic created the game that introduced many people to AR, Pokémon Go, which means that the company has a vested stake in its own version of a digital reality. Niantic said Tuesday it had acquired a 3D scanning app called Scaniverse, which it will use to crowdsource images from the smartphone cameras of game players. Those images will form a map that will allow Niantic to anchor digital objects to real-world places.

A number of people have pointed out that early conceptions of the metaverse in novels by William Gibson (Neuromancer), Neil Stephenson (Snow Crash), and Ernest Cline (Ready Player One) have been described in dystopian terms. Niantic CEO John Hanke believes things could easily go in that direction. The technology used to experience the metaverse matters a lot, as do the business motivations of the companies that build it.

I spoke to Hanke about why and how the metaverse could become, in his words, a “dystopian nightmare.”

The following interview has been edited for length and clarity.

Fast Company: It’s a bit bizarre to hear the word metaverse suddenly become so commonly heard and read. I’m not sure what people imagine when they hear that term.

John Hanke: I think it’s a pretty important fork in the road between the metaverse as an über-VR escapist alternative to reality, and technology going down the road of wearables and things that support us when we’re out in the world being human beings. I really think it’s a big issue.

We’re squarely in the camp of technology becoming more invisible and less prominent. It’s just there supporting us and serving us and helping us. But it’s not the thing that is taking over our interactions.

Ubiquitous computing, which is a Xerox PARC concept from the ’80s, has been around for a long time, but the trajectory that was painted was one where computing would just melt into the surfaces around us.

We would have what we needed. It’s not like we would go back to walking up to the airport and getting a paper ticket. But things would just seamlessly be there, so we might be able to log in and we might see a path that tells us where we need to walk, and we might be able to electronically get our boarding information, but it would just happen and, done. I think there are a million ways that technology can make our lives better that way.

Our thesis as a company is that gaming will be one of the frontier technologies. [We] have this concept of reality channels—this idea of games that transform the world around you in an almost passive way that just enhances it and makes it more interesting, makes it more fun and [puts] some adventure and excitement into it.

It’s almost like an Instagram filter that’s always on, basically with Pokémon Go-like embedded gameplay. That’s our vision of one of the transitionary applications as we go towards this idea of a real-world metaverse.

And then there’s this other conception of the metaverse where it’s like you can disappear into this other world, like an escapist thing. And that’s very different from the AR approach you describe.

Yes, and I think that’s the philosophical divide. I’m a cyberpunk fan, so I read Stephenson and Gibson and Cline when they first came out . . .

I also helped build one of the first 3D MMO games and that was back in the 1990s, that idea of an online world that you would go to. It was all very exciting back then. But I think we’ve seen the darker side of the technology now when it usurps the human stuff that we do, when it gets in between our relationships and all of our information and it takes the place of the town square or the neighbor or the walk in the park.

Reflecting back on the pandemic, there was certainly a lot of delivery food and Netflix and Amazon shopping done, but there was also a huge amount of walking—people getting reconnected to their neighborhoods. So it was both extremes I think.

If a preview of the metaverse is, I’m plugged in and I’ve got all the Netflix I could ever want and all the video games I could ever want and food on demand, which is the model depicted in the Ready Player One novel, I just say count me out.

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Rajkotupdates.News : Work Permits for Indian Spouses of H-1B Visa Holders Approved by the U.S.!



Indian H-1B visa holders' spouses

Indian H-1B visa holders’ spouses, take note! Newly released information is exciting: the United States has issued work permits to eligible individuals, allowing them to pursue their professional goals and contribute to the economy.This is a monumental shift that has the potential to profoundly affect the lives of tens of thousands of people across the country. Prepare yourself for the most recent report!

What Exactly Are Work Permits?

  • Spouses of U.S. citizens from outside the U.S. who are sponsored by their sponsors and who meet other criteria can apply for work visas.
  • Spouses from outside the United States can get work permits to lawfully work in America. Furthermore, they are permitted to remain for longer than visitors who are not immigrants.
  • US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) documentation and an interview may be required to secure a work visa, but the process is otherwise simple.
  • After you obtain your work permit, you must provide it when you apply for a visa or request entry to the United States.

To Whom Do Work Permits Apply?

If your spouse is in the United States on an H-1B visa and you are an Indian citizen, you may be eligible for a work permit.

