There’s nothing like getting lost and finding your way home by using the Google Earth app. As most of you know, I cast a wary eye to the Metaverse. But when your umpteen miles from home in a foreign land and can not speak the local language, and get lost, the Google Earth app is a life saver. I am writing about Google Earth, not Google Maps (also good)

Google Earth will give you a 3D look at pretty much anywhere in the world and will aid you in a finding a specific place or a generic place (i.e. the local hospital or local train station). It will track you by car or on foot.  Just  today, I got lost in some open farm country and needed to find my way back to a monastery in Chartres, France.

After about ten minutes on the open road in Northern France, I realized there was not a car in sight. I began to panic and then remembered I had Google Earth.

I opened the app and turned on roaming on my phone. I punched in the address of the monastery where I was staying, indicated I was on foot  and within 20 seconds — voila — I knew where I needed to go. The app  spots you, tracks every step you make and the friendly female voice (friendly but not quite Scarlet Johannson) sets you straight if you start going down the  wrong country road. I pre-bought a data package from at&t before my European Vision-quest so I wasn’t burning up huge dollars, only calories.   You must have access to the internet or wi-fi for Google Earth to work.

I worry about the Metaverse. The Metaverse is an unseen, consistent layer of collective virtual space that covers our world. It includes the sum of all virtual worldsaugmented reality, and the internet. I am concerned that people become so inured by it that they forget to live. Today, however, I am delighted to be living in the Metaverse with exceptional apps like Google Earth.

The Bot and I at MIT

A Him And A He At  MIT

HIM” is backed by capital from the  founders of PayPal, Facebook, and Tesla. Him is known as “Vicarious”.

According to the Vicarious Company,  Vicarious will be a “machine learning software based on the computational principles of the human brain. Our first technology is a visual perception system that interprets the contents of photographs and videos in a manner similar to humans. Powering this technology is a new computational paradigm we call the Recursive Cortical Network.”

Some of Silicon Valley’s most influential billionaires are backing Vicarious which aims to recreate the human neocortex as computer code.  Peter Thiel, from PayPal, Mark Zuckerberg from Facebook, and Elon Musk from Tesla are all in the creation game.  The young men have thrown $40 million in capital to HIM,  according to the Wall Street Journal. 

The neocortex is the outer layer of the cerebral hemispheres and in humans is crucial to the use of the senses as well as activities such as language, motor commands and spatial reasoning.

The  Vicarious Company has already managed to create software that will solve Captcha, the online tests used by many websites to supposedly identify humans from computers. Vicarious  founder Scott Phoenix said that if they are successful, Vicarious will have created “a computer that thinks like a person except it doesn’t need to eat or sleep”.

By the definition from Mirriam-Webster, Vicarious is  experienced or felt by watching, hearing about, or reading about someone else rather than by doing something yourself. Just another giant leap , not for mankind, but for HIM.