May 19, 2024

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Why Facebook Is So Interested in the Metaverse, Can It Control Our Life

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On October 28, Mark Zuckerberg changed the name of Facebook to Meta and announced that the company would be working on creating a different world. This new world is one of his visions of the future, which he called the Metaverse.

Zuckerberg told that the company will invest billions of dollars in creating the Metaverse. He showed a video presentation in which a person in his digital avatar moves into the metaverse. He meets his friends who are actually in different places. He interacts with others by clicking on his wrist and views the picture sent on the phone in 3D size.

This time around, the world explores what the Metaverse is, why Facebook is so excited about it and how it can affect us.

Part One – A New Kind of World

Effi Bar Ziv is one of the creators of Second Life’s technology for the world of virtual avatars. This software was released 18 years ago. He is also the co-founder of Earthviewer maker Keyhole, which we know today as Google Earth.

The science fiction novel Snow Crash, which Effi Bar Zeev refers to, appeared in 1992, a year before the World Wide Web became available to all. In this Neil Stephenson imagines the future.

In this, people use mobile devices to access an online world that is made up of a mixture of the real world, the virtual world, and augmented reality. This is called the metaverse.

“People didn’t want to use their name in the metaverse,” says Effie Bar Zeev.

Horror stories like this are common in science fiction books. Then why do companies want to work on this fantasy?

Effi Bar Zeev says “I think a lot of people read these books but don’t care that they are just stories. They consider them to be documents that give a glimpse of the technology of the future. Different people do it differently. Understand it differently. But broadly speaking, you can call the metaverse the next phase of the Internet.”

American author Neil Stephenson first used the term metaverse for the world of virtual reality in his book ‘Snow Crash’.

In this story, to access the metaverse in their virtual form, people either wear glasses that have high-quality virtual reality displays or go to public booths where they get low-quality virtual reality displays. Such glasses are called ‘gargoyles’.

Metaverse is a separate world parallel to the real world with its own currency and different economy.

This book has had a great impact on the people of the technical world.

Mark Zuckerberg never mentioned the Metaverse, but when he announced the purchase of Oculus VR in 2014, he did mention the world of virtual reality, saying ‘With this we will open the doors to a new world for people.’

In an interview in 2020, Google co-founder Sergey Brin said that Snow Crash was one of the two books that influenced him.

For the first time in 2012, wearing smart Google Glass at an event, told that the company is working on this technology. Microsoft launched the Hololens augmented reality headset in 2016.

However, after the launch of Smart Google Glass, the impact of this technology was ridiculed on social media and many memes were posted.

It is not difficult to predict what will happen and how it will happen in the metaverse, some of the techniques used in this have already been prepared.

Says Effie Bar Zeev, “It’s not going to be like the world you see in the movies where you get into the metaverse wearing certain things. Maybe some of the things you see where you are are virtual and you can work with them digitally.” You can go anywhere in the virtual world. In such a situation, the scenery around you will change but it will not teleport. This means that you will live in the real world but will also be able to come in this online world.

At the beginning of 2021, the number of active people on the Internet was more than 4.5 billion, which is about 60 percent of the world’s population. Most of these are social media users. And Metaverse is an attempt to take social media a step further.

“There’s really no one on Facebook, just photos and videos of people,” says Effi bar Zeev. The idea of ​​the Metaverse is that people come to Facebook themselves in their virtual avatars and spend time here. Companies can see the revenue they make. This can be a big business in the coming times.

This means that instead of looking at the screen, people will become a part of its inner world, make friends, play games and even shop. And as stated in Snow Crash, they have to use something special for this.

He says, “I have worked on headsets for a long time and I am not a fan of them. Still I can say that they are heavy, like a burden and have limited capacity in terms of communication. There are a lot of problems with them.”

Part Two – How will the metaverse be

Max van Kleik is an Associate Professor in the Department of Computer Science at Oxford University. He says that creating an avatar in the gaming world, driving modern cars or wielding guns is a sign of what the metaverse could be like.

He says, “In the early days, you needed special machines for 3D games. But today’s games are like open world in which you can do many types of things. Although this is not the case in real life. The video gaming industry has been successful in creating a different world.”

Now companies have started organizing fashion shows and music events through games.

Max says, “The way Fortnite organized fashion shows all over the world at one time was unique. It gave people the opportunity to log in and participate in the same way they do for games. When I sat down to play, the atmosphere in it was like a concert.

In August this year, a virtual music show of well-known singer Ariana Grande was held on Fortnite. There was also an option to buy clothes and other things like Ariana’s virtual avatar.

Multiplayer-multidevice games like Fortnite are an example of how different types of devices allow people to go to a different world at the same time. Tech experts say that something similar will happen in the metaverse as well.

Max says, “The engineers and academics who created the Internet believed that it should neither be controlled by anyone nor should there be any restrictions on it. It was designed as a decentralized system, in which The parts related to it are regulated by independent organizations in a transparent manner.

