When you hear Mark Zuckerberg talking about something called a ‘metaverse’, it’s a little disconcerting. He sits at the top of the most data-hungry company the world has ever seen (give or take a Google or two), one with a terrible track record of keeping its users’ information safe. Why on Earth would anyone trust this man to build a metaverse?
To answer that question, it helps to know what Zuck is talking about. He hasn’t gone all Reed Richards and starting building his own universe or anything like that. The metaverse is Zuckerberg’s vision for the future of Facebook. It looks a whole lot like reality, only it’s a little more virtual. The Facebook head sat down with Casey Newton on behalf of The Verge to talk a little bit more about what that future looks like.
There are a few ways that Zuckerberg’s vision of the future could play out and one of those is as illustrated in the video above — Hyper-Reality by Keiichi Matsuda is an illustration of the sort of future Facebook could help to usher in. Facebook’s CEO explains it as “…an embodied internet, where instead of just viewing content — you are in it”, but he isn’t about to show off just what that could look like. Not yet, anyway. Matsuda’s take is one way an integrated VR/AR/mobile internet that its users are constantly immersed in might look. But perhaps it won’t be quite as loud and cluttered. Perhaps.
But it will almost certainly involve an internet that you can’t really get away from. Zuckerberg says that “…instead of just doing this [having a meeting] over a phone call, you’ll be able to sit as a hologram on my couch, or I’ll be able to sit as a hologram on your couch, and it’ll actually feel like we’re in the same place.” Which sounds like an exciting idea in itself, particularly when he details a virtual business meeting taking while sitting in a Starbucks and working on five virtual monitors that the (virtual) meeting participants can also see.
This ‘metaverse’ concept is something Facebook is actively shooting for, though even its rapacious data servers aren’t enough to get the job done. If the concept of an immersive internet ever comes about, it will be the creation of a coalition of “…a lot of other companies and creators and developers”. We just need to be sure that it’s a place we’d actually want to spend time in, rather than one where we have to. Check out Mark Zuckerberg’s whole interview with Casey Newton here.