A new documentary on HBO Max examines the coming age of social interaction — not in the “real” world, but in the virtual one.

For months, I’ve been sharing posts on the ReidOut Blog about the “metaverse,” a virtual world accessible through some kind of wearable device, like glasses. My goal has been to hopefully ease your transition into the looming era of advanced technology and, specifically, augmented and virtual reality, which companies such as Meta and Microsoft are heavily investing in.

HBO’s “We Met in Virtual Reality” is one of the most expansive and thought-provoking looks at how relationships and deep bonds are built in the metaverse

HBO’s “We Met in Virtual Reality” is one of the most expansive and thought-provoking looks at how relationships and deep bonds are built in the metaverse, and I think it’s a good primer on what’s to come. The film is recorded entirely in VR, using full-body motion capture and a popular world-building program known as VRChat. It was filmed in 2020, when many people were still practicing social distancing and felt detached from loved ones. In the movie, we see avatars — robots, reptiles and hot dogs — all interacting with one another in a variety of settings, with some remarkably tender exchanges to boot.

We see sign language instructors signaling and speaking with their students in a virtual classroom. We see a cast of cartoonish avatars sitting around a campfire, discussing the benefits of gender fluidity in the virtual world. We see a virtual strip club with avatar dancers. We even see a virtual reality wedding proposal. 

This might seem scary. In fact, I’ve written about why you should be afraid of at least some aspects of a virtual world. And I’ve been highly critical of plenty of the people building it. 

But “We Met in Virtual Reality” does a good job of laying out some of the positive possibilities achievable through VR connections. Give the trailer a watch. We’ll dive deeper into the world of virtual reality in the coming weeks and months!  

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Ja’han Jones is The ReidOut Blog writer. He’s a futurist and multimedia producer focused on culture and politics. His previous projects include “Black Hair Defined” and the “Black Obituary Project.”