Is Facebook taking us on a voyage to the realm of the metaverse?
The young man in a black T-shirt, looking via virtual reality lenses into the virtual world. Nick Clegg will on Monday outline the vision of the tech giant of virtual reality that allows you to shop, work, and live. But the plan has raised new privacy concerns. The concept of the “metaverse” first came from the 1992 sci-fi novel Snow Crash as a place that people flee to escape a dangerous corporation-dominated world. The term has evolved to mean a variety of virtual experiences that become popular during the current pandemic which includes games on video, such as Fortnite, tokens that are not fungible, and even online events and meetings.
In recent weeks, however, the term has been gaining momentum – as well as concerns about its ethical and social implications – since Mark Zuckerberg said that in five years Facebook will become a “metaverse firm” in announcing it to be the “successor in the evolution of mobile technology”.
The vision he shared of how could be the future of VR the founder and the controlling shareholders of the 1tn (PS750bn) company spoke of an online world in which those using VR headsets (which Facebook has also acquired Oculus the platform for virtual reality could not only browse content but actually be part of the experience. It’s an online world created by creators, businesses, and developers where users can also be living their lives in virtual reality, attending performances, or even working.
In Washington, the push by Facebook’s political wing to push for the metaverse appears to be at full speed. Sheryl Sandberg the chief operating officer of Facebook as well as Nick Clegg, its vice-president for global affairs and communications are spearheading the lobbying campaign. On Monday, Clegg will be expected to present Facebook’s strategies on how the metaverse can transform society in a speech titled the Journey the Metaverse.
As reported by The Washington Post, the company is in contact with think tanks about metaverse protocols and standards – an approach that some analysts believe will allow companies to move the conversation away from issues related to the antitrust suit filed by the Federal Trade Commission last year.
Experts are worried that, with the regulatory system still struggling to keep up with the effects of the initial generation of social media and the metaverse, it is likely to become a means for companies such as Facebook to make money from more information. They also say that more foresight, as well as protection from the government, are required to protect against the possibility of the area and the lives of individuals becoming awash with large technology.
“I realize that this isn’t necessarily the most popular opinion, however, I believe that the harms we observe in the aftermath, not just particularly for children, but also for adults too, are so alarming that it is more prudent to create rules of governance that ensure transparency, data protection and so on, as well as the harms, particularly to children, before companies can be able to come out,” said Robin Mansell Professor of internet and new media in the London School of Economics.
Although to many people, the concept of metaverse may seem like an abstract concept, internet giants are already investing a lot of faith – and even money in the concept. Facebook recently introduced a virtual reality meeting service called Horizon Workrooms, where people meet remotely using headsets to meet like they were physically present in a virtual meeting room.
It also introduced Ray-Ban Stories, its first “smart glasses” that come with the use of two cameras as well as a mic speaker as well as a voice assistant. Additionally, Microsoft chief executive Satya Nadella has stated that the company is investing heavily in “the “enterprise cyber-world”.
Mansell declared that the political and social issues that are a part of the metaverse will be similar to the issues that exist on the current websites for social networking, like Facebook and Instagram, including surveillance, data, regulation, and representation of race, gender, and ethnicity. However, in the enveloping world of the metaverse, they’ll be on a much larger scale. She believes that tech giants should be made to hold off on launching till there’s “clarity on how they’re to be controlled”.
To me, it appears like it’s a simple stage in the monetization process of data for the benefit of Facebook and other major platforms. which are sold to the public as exciting and exciting, as well as beneficial for productivity at work, and other such things,” she wrote.
Scott Galloway, professor of marketing at the NYU Stern School of Business in New York, said Zuckerberg is at the core of the reasons why the metaverse has been attracting attention. “The idea that he’s determined that is the best way to get our interest is to transform into the universe is just one of those issues when you sit and think about it for too long, and it feels like it’s going nowhere well.”
He also said: “I don’t think people are afraid of the metaverse. They’re afraid about the Zuckerverse. This is exactly the result of his work in social media. There are more people who receive their data from Facebook than those who live in the southern hemisphere, plus India.”
“Dr. David Leslie, ethics coordinator for the Alan Turing Institute in London Dr. David Leslie, who is the lead for the metaverse at the Alan Turing provides an “escape way” to deal with the biggest issues facing society.
The idea, he added raises ethical questions about the entire process, from who creates and manages it, to the possibility of losing “the private and secure zone of life” and an insufficiently representative virtual population. “There is a chance that, in terms of the socioeconomic, gender, and ethnicity, and gender, the people of the virtual world could be skewed. We’re not living in a period of fair access to the types of infrastructure one might require to participate in these types of technologies.”
Dr. Brent Mittelstadt, senior researcher on data ethics with the Oxford Internet Institute, said the impact on society that could be a result of the metaverse is not certain. “If it had the same disruptive effect like, for example, people who go on online dates instead of meeting in person, to be in a position to predict the impact this would have on nature of relationships is extremely difficult, similar to forecasting the impact that social media could have been able to have when it was only being discussed as a concept.”
He added that If Facebook can convince users to spend a lot of time on its platform it will be achieving its mission of acquiring more data and making it a profit. “Suddenly you will have more information sources that exist, all of which are directed through one thing, the metaverse. If Facebook succeeds and you’re taking a substantial chunk of your time the internet.”