Meta Is Investing Billions to Build a Metaverse. But What Is It?
9:26

Meta Is Investing Billions to Build a Metaverse. But What Is It?

Computing
Speaker 1: The next platform and medium will be even more immersive, an embodied internet where you're in the experience, not just looking at it. And we call this the metaverse Speaker 2: In July, 2021, mark Zuckerberg, staked Facebook's future on the metaverse to prove he was serious. He renamed the company meta and promised to spend billions of dollars to rebuild a metaverse platform. He isn't alone. Other companies are also working on their plans for the metaverse, [00:00:30] the expected next iteration of the internet. The metaverse is difficult to define. It's usually described online spaces where people socialize, work and play as avatars, digital representations of their identities. Unlike a zoom chat, the spaces don't disappear when you're done, they're there for someone else to use though. It's often name checked in the tech world. The metaverse is still a fuzzy idea for people outside the industry. Speaker 3: [00:01:00] I mean, the metaverse is clearly clearly a term of great currency in this moment in time. And I think for right now, 2022, the metaverse is a story we are telling about what the future of technical infrastructures might look like when you combine virtual reality, augmented reality, high speed, internet connections, and some kind of notion of a virtual space. You might occupy with other people. So an easy answer to the meta versus well it's, you know, the next version of the future of computing, the more complicated [00:01:30] answer is of course, it's a story about how we imagine the world Speaker 2: Meta and other companies tout the metaverse as an evolution of the internet, a virtual world, that pair allows our lives in the real world, but it's an idea that's been tossed around for decades and tried before. Speaker 3: One of the other ways to think about the metaverse is that it's always already existed, uh, in different pockets of the world, right? So whether you were someone engaging in gaming experiences, [00:02:00] whether those were multiplayer games or where that those were deeply immersive games, if you were engaging in other kinds of online communities, there's an argument to say that the meta versus already here, I just wasn't called that Speaker 2: Roblox and Minecraft have been building virtual worlds for years, second life fortnight Minecraft and other games, all incorporate aspects of virtual, augmented, or reality to create an immersive gaming experience for users. If you're unfamiliar with the term, virtual [00:02:30] reality refers to entirely digital spaces that are accessed through hardware, like the Oculus headset, these headsets use special lens technology, cameras, and motion tracking controllers to fully immerse you in their digital worlds where objects can seem real, even when they aren't Augmented reality is a related, but different technology AR brings digital objects into the real world. Often with no headset required, though, there are some AR headsets on the market. [00:03:00] Some expert see augmented reality is a gateway to broader acceptance of the metaphor. Speaker 3: The technology has continued to advance and continue to, uh, find touchpoints in all of our lives, whether it's through, you know, mobile phones, connected to the internet or other forms of connectivity, smart TV, all those sort of pieces of the puzzle Speaker 2: And advances in software have introduced users to more realistic experiences through higher levels of fidelity. The degree of real world exactness that's digitally reproduced. However [00:03:30] critics say more work is needed in order for the technology to deliver the fidelity the metaverse needs. Speaker 4: It can be easy to, you know, uh, get carried away in like this Nirvana state of, of what's being sold to us. But we need to think about what's right in front of us right now. We're now starting to see, um, some metaverses being made available, uh, on mobile platforms, uh, you know, as well as through even the web browser. Uh, so we're starting to see a shift towards accessibility. Um, you know, that [00:04:00] also comes typically at the cost of fidelity Speaker 2: Beyond the technical aspects of the metaverse. Another area of concern is who builds and controls the metaverse a corporate version of the metaverse one that's built by existing tech companies, risk repeating problems that already plague social media. Some people worry by bias, bullying, misinformation, and harassment could even be magnified in the metaverse because it's an immersive environment. Speaker 5: You know, it's one thing to send 180 characters to somebody over Twitter. [00:04:30] And another thing entirely to bully somebody in a metaverse type space where your brain is tricked you into feeling like you're really there. That's I think the potential for abuse in the metaverse that, uh, the argument that maybe we need to get ahead of this Speaker 2: Other critics believe that user generated content will be the building blocks of the metaverse like current and previous iterations of virtual platforms, like the game second life, but even in second life, larger entities like corporations and businesses [00:05:00] still had a hand and shaping the space. Speaker 3: I'm not sure it's as straightforward as saying it's either large tech companies or it's user generated. I think it's usually a little bit of drift between both of those things. And I think that under course, the role of governments in all of this and the role of sort of social institutions, Speaker 2: Whether the metaverse will come together as a single platform is an open question right now, industry standards don't exist for the metaverse. That means big companies are competing to lay the foundation. Others will have to follow [00:05:30] a pattern that was established with a development of the internet. Speaker 3: One of the really interesting facets of the metaverse and of calling this constellation of technologies and experiences is the metaverse is that it creates the opportunity to build a platform. And the thing about platforms is that if you build them right, which is usually open and with standards, you can move things between pieces of the platform. So, you know, when we think about the internet, whilst we may experience it via a particular service provider or a particular device, the underlying [00:06:00] architecture, such that it can be delivered in lots of different places, Speaker 2: Zuckerberg, arguably metaverses biggest champion says interoperability among applications is crucial to get people to use the metaverse. That means companies will need to collaborate. So people using the metaverse can freely between platforms and experiences. For instance, if you have an avatar in metas, metaverse ideally you should be able to use the same avatar when moving to a Microsoft platform that however is easier said [00:06:30] than done. Speaker 4: If you're familiar with the Roblox style, um, Lego like experience, um, compare that to something like Fortnite, trying to take your character, just take it over to Fortnite and, and make it work there. I just wouldn't work. You actually need to have two completely different iterations or, or models of your, your avatar. That's where I think fundamentally they're just straight up challenges that exist because no two metaverses really are delivering, you know, a common experience Speaker 2: Welcome Nvidia valve, epic [00:07:00] HTC, and apple are among the companies working on metaverse or metaverse like projects. How, or when these projects develop is anyone's guess game and entertainment companies like stage verse, which digitally reproduce concerts and festivals have been operating in a metaverse like environment for years. But with more is adopting a hybrid work model. The metaverse could also come to the world of work, a 2020 report from consultancy PWC predicts that nearly 23 and a half million jobs worldwide will [00:07:30] use AR and VR by 2030, the technology will be used for tasks like employee training meetings and customer service. According to PT, you see the metaverse could also offer new economic opportunities, such as game creation, virtual retail, or digital asset trading. The virtual world could be a source of real money. Speaker 5: I think there's a good argument that over the long run, you could potentially create a new class of economic participants who could share in the upside of this new PLA form shift, right [00:08:00] through maybe token economics through game mechanics and so forth that you're already starting to see. But I think the metaverse is potentially a really lucrative place for creators to kind of populate this new world and, um, and make a great living doing so Speaker 2: How widespread the metaverse the comes is in part dependent on how many people get on the internet a little less than two thirds of the world's population had access to the internet in 2021, according to [00:08:30] the it, without basic accessibility to the internet, widespread adoption among a global community of users will be a challenge companies building the metaverse will need to first see the digital divide is bridged if they want their virtual world to attract people from around the globe. Speaker 3: When I think about the metaverse, my hope for it is that we can be really mindful about what's happened when we've built large technology apparatus and infrastructure in the past. And that as a result, we go into this [00:09:00] a little less naive and a little more deliberate about the choices we make. That also means as citizens, we have an obligation to hold the organizations and our lives accountable to the values that we care about. Speaker 2: It's unclear whether the S live up to the, or fail to live up to the height. What is clear? You're sure to be hearing more about the metaphors for years to come.

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