Max van Kleik believes that this decentralized form can be the basis of our digital future. Due to the structure of the Internet, such new metaverses are being created in which the control over the data belongs to the users and not the company. But if this is not the case then it can be a big challenge.

He says, “Professor Tim Burnes Lee, who created the World Wide Web, is working on a program called The Solid Project. This project is about personal data control. But the developers working on some projects related to the Metaverse are working on data control. Don’t give priority.”

But the unfortunate thing is that the different people working on the metaverse have neither the same viewpoint nor preferences. But the fear of Facebook is bringing them together, which is putting its future at stake over the metaverse. The company is going to invest 10 billion dollars in a year.

Janet Murray is a professor at Georgia Tech in Atlanta and teaches digital media. She says that Facebook hopes that people will be the first to come on its platform and it will become their need. Although she believes that this is also a unique opportunity to collect more data about crores of people.

“It’s like a treasure trove of gold,” she says. When people at their home base build homes in a virtual space, you’ll get much more data about them. Wherever they go wearing the device, you’ll get to know their likes and dislikes. Now you only get to know their likes or shares. You will know what they use and then you will be able to advertise in their metaverse. They will be able to see your ads in the real world too.”

Before changing its name to Meta, Facebook was struggling with problems. The UK competition regulator has accused Facebook of violating the rules and fined it $70 million in a company takeover.

After this, thousands of documents of the company were leaked and it was alleged that it is unable to stop misleading information and hate speech content. In view of the misleading information spreading on it, an activist group even termed it as a ‘hazard to public health’.

Some experts believe that the vision of the Metaverse is an attempt to change this whole situation.

“The price of the company’s shares went up in the stock market,” says Janet. It’s as if the company is saying that it can be a leader in it. The controversy over regulation on social media discouraged investors. But Meta Joe Creating is a new thing and attracts people. Maybe through this people can communicate better.

Some technology has been developed to make the metaverse a reality, but there is still a lot to be done. In such a situation, it is difficult to say that the metaverse will be formed for the next 10-15 years. And a lot can happen in the meantime.

She says, “People get bored with new things. Zuckerberg’s claim of a new world of the Metaverse will increase people’s expectations. And when people will feel that your avatar is flying or roaming in the metaverse, it is actually you.” If not, they may be disappointed.”

But the question is, why did Facebook choose Metaverse as its new project instead of any other project?

Janet says, “I think this is an attempt to divert attention from what the company should really be working on. It should work on social media standards to prevent user data use and misleading information.” can count on his commitment.”

Senior Lecturer at Variety Mackintosh University of West England. She teaches about Virtual and Extended Reality.

She says that by renaming the company, Zuckerberg has projected herself as a player in the Metaverse and may be able to dominate the space tomorrow.

She says, “It’s hard for us to be sure that they will enforce strict rules regarding this new space or will respect the right to privacy of users. The concern is that the makers of such technology are seeing the benefits of it. But The speed with which technology is changing, it is not easy even for regulators to make rules at that speed.”

Variety believes that before the metaverse becomes common, strict rules need to be made regarding this technique.

She says, “We have little information about such virtual space. We do not know what should be done here and what should not be done. But if the company knows where we go, how we move and how we walk This could be dangerous.

Variety acknowledges that the technology may be too complex at the moment, but regulators can work on it as mechanisms are already in place to prevent the Internet from being controlled by anyone.

She says, “The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) ensures that companies do not infringe on the rights of data and privacy of residents of the European Union. User consents about how the data being collected will be used under this It is important for the company to take it. However, some companies consider it a hindrance.”

The metaverse also largely depends on the mutual understanding of the companies. OpenEXR is a standard that makes it easy for developers to share apps built for virtual and augmented reality platforms. Many companies support it but there are differences as well.

She says, “It would be unprecedented if all companies work on the same vision. But even in OpenEXR, ideological differences are visible among people. We should make rules that make all countries of the world a part of it and that only scientists or Don’t be the responsibility of the people of Silicon Valley.”

They have hope but also fear from the progress in the field of metaverse.

She says, “We can see this as a world that will bridge the distance between people and bring people from different countries closer. But I worry that companies may think of it as a mine of personal data. In such a situation, it would be better if strict rules can be made regarding this in the early stages.

Back to our first question – what is the Metaverse and why is Facebook so excited about it?

This is the next stage of the Internet where the real world and the virtual world will unite. There will be houses and markets too. It is also true that it will take a long time to make it. But shaping the future of the Internet is an opportunity Facebook doesn’t want to miss.

Developers and tech companies are not only necessary to create this new future, regulation is also very important.

For this, companies and governments will have to come together with a new thinking. But the trouble is that some people can still consider it a figment of the imagination.

BY Mansi Dash- Producer BBC

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