Metawar: The Thesis

by Winn Schwartau
Metawar VR headset

Reality is only a Keystroke Away

Metawar is the art and science of distorting realities by creating believable artificial immersive simulations in

the metaverse. We have watched social media and deepfake technologies become the speartip of the current

forms of metawar since 2015.

The metaverse has been evolving since the first oral ‘story tellers’ stimulated their audiences’ imaginations

millennia ago. Orson Wells clearly confirmed the power of immersive story telling in 1938. Today,

audiences beg for more immersive experiences. The metaverse is destined to become “The most powerful

and addictive reality distortion machine ever conceived.”

On June 27, 1991, Winn Schwartau testified before the US Congress and warned that the then-infant internet

was ripe for Cyberterrorism, Cyberwar, Cybercrime, Surveillance Capitalism, and the loss of personal

privacy. That day, he coined the term Electronic Pearl Harbor. He was named the “Civilian Architect of

Information Warfare” by Commodore Pat Tyrrell OBE of the Royal Navy in 1996.

Today, Schwartau maintains that “We are digitally terraforming the cognitive infrastructure of the future.

We’ve been given a second chance. We know how to do it wrong. Why don’t we choose to do it right?”

As we technology evolves, artificial realities will be increasingly indistinguishable from our consensual

‘default’ reality; the one we have been born into. Metawar is the battle for control of your mind and your

reality. And it scares the hell out of everyone who hears the metawar thesis.

Metawar focuses on manipulation and control of the highly malleable, imperfect probabilistic nature of

human sensory systems and the brain. To Schwartau, living carbon-based systems are incredibly similar to

silicon networks; e.g., they can both be programmed. But notably, humans, including children as young as

12-18 months, are easily programmed by and addicted to the technological opioids capriciously distributed

across the current internet.

As we merge these two networks in the metaverse with enabling technologies like AI, discerning what is

‘real’ will be increasingly difficult. Our ‘beliefs’ and sense of reality are determined by two things: the inputs

to our sensory organs and the internal sum of our current beliefs, biases, experiences, and memories. Our

brain is a time-based prediction engine. “If I can design, manage, and deliver carefully orchestrated

metacontent to anyone, I own their minds.” Schwartau disturbingly shows us how.

Metawar has a 100% foundation in recognized and emerging science and technologies, and asks some

tough, uncomfortable questions:

– Should reality-distorting technologies be regulated?

– Are social policies needed to manage opioid-like technology addiction?

– What about metamurder, metarape, and sexual abuse in the evolving metaverse? It’s already


– How do help kids and adults develop strong critical thinking skills?

– Can any shred of privacy be maintained, or is it gone, forever?

– Should national policies and international agreements be considered?

More than 35 years ago, we were explicitly warned about the internet and we were dismissed. Schwartau was

not alone. We were warned about the dangers of the emerging internet. The deadly three leadership skills,

apathy, arrogance, and ignorance led us astray while Schwartau’s comprehensive predictions continued to

play out year after year. Will business expediency and profits continue to dominate, or can we trust Big Tech

to do it right time? We have a well-documented history of the warnings. Now we see where we have sadly

ended up.

Will we consciously choose to allow the commercialization and commoditization of reality-distorting, mindaltering

technologies? Will we choose, by the abdication of leadership, to addict billions of people to more

powerful technology?

Or, will we choose to just give up?

This is Metawar

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