The Metaverse is coming
Meta Platforms, Inc. (formerly known as Facebook, Inc.) has big plans for something they call the Metaverse which they claim will change the way we interact with the internet and with each other. This is deemed the next big evolution of the internet, one that aims to merge the physical world with VR (virtual reality) and AR (augmented reality). Facebooks co-founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg defines the Metaverse as “a set of virtual spaces where you can create and explore with other people who are not in the same physical space as you.” According to Zuckerberg, the Metaverse will be accessible on all our different computing platforms, VR and AR, but also PCs, mobile devices, and game consoles. Users will go into the Metaverse to hang out with friends, work, play, learn, shop, create, and more. Through created avatars, people will be able to try on new winter jackets in a store, go to a concert, or go to a party with friends. Metaverse is an embodied internet that we go inside, rather than just look at, and it will undeniably change how we communicate and interact on a daily basis. It is a futuristic concept that probably won’t change how people interact on social media or the internet in the next couple of years to come. According to Facebook, it will take 10-15 years for their Metaverse to fully realize its potential. In order to develop the metaverse more responsibly, the company has announced a $50 million fund, officially called the XR Programs and Research Fund, aimed at this. This is reassuring as Facebook hardly is a company synonymous with responsibility. They do not have a good track record when it comes to users’ privacy and data and will surely face greater challenges in the future Metaverse. Information privacy is a concern stemming from the current challenges facing the whole social media industry.