Will we all be using the Facebook metaverse in 2022?

Few people were surprised when Mark Zuckerberg announced his intention, in October 2021, to rebrand Facebook as Meta. After all, the metaverse is a major focus for companies that want to take advantage of the increasing amount of time we spend online on our second screens and join an alternative universe.

Meta has started making Facebook Reality Labs its own business line and sees the metaverse, where people interact with each other virtually, as one of its big bets for the future.

As a reminder, the metaverse refers to a virtual world that can be accessed online using virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) devices. Users of this simulated 3D environment interact with avatars similar to the way people interact with a virtual version of themselves called an avatar.

They can interact in the same way as on social media platforms by chatting and meeting their friends, playing together and exploring their new world.

Meta has competition

The concept of interaction in a virtual world is not new. In 2003, the Second Life platform allowed you to create an avatar, build and sell properties and businesses, and interact with other avatars online.

Facebook shared the concept of a metaverse, launching Facebook Horizon in late 2019, renamed Horizon Worlds in October 2021. The group also announced Horizon Workrooms in August 2021, enabling online work and collaboration. This latest platform creates VR applications for social interactions and the workplace, and will allow users to interact with the real world using augmented reality. Facebook also promised to work with other platforms to make the metaverse a reality.

However, the Meta does not completely dominate the metaverse. Other platforms have been touting the metaverse as a means of interaction for some time. Although seven out of ten respondents in a recent survey said they were not interested in Meta’s virtual reality project, companies are creating platforms that allow users to participate .

Augmented reality app Spotland recently announced that its users can own a piece of digital land in its own metaverse and generate income by placing ads on that digital land. And cryptocurrency-based blockchain games that use the technology to connect other blockchains will also be a big factor in the metaverse.

Since gamers have embraced the blockchain, virtual world technologies offer them the ability to interact with the metaverse. DappRadar, for example, launched a token so users can use its RADAR token to interact online. They are rewarded with Ethereum cryptocurrency tokens for contributing and finding the best dapps (decentralized applications) to include in the dapp store.

The “next chapter of the internet” is a challenge

Mark Zuckerberg, for his part, believes that the metaverse is “the next chapter of the internet”, and Meta has committed to investing $150 million in this technology.

But technology partners also need to mobilize. As virtual worlds develop, we naturally gravitate to new social environments, but the technology is not yet ready to fulfill this vision. Eye, hand and haptic tracking should be smooth and accurate. The visual conflict called VAC in English, for “Vergence-accommodation conflict” makes the daily use of technology a challenge.

Fortunately, Meta’s Half Dome helmet and Deep Focus rendering technologies partially solve this visual problem.

In October 2021, Ego4D, with its dataset of 2,792 hours of first-person video and benchmark tests for neural networks, is expected to encourage the development of artificial intelligence (AI) that better understands what it is. in the first person. To be reliable, AI must be indistinguishable from a human, and hardware components such as sensors, audio and display technologies must be improved, as well as the power of processors and graphics and the speed of internet bandwidth.

Data control

This is a big challenge. But Meta is optimistic about his goals. However, this ultra-connected metaverse has some drawbacks, and it comes down to who ultimately has control over the data. Maybe that’s why Meta is so enthusiastic that we all use his version of the metaverse.

David Reid, professor of AI and spatial computing at Liverpool Hope University in England, explains that “whoever controls this actually controls your entire reality”. For him, “many prototype mixed reality systems today have face, eye, body and hand tracking technologies. Most have sophisticated cameras. Some even include electroencephalogram (EEG) technology to capture brain waves. . In other words, anything you say, manipulate, look at, or even think can be monitored in parallel reality. The data thus generated will be large – and very valuable. »

He added that if you think about “the amount of data that a company can collect on the World Wide Web today, compared to what they can collect in the metaverse, there is no possible comparison.

The Meta is playing the long game here. The company does not see an easy win in the next six months. It takes its time, building technological components and developing hardware that will gradually expand the current metaverse offering.

And over time, slowly begin to use parts of the metaverse in everyday life.

Source: ZDNet.com

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