The following conditions must be met before you can apply:

  • You and your American spouse must be more than just dating.
  • Your U.S. companion must hold a current H-1B visa.
  • You can’t get married if you cheated or lied about anything.
  • You and your future spouse in the United States must have met beforehand.
  • You need to prove that no American citizen or permanent resident is qualified for the position you’re applying for.

Your fourth step is to visit the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services (BCIS) to apply for a work visa. Be sure to include all of the required paperwork with your application because the review process can take many months.

What Do You Need to Do to Get a Work Permit?

If you are Indian and married to a U.S. citizen, you might be eligible for a work visa.

  • You must be financially stable in order to qualify for an H-1B visa.
  • Have a representative of your own country’s government witness your wedding.
  • Carry a valid passport. If you meet all of these requirements, then you can submit your application to USCIS. Your partner’s full name and U.S. address are required pieces of information.
  • You’ll also need to present documentation that you have the means to support yourself financially and that you’re legally able to receive a work visa, such as a marriage licence. You may be eligible to file an appeal if you are denied a work visa.

How Do You Apply for a Work Visa?

The process of obtaining a work visa varies from country to country. In most cases, you’ll need to demonstrate that you’re capable of supporting yourself and your partner.

It’s possible that you’ll also need to provide evidence of your relationship status and health insurance coverage. In some countries, you need a visa before you can apply for a work permit.

After obtaining a work visa, what steps should one take?

  • Submit an application for a change of status with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) after obtaining a work permit.
  • To begin the Adjustment of Status procedure, you must provide evidence of your marriage and establish that you otherwise qualify.
  • If your status adjustment is approved, your spouse will be entitled to apply for an immigrant visa and join you in the United States.


Spouses of Indian citizens holding H-1B visas are now eligible to apply for work authorization in the United States. More qualified Indian workers may find employment in the United States as a result of this. The work permits would be valid for up to six years, allowing Indian nationals to compete for jobs that would normally be out of reach due to a lack of education, training, or experience. This is part of President Trump’s strategy to reduce the need for foreign labour and halt the influx of illegal immigration.



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After the developer of Amphetamine complained to Apple about the software being removed because of its name, the company ultimately decided to allow the Mac app have its present name and logo (William C. Gustafson / GitHub)




Amphetamine is a free application for the Mac that allows the user to configure how long the computer will remain awake. The 2014 release has been well received by users, with over 432,000 downloads and five-star ratings on the Mac App Store. MacRumors has previously highlighted the app as well. Amphetamine has been available on the Mac App Store for six years before Apple unexpectedly removed it for not following their rules.

After a representative from Apple contacted Amphetamine’s developer, William Gustafson, to inform him that the software will be withdrawn from the Mac App Store on January 12, 2021 if several adjustments were not made, Gustafson posted a lengthy report on GitHub describing the situation. The agent stated that the following condition was not met by Amphetamine:

Tobacco and e-cigarette, illegal drug, and excessive alcohol consumption-promoting apps are not allowed in the App Store. Any app that targets kids or encourages them to use illegal drugs or alcohol will be removed. Tobacco, marijuana, and other controlled substances cannot be sold, and neither can they be facilitated for sale outside of legal pharmacies. According to reports, the Apple official stated “It seems like your software encourages people to take drugs in the wrong way. In particular, your app’s name and image both make allusions to illegal drugs and medicines.” As amphetamine is available only with a doctor’s prescription in the United States, Gustafson said, it doesn’t encourage drug abuse. He added that the film does not advocate for the “irresponsible, illegal, or recreational” use of amphetamine.

Amphetamine (the app) can be used in the same way as amphetamine (the chemical molecule) can be used to keep humans awake and focused.

To counter the claim against the app, Gustafson filed an appeal and started a petition on, which has since received over 500 signatories. And just now, he tweeted that he had just gotten off the phone with the App Review Board and that Amphetamine would still be available in the Mac App Store. It’s surprising that Apple forced Amphetamine to change its name after they highlighted it in a Mac App Store Story and the software received 1,400 reviews on the Mac App Store. Gustafson also claims to have had numerous conversations with Apple’s App Review Team on Amphetamine, but this issue has never come up before; the cause of this is a mystery.


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