Living in an Unreal World

NYC Media Lab
8 min readApr 2, 2022


Living in an Unreal World We’re seeing the arrival of XR View this email in your browser

What’s the difference between real-life and virtual worlds? Watch the Matrix recently? If you found yourself distracted by the infamous event at this year’s Academy Awards, you might have overlooked the historic news that Apple TV Plus beat NETFLIX in becoming the first streaming service to win Best Picture at the Oscars with CODA.

Elsewhere social media behemoths Facebook and Instagram are causing further confusion with their constantly changing rules of precisely what war-related content is permitted on the platforms. As tech companies discontinue and limit their services in Russia since its invasion of Ukraine started last month, what does this mean for citizens? Check out the long list of apps and services currently unavailable for Russians.

Elsewhere, Europe’s Digital Markets Act (DMA) is on a mission to simplify the increasing number of group chats across multiple platforms by forcing messaging apps such as WhatsApp and iMessage to work seamlessly together. But could this result in compromising the encryption that keeps us all safe?

As the line between our physical and online world continues to blur, we learned that the surge in property price isn’t limited to reality when surfing the Metaverse’s real estate boom this week. With virtual prime plots for virtual land selling for $2.4 million, you could be forgiven for struggling to determine what is real and what isn’t when looking at information online. As an antidote, we invite you to join us at NYC Media Lab in a conversation on Ukraine war disinformation.

As always, we would love to hear from you

Steven Rosenbaum
Executive Director
The NYC Media Lab


Apple TV+ Just Won Best Picture. Everything Is Different Now

Back in 2019, when Netflix’s Roma was making a play for the top prize in an Oscars campaign, many in the industry declared that it was “a vote for the death of cinema by TV.” Steven Spielberg famously also said that Netflix films shouldn’t be eligible for Oscars, claiming they were more akin to TV movies.

However, Spielberg’s Amblin Partners signed a deal with Netflix a few years later, and Apple Plus just won an Oscar for best picture with CODA proving that streaming is changing Hollywood. Technology is changing the filmmaking landscape, and once again, the industry will be forced to evolve to adapt to how we consume content. First, it was the arrival of VCRs in the eighties, and today it’s streaming. As Mark Twain once said, history doesn’t repeat itself, but it often rhymes.

Wired/ 3 min read

Read More

How War in Ukraine Roiled Facebook and Instagram

As the war in Ukraine evolves, so do disinformation and propaganda tactics in the battle for the hearts and minds of a global audience. Social media platforms have become a battlefield where misinformation is spread rapidly across posts making it difficult for users to separate fact from fiction.

To further muddy the waters, the rules over what war content is permitted on Facebook and Instagram keep changing, causing internal confusion. Under a recent change, Meta temporarily stopped tracking whether its workers who monitor Facebook and Instagram posts from those areas accurately enforced its content guidelines. But some staff are blaming the shifting of rules around what kinds of posts are allowed for the war in Ukraine.

New York Times/ 7 min read

Read More

Tech + Media

Surfing the Metaverse’s Real Estate Boom

Last year a prime plot of virtual land on a metaverse platform sold for $2.4 million. The fact that even less desirable land is selling for six figures can be challenging to comprehend. The lines are further blurred with the arrival of mortgages for virtual land and the same problems of being priced out of the physical retail market making their way to virtual land.

The reality is that many are buying up metaverse real estate as a long-term investment in the hope mainstream audiences will eventually arrive. Of course, whether people will ever embrace a ready player one style future remains to be seen. But is it a bet you are willing to make?

IEEE Spectrum/ 3 min read

Read More

All the Apps and Services You Can’t Use in Russia Right Now

If you were to look at your family, friends, and colleagues’ home screen on their smartphones, I suspect many will have at least 5 of the most popular apps. But could you imagine picking up your phone and not being able to access those apps that you religiously check without thinking throughout the day?

In Russia, big tech companies have discontinued and limited their services in the country since its invasion of Ukraine. But what does this mean for citizens? Check out the long list of apps and services currently unavailable for Russians.

