Mark Zuckerburg recently had a conversation with Lex Fridman discussing Meta and the future of the “Metaverse“. In this article I will explain what was said about Meta’s Metaverse and also give my opinion on the matters.
Mark explains that Meta’s goal is to make experiences as realistic as they can be in the Metaverse. He goes on to say that we spend a lot of time in the digital world, and wants to upgrade the experience. He highlights Zoom meetings as one of the digital aspects that could be improved. Mark explains that Horizon Workrooms has done a great job of creating a better experience in VR than communicating through just a webcam.
I personally have an Oculus (Meta) Quest 2 and I can confirm that the VR world is an absolutely eye-opening experience. From the second you put on the headset you are immersed in a whole fantasy realm. It was extremely dope the first time in the VR world, but even today, the excitement hasn’t wavered. When communicating in-game or in-app you have audio coming from all directions, which I think is the coolest shit ever (this is not an ad). You can be talking to somebody next to you, while a conversation held 25ft away from you cannot be heard at all. I do believe that this experience is better than a regular webcam call for the reason that you can control the environment and have a better time overall communicating.
In the conversation, Mark stated that Meta is still devoloping this “Metaverse”. Also, he stated that he’s working on Haptic Gloves to control feeling of the hand while in VR. He says that the full sense of presence in the Metaverse is about 5 years out. Mark claims that he’s studied psychology and computer science and works at the intersection of both. He wants to be able to bring a full sense of emotion to the Metaverse; discussing face tracking and eye tracking to convey the full range of emotions we show on our face to further expand communication in the Metaverse.
Playing around with the Oculus technology I’ve been pretty impressed by how much control I have already. After watching this interview I feel super excited to see what’s coming next. I thought that the Haptic Gloves were really interesting as they may be able to facilitate weight and pressure that people or objects can give. One feature i’m not too sure if I would want would be the eye tracking. Zuck explains that eye contact in the Horizon Workrooms would be a better way to communicate. Although, I disagree. I do not think it’s necessary to have eye contact in game, rather, functional eyes. It maybe can enhance conversation by a small amount, but the creepy tendencies of humans could make it strange for users like myself.
When asked about the topic of identities in the Metaverse by Lex, Zuck wants you to be whoever you want to be. He says if you want to be a dragon, you will be able to. If you would like to be a photo-realistic version of yourself though, that’s possible too. Of course, these avatars will vary throughout the apps on the console. Further in-depth questioning progressed towards the topic of imposters and how to handle them. Zuck explains that handling imposters is something that we’ve been dealing with for years and that they have a team at Meta dedicated to solving this problem. He claims that Biometric AI and behavior tracking could solve these problems.
As most of you know, and as I know, Zuck has been in some hot water of privacy issues in the past. Making sure our information is safe and also that we can have the correct privacy is very important to a lot of consumers. I think that Zuck has to be careful of the adoption of these AI systems; reason being, the public doesn’t quite fully trust Meta (formally known as Facebook). Do I want an AI system to verify me every time I log in? No. Although, we do it every day on our iPhones. I think that transparency is the keyword that Mark should focus on. Explain the system thoroughly to consumers so that we understand how our data is stored, and used. I don’t personally think Zuck has any evil intentions. Mark also talked about how behavioral tracking would be able to pluck out bots and ill-mannered people. I do agree that this is a good idea if it’s done correctly.