Have you ever been scrolling through Facebook and thought, “Wow, what a wholesome site. I wish this was a physical location which I could spend my entire day in!”. No? Well, Mark Zuckerberg has, and he’s gearing up to do something about it.
Enter the “metaverse”. As Zuckerberg explains in an interview with The Verge, the metaverse is a future of full interconnected apps, accessible on a wide range of devices: from PC, VR, AR, mobile phones, and gaming consoles. In his own words, it’s “an embodied internet where you could be in the environment and teleport to different places and be with friends.” In other words, you don’t browse social media – you’re inside social media.
In the ongoing saga of every billionaire needing the least normal and pastimes, Zuckerberg has found his niche. He believes the metaverse is necessary because our current way of interacting on social media – video calls, instant messaging etc – is still so far removed from how we interact in real life, and he wants to bridge that divide.
As well as VR, Zuckerberg talks about holograms being part of the metaverse one day, believing this will create a better “sense of presence” than how we interact with social media right now. “We’re basically mediating our lives and our communication through these small, glowing rectangles. I think that that’s not really how people are made to interact”, he explained.
It wouldn’t just be for our social lives, but for our work lives too. Zuckerberg also spoke about VR offices, which are being worked on at Facebook. This allows workers to customise their workspace however suits them.
However, with Facebook’s countless privacy concerns, as well as calls for the tech giant to be broken up (it currently owns WhatsApp, Instagram, Oculus, and much more), the metaverse would likely come under a heap of scrutiny. The company has already faced political backlash for its actions, such as the excessive collection of data without the user’s knowledge, which was then used to target voters with political ads. There are also ongoing concerns about the spread of disinformation on its sites, which would presumably get even harder to police if social media became more immersive.
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