Meshverse 101: MIT Technology Review’s Second Earth

MIT’s Technology Review has an excellent article about the emerging trends I call the meshverse. In this article entitled Second Earth, Wade Rouch identifies three key facets of the meshverse:

  1. Virtual Worlds

    Second Life is a true virtual world, unconstrained by any resemblance to the real planet. What unites it and similar worlds such as There, Entropia Universe, Moove, Habbo Hotel, and Kaneva–beyond their 3-D graphics–is that they’re free-flowing, ungoverned communities shaped by the shared imaginations of their users.

  2. Mirror Worlds

    Google Earth and competing programs such as Microsoft Virtual Earth, on the other hand, are more accurately described as mirror worlds–a term invented by Yale University computer scientist David Gelernter (see “Artificial Intelligence Is Lost in the Woods“) to denote geo­graphically accurate, utilitarian software models of real human environments and their workings. If they were books, virtual worlds would be fiction and mirror worlds would be nonfiction.

  3. Augmented Reality

    Indeed, it’s important to remember that alongside the construction of the Metaverse, a complementary and equally ambitious infrastructure project is under way. It’s the wiring of the entire world, without the wires: tiny ­radio-­connected sensor chips are being attached to everything worth moni­toring, including bridges, ventilation systems, light fixtures, mousetraps, shipping pallets, battlefield equipment, even the human body.

Rouch takes us on a journey long enough(16 printed pages) to provide insights not found in the typical 2-3 page story. He also albeit unintentionally, shows why the term meshverse is valuable. Rouch’s fiction/non-fiction analogy is nice but both terms refer to literature and when they overlap, the result is still literature. While the analogy holds for the term meshverse, it doesn’t for terms such as:

  • Metaverse
  • World Wide Sim
  • 3D Internet

Which leaves Rouch after stating

The World Wide Web will soon be absorbed into the World Wide Sim: an immersive, 3-D visual environment that combines elements of social virtual worlds such as Second Life and mapping applications such as Google Earth.

to pose the question

What happens when the virtual and real worlds collide?

whose answer is the meshverse – people, places, things and events converging electronically! Having coined the term, I’m obviously biased, but I really think theres a strong case to be made that meshverse is just a better description of what is going on:

  • virtual, mirror and augmented worlds fit neatly into it
  • it’s easier for non-tech people(the most of the people on the planet) to understand
  • it will hold up over time(unlike desktop or the web)

if you have thoughts about this please comment here or contact me – I’m lr at If you agree that it’s a better term, then the next question is how to get it into the mainstream(metaverse has soooo much traction). I’d prefer to see it in broad use because I feel we’d all be better off. However, I really like it as a brand for this blog not to mention the software and network services I’m developing so I feel time is on my side.

First they ignore you. Then they laugh at you. Then they fight you. Then you win.

Mahatma Ghandi


1 Comment »

  1. […] expands the notion of the network as computer, to realize that the meshverse is the computer which is in essence software. “I think it’s time for us as industry leaders really to […]

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