Dropping the biggest bombshell of the decade, social networking giant Facebook has managed to ruffle the feathers of various data privacy extremists with the sudden announcement of rebranding itself as “Meta”.
Stirring up another round of controversial debate on data privacy and whatnot, Facebook owner Mark Zuckerberg has renamed its company under a new name Meta and has planned to mix up sci-fi reel life theory into a real-world experience.
Yes, you heard it right! Zuckerberg plans to work towards bringing the concept of Metaverse into reality under the company’s latest initiative.
In his own words to his employees, Zuckerberg announced his ambitious project of Metaverse in a remote address saying that Facebook is planning to work on building a maximalist, interconnected set of experiences straight out of sci-fi world known to be Metaverse.
Enthusiastic about explaining his gigantic project that requires support from every field of technology, Facebook’s Metaverse revolves around mingling digital and physical reality while using different technologies like augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR), cloud and many more to recreate a new digital world.
Described as an embodied Internet where users will be able to communicate and navigate across different layers of reality, Zuckerberg wants to urge his workers to help him achieve this enormous initiative that will change the way we see the world right now.
But before explaining in detail what’s Facebook’s Metaverse is all about and how is it going to topple our existing beliefs about reality upside down, let’s see the origins of this word and what it entails.
What is Metaverse?
Coined around the late 20th century in a 1992 sci-fi novel called Snow Crash, the term was used to describe the convergence of physical, augmented, and virtual reality where people could interact with each other using their avatars.
The whole concept came to be as the next step in the development of the internet along with creating new digital reality with new infrastructure and real-time 3D worlds.
The prefix ‘Meta’, comes from a Greek word meaning beyond, after, or across.
Therefore, the whole term metaverse, specifically Facebook’s Metaverse, can be referred to as a place that exists beyond the world or this universe in the virtual realm that can be felt only as of the real world.
If you are a sci-fi movie buff, you must have come across this word more often in multiple movies like Matrix, Ready Player One, Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse and the list goes on.
To explain further, let’s take a look at two different types of a metaverse where one is all about, dealing with building a blockchain-based metaverse, with the help of NFTs and cryptocurrencies. Like ‘Decentraland’ and ‘The Sandbox’, that allows people to buy virtual parcels of land and build their environments.
On the other hand, one type refers to a simple world where people can meet and greet each other in a virtual world. Facebook’s Metaverse aims to create this specific version.
Is it our First Time Hearing this?
Not exactly, since game enthusiasts are quite familiar with this sci-fi concept.
Anyone aware of Fortnite and Ready Player One would easily comprehend the process and the functioning of Facebook’s Metaverse and the layout of this idea.
Facebook has decided to create something similar to these gaming products, like taking the player inside a virtual world where the meeting could be held using VR headsets, in any chosen avatar and preferred background setting.
However, the virtual world imagined by Facebook is not just for gaming only but rather it would be inclusive and expansive while providing all kinds of facilities from office to entertainment.
Data Privacy Controversy and Future Investments
Facebook plans to play a big role in this ambitious project of the metaverse, by announcing to invest heavily in virtual reality and its related technologies.
According to Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook’s Metaverse will be comprised of non-immersive platforms like modern-day’s social media while also including immersive 3D media technologies like VR and AR mixing up to become a virtual world.
Here, multiple users may be able to customize their avatars for work and play having virtual clothes for different occasions designed by different creators from different apps and experiences.
While some of the building blocks of Facebook’s Metaverse already exist, a big part of this famed technology is still in the research phase and seems to be years away from being widely available.
Zuckerberg has already acknowledged the fact that only one company is not sufficient enough to build this metaverse by itself.
Other companies that have shown their interest in metaverse are Microsoft and famous chipmaker Nvidia.
According to Nvidia’s Vice President, there are going to be lots of companies that will work on building virtual worlds and environments in the metaverse, similar to those companies that worked on the World Wide Web.
But the imagination of a different world is just the beginning.
Facebook’s Metaverse has come under a lot of scrutinies as the company is currently under data privacy breach controversy where Facebook failed to properly protect their user’s private information.
Stepping away from the fanfare done on the Facebook Connect video, one must understand that Facebook’s Metaverse is not a depiction of actual technology but a future glimpse of what might one day exist.
In the end, only users are going to spearhead Facebook’s Metaverse initiative by expressing their engagement and will be the ultimate deciding factor whether Mark’s vision becomes a reality or not.