TNW/ 2 min read

Read More

Forcing WhatsApp and iMessage to Work Together Is Doomed to Fail

Billions of us send messages using end-to-end encryption across popular apps such as iMessage, WhatsApp, and Signal as we desperately try to keep up with multiple group chats. Europe’s Digital Markets Act aims to simplify the process by demanding interoperability between all popular messaging apps. But experts warn that forcing WhatsApp and iMessage to Work Together could compromise the encryption protecting our conversations.

On the other side of the argument, proponents of interoperability say the new law will give consumers more choice and allow third-party clients to build out extra functions. Whether these plans are technically possible without compromising end-to-end encryption is a debate we will be following very closely this year.

Wired/ 5 min read

Read More

What We’re Watching

Evan Shapiro: The Creator Economy vs. Media Death Stars at SXSW

With Disney Streaming, Amazon, and Netflix octupling down on content, and Discovery Inc and WarnerMedia merging into DiscoBros, Evan Schapiro — eshap — says it’s a battle between creators and platforms. I attempt to take Shapiro’s maps into a guidebook for how creators can navigate their path toward a future as kings of content.

Click here for the full transcript of our conversation.

NYC Media Lab/ 100 min watch

Watch Here

What We’re Listening To

Recode — Is There a Hack for Enlightenment?

Vox’s Sigal Samuel talks with scholars and authors Wesley Wildman and Kate Stockly about their book, Spirit Tech: The Brave New World of Consciousness Hacking and Enlightenment Engineering. They discuss high-tech tools like brain stimulation and neurofeedback-guided meditation that purport to enrich our spiritual lives, what possible risks they may pose to our psyches and the ethical implications of technology-induced shortcuts to transformative meditative states.

They also talk about whether such spiritual experiences are authentic rather than simulated and whether brain-based spirit tech might help humans evolve as a species.

Apple Podcasts/ 59 min

Listen Here

Virtual Events & Jobs

Kickstarting Your Data Analytics Career
Monday, April 04, 2022

Demand for data analysts increased 73% last year, so the data job field is wide open. Data analytics allows you to understand, draw insights from, & leverage your data more effectively. Step into the world of data analytics with General Assembly. Join the data conversation & see how analytics drives decision-making across industries, what kinds of questions it answers, & what tools are used in this in-demand field.

Data Science Day 2022
Wednesday, April 06, 2022

Data Science Day provides a forum for innovators in academia, industry, and government to connect. The Data Science Institute’s flagship annual event offers an unparalleled opportunity to experience the depth and scope of Columbia University’s most innovative data science research.

Ukraine War DisInfo — A Conversation
Thu, April 07, 2022

We invite you to join Laura Edelson, Co-founder, NYU Ad Observatory, Joshua Tucker, Co-director of the NYU Center for Social Media and Politics, and Iryna Lambrianidesl, Associate Director, NYC Media Lab, in a conversation on Ukraine War Disinformation. Learn where content is not moderated and how misinformation is spreading online

Podcasts Killed the Radio Star: The Podcasting Takeover of the Modern Era
Thu, April 07, 2022,

Join the discussion around the business, legal, and creative issues that frequently arise in the podcasting industry. The panel will also explore the creative implications involved in the decline of terrestrial radio and its replacement with new forms of media — namely, podcasts. Learn more about creating content, acquiring guests, and distributing material on DSPs.

A Deeper Look

How Building a Culture of Creative Collaboration Can Supercharge Your Teams

Where do we go next in a Great Resignation world? The data suggests people aren’t just leaving for more money. They’re leaving toxic cultures. Instead of multi-colored bean bags and ping-pong tables, employees want something with more substance. Every business is challenged with silencing the loudest voice in the meeting room and building a co-creative culture. But how?

Maybe it’s time to change the question from “How do I keep my people?” to “What do they want to feel and how do they want to be treated?” and “How can I inspire them?” or “How can we shape a culture that we love?” Learn more about how you can build a culture of creative collaboration and how it can transform your teams.

Fast Company/ 8 min read

Read More Today’s newsletter written in partnership with Neil C. Hughes, the Tech Blogger and host of Tech Talks Daily


Copyright © 2022 NYC Media Lab, All rights reserved.

Want to change how you receive these emails?
You can update your preferences or unsubscribe from this list.



NYC Media Lab

NYC Media Lab connects university researchers and NYC’s media tech companies to create a new community of digital media & tech innovators in New York City.