How Facebook’s metavers could change your life


Meta. Illustrated | iStock

25 years ago, the Internet was still news that you could access via a slow dial-up modem that tied the landline phone you trusted for communication. Fifteen years ago, Facebook just opened its social network to anyone aged 13 and over, and 10 years ago, it was still a private tech startup on the brink of an IPO.

Now Facebook is one of the world’s most valuable companies with three of the largest social media apps – Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp – used by billions of people and one of the world’s most controversial and socially disruptive companies.

Facebook too has a new name, Meta and a new focus: the meta-verse. So what is the meta-verse? In 10 years, will it be as important a part of your life as the internet and social media? And if so, would that be a good thing?

What is the metaverse?
Metaverset is an immersive internet experience that lets you replace or expand reality with computerized simulations that strive to be as realistic as possible. “Basically, it’s a world of endless, interconnected virtual communities where people can meet, work and play using virtual reality headsets, augmented reality glasses, smartphone apps or other devices.” Associated Press reports. They can also shop.

Meta describes metaversed as “the next development of social connection”, 3D space where you can “socialize, learn, collaborate and play in ways that go beyond what we can imagine.” CEO Mark Zuckerberg showed some examples in its two-hour-long presentation to unveil the Meta rebrand and Facebook’s new focus, which CNET has cut down to 10 minutes.

Did Facebook invent metaverset?
No, the name is attributed to Neal Stephenson’s 1992 science fiction classic Snow controlled, but the idea is even older. Stephenson’s vision of the metaverse owed a debt to Vernor Vinges in 1981 True names and to a series of 80s William Gibson novels, “Amherst Professor Ethan Zuckerman, who created his own kludgy metavers in 1995, enters Atlantic Ocean. “Both of these writers owed a debt to Morton Heilig’s Sensorama machine from 1962, and by and by we go back in time to Plato’s shadows on a cave wall.”

The first virtual reality (VR) headset was established at MIT in 1968, and the technology advanced and ran until a company called Oculus took a big leap forward in 2011. Now all the major technology companies – Google, Microsoft, Apple plus major gaming platforms – are involved. Wall Street sees metaverse hardware and software as a $ 1 trillion market.

When was Facebook involved?
Facebook bought Oculus in 2014 for 2 billion. At the time, Zuckerberg predicted that Facebook would become a metavers company where people could share “not just moments with your friends online, but entire experiences and adventures.”

So this is not just an attempt to distract everyone from Facebook’s scandals?
Not quite. But Facebook critics say that the timing is not random. “If you do not like the conversation, try to change the conversation,” Frances Haugen, a Facebook product manager who became a prominent whistleblower, Narrator AP. Haugen’s meandering documents formed the backbone of damning new revelations in the Facebook newspaper.

What will we do in the metaverse?
Currently, Zuckerberg says, Meta is focusing on creating virtual office spaces where people working from home can come together as if they were personal, plus virtual homes that people can design and host real friends for metaverse games. You will also be able to attend concerts, travel to distant cities and natural wonders, and of course shop virtual clothes and goods that will exist in our virtual worlds. Theoretically, once the technology is good enough, the possibilities are as wide as our imagination.

“It’s going to make our world feel like Harry Potter,” Louis Rosenberg, CEO of Unanimous AI and a veteran augmented reality (AR) developer, Narrator Insider. Magic is fun, but like the wizarding world, there is a dark side. “Instead of just being in our own information bubbles, we will be segmented into our own customized realities,” Rosenberg said.

Is that a bad thing?
Well, the meta-verse, as it is imagined in Snow controlled, “was a thing that people used to stun when their lives were awful” in Stephenson’s dystopia, Haugen told AP. “So beyond the fact that these immersive environments are extremely addictive, and they encourage people to take the plug on the reality we actually live,” she added, “I’m also concerned about it on a par with – the metaverse will require , that we are putting many, many more sensors in our homes and in our workplaces, “people are opening up to much more data collection.

“People should be concerned,” Shawn Frayne, CEO of holographic technology startup Looking Glass Factory, Narrator Insider. “If you think Facebook on your phone has been bad for democracy, think of your entire field of vision controlled by such a company.” Allowing people to literally go through the world in a reality curated by Facebook and the people it sells your data to would open up dangerous new vectors of misinformation and silo people even further into their ideological bunkers, experts told Insider.

Will people trust Facebook with their virtual lives? More?
Zuckerberg is betting big that people will consider the disadvantages worth drawing on the metaverse, and he may be right. Maybe it will even help Meta retain some of the younger users it loses to Snapchat and other competitors. But Haugen and others are worried. “If your employer decides that they are now a metaverse company, you need to give far more personal data out to a company that has shown that it is lying when it is in its best interest.” she told AP.

“Zuckerberg does not build the meta-verse because he has a remarkable new vision of how things could be,” Zuckerman writes at Atlantic Ocean. Half an hour into his Meta video, he talks about how humiliating the last few years have been for him and Facebook, but “he is not humbled by the problem of Russian disinformation or the spread of anti-wax misinformation or the challenge of how Instagram affects teens’ body image, no, he’s humble about how hard it is to fight Apple and Google. Asked whether Facebook’s core products are eroding the foundations of a democratic society, Zuckerberg tackles a more pressing issue: Apple’s 30 percentage reduction on digital goods sold in its App Store. “

Will the meta-verse be expensive?
If you do not pay for a product, the technical axiom, you go is the product.

When the internet first shifted from news to the central aspect of our modern lives, many smart people wondered how anyone would make money if everything was free? Some industries, like journalism and recorded music, are still trying to figure it out. Companies like Google and then Facebook have figured out how to become ridiculously wealthy by offering services that people want to use, the only cost is huge amounts of personal data they collect about you and sell to people who want to convince you about buying their products, fidelity or way of seeing the world.

“Advertising will continue to be an important part of the strategy across the social media parts of what we do, and it will likely also be a meaningful part of the meta-verse,” Zuckerberg confirmed on Facebook’s latest earnings call.

We’re still going to use the metaverse, right?
“The metaverset is genuine and Wall Street is looking for winners,” Wedbush analyst Dan Ives wrote in a note, It writes CBS News. Meta, due to its enormous resources and ownership of Oculus, is likely to be one of the winners, but it will not be the only one. The goal of the metaverse developers is to create an infrastructure, like the Internet, where people can seamlessly jump from one virtual reality to the next.

And while Meta is trying to draw consumers into the meta-verse with the promise of making their fantasies come true (largely), other companies, such as Microsoft and Magic Leap, are more quietly focusing their AR efforts on industrial applications such as design, manufacturing and advertising. .

When will the meta-verse hit the mainstream?
Virtual reality has been the next big thing for many, many years. And the surest prognosis is that we are much closer than we were in the early 1990s.

That said, “let’s be honest about this: Facebook’s metaverse stinks,” with outdated, recycled ideas rendered in mediocre graphics, says Zuckerman. “The metaverse that Zuckerberg shows in his video does not have to solve those problems. He promises future technologies that are five to 10 years back.” But the bigger challenge for Zuckerberg and other metaverse creators is that “the metaverse is not about building perfect virtual escape hatches – it’s about holding a mirror to our own ruined, shared world,” he argues. “Facebook’s promised metavers are about distracting us from the world it’s helped break.”

Still, it could be fun.

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