In the 1992 novel Snow Crash, writer Neil Stephenson introduced the concept of “Metaverse.” This is a fantastic virtual world that is as real and present as the reality itself.
Almost thirty years later, Mark Zuckerberg is dragging Stevenson’s vision into reality.
Last Thursday, Facebook CEO and co-founder announced his company’s Metaverse project during a virtual meeting. Reminiscent of Stevenson’s book and other science fiction classics such as Tron and Enter Player One, Zuckerberg’s Metaverse is marketed as a “concrete internet” where you can play games, interact, and work. I did.
“We believe Metaverse will be the successor to the mobile Internet,” said Zuckerberg. “We can feel as if we are with people, no matter how far we are.”
At the same meeting, Zuckerberg revealed that Facebook’s holding company has changed its name to “Meta” to “reflect this commitment to the future,” according to Meta’s website. In particular, Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp, and other properties owned by Meta retain their names.
So what is the Metaverse?
In reality, the Metaverse is similar to the Mishmash of existing and still-developed technologies, all working together to create a concrete digital layer on top of reality. It is facilitated by virtual reality and augmented reality, accessed through goggles, eyeglasses, and other technologies still in work.
For example, instead of peeking through the internet through the screen, users slip through virtual reality goggles and feel physically present in the meta virtual world. After all, tactile technology may make users feel physical, but biometric scanners may pick up tremors that allow facial expressions, Zuckerberg said.
“You will be able to instantly teleport as a hologram to be in the office without commuting, at a concert with a friend, or in your parents’ living room to catch up,” said last Thursday. Zuckerberg wrote in the founder’s letter.
Alternatively, people can bring digital aspects like 3D art into the real world through augmented reality — think of games like Pokemon Go. Zuckerberg said they can be accessed from high-tech eyeglasses that are still in production.
Other aspects of the Metaverse are accessed through more normalized technologies such as computers and smartphones.
When will you get here?
Zuckerberg admitted that the full Metaverse is still a few years away. A September 27 news release estimates that many of the company’s products will be “fully realized in the next 10 to 15 years,” requiring the cooperation of policy makers, industry partners and experts. ..
Still, Zuckerberg said during the meeting: “Within the next decade, Metaverse will reach one billion people, host hundreds of billions of dollars in digital commerce, and support the work of millions of creators and developers.”
The rise of virtual reality is “unavoidable,” said Beth Coleman, author of Hello Avatar and associate professor of data and cities at the University of Toronto. Just as society has woven the Internet into its cultural and socio-economic structure, Coleman hopes that virtual reality will ultimately become just as essential to everyday life and the economy.
“In some respects, we’re already doing everything online,” Coleman said. “How much time have you spent zooming in the last 18 months? How many do you buy online instead of going to a physical store?”
“… Metaverse is just the next step in developing robust, real-time, visualized communications,” she said.
But it’s related to her that Facebook (or Meta) is leading the prosecution.
“If the newly branded meta dominates the Metaverse … that’s a very difficult prospect,” Coleman said. “In essence, Mark Zuckerberg will dominate the entire virtual world.”
Anatoly Gluzd, a professor and principal investigator at Ryerson University’s Social Media Lab, said the Metaverse could be vulnerable to data breaches.
“(Metaverse) exposes more user data on more platforms … By creating all these different places where people can interact and link on other devices, there is an opportunity for privacy concerns. It will increase, “he said.
At the same time, the Metaverse has the potential to enable much more data collection, from user biometrics to facial recognition. This is a concern, Gruzd said in light of Facebook’s track record of privacy and security.
For example, in 2018 whistleblowers said Cambridge Analytica, a company involved in both Donald Trump’s 2016 election team and the winning Brexit campaign, did not allow the personal information of up to 87 million Facebook users in 2014. I made it clear that I collected it.
Facebook discovered the leak in 2015, but did not warn users and took limited steps to protect and recover the stolen information.
False alarms and radicalization
Gruzd was also convinced that Facebook’s current issues, such as political polarization, hate speech, and misinformation, would be brought to the Metaverse.
“Just because we are humans, we guarantee that the same problems we are currently observing on social media exist in other forms of connected reality,” he says. I did. “Some of the same factors that drive antisocial behavior online and some of the other trends, such as the dissemination of false information (not stopping), will be a new place to do it.”
This message is particularly foresight in the light of Facebook Papers, a large number of internal Facebook documents disclosed to the US Securities and Exchange Commission by whistleblower Frances Haugen.
Newspapers revealed that Facebook rolled back measures to prevent hate speech and false alarms months before the January 6 riots. We have adopted a few steps to combat hate speech and misinformation in developing countries. We aggressively chose user engagement over safety, using an algorithm that prioritizes anger over all other engagement metrics. And much more.
Taina Bucher, an associate professor of media studies at the University of Oslo in Norway and author of Facebook, warned that these are still in the early stages of product launch. Zuckerberg said she was trying to hype the product with “rhetorical and strategic communication.”
“So now we’re starting the task of organizing these weird, hopelessly naive visions. What are the implications and consequences of all these?”
The metaverse is so large and multifaceted that it can lead to unexpected issues, not to mention existing Facebook issues. “I’m waiting for the problem to occur,” she said.
Bucher also wondered how a system designed by billions of people would respond to people and perspectives around the world.
“I’m very honored. I’m sure (Metaverse) can only be imagined from a very specific place. That place is very exclusive and doesn’t represent the rest of the world,” Butcher said. I am.
“It’s easy to laugh now … but it may actually be a reality because it’s Facebook that’s trying to do that, and it may not be that interesting anymore.”
What is Facebook Metaverse? Mark Zuckerberg says he is shaping the future of the Internet.This is why your data is at stake
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