Facebook’s latest futuristic idea, which the company says it wants to build with a team of 10,000 new hires in Europe, looks like a fancy new take on the mid-years virtual reality desktop game. Second life, only with Zuckerberg monitoring your trips online.
It’s called internally “the metaverse”, although that might not be the name that sticks. In a blog post published on Sunday, the company says it is “a new phase of interconnected virtual experiences using technologies such as virtual and augmented reality.” And, “At the heart of the idea is that by creating a greater sense of ‘virtual presence’, online interaction can become much closer to the experience of interacting in person.”
This appears to be the next phase of the company’s investment in Oculus and VR and AR technologies in general. And for a few years now, Mark Zuckerberg has been talking about new applications for technologies, such as being able to redecorate a room in a virtual space, or having virtual tours with people from all over the world.
The blog post, which is signed by Communications Manager Nick Clegg and Central Products Vice President Javier Olivan, also seems determined to blow some sun up the EU’s ass, in general.
“We have long believed that European talent is the world leader, which is why we have invested so much in it over the years,” the message read. âBeyond emerging technological talent, the EU also has an important role to play in shaping new internet rules. European policymakers are leading the way in helping to mainstream European values ââsuch as freedom of expression , confidentiality, transparency and the rights of individuals in the day-to-day operation of the Internet. “
It is therefore also the announcement of a recruitment effort, with a focus on specialized engineers in Germany, France, Italy, Spain, Poland, the Netherlands and Ireland.
“We look forward to working with EU governments to find the right people and the right markets to move this forward, as part of an upcoming recruitment drive in the region,” said Clegg and Olivan.
As the Associated Press notes, Facebook has made public a number of pie-in-the-sky projects that have yet to become realities, not least of which is Facebook’s foray into cryptocurrency – which faced a huge backlash from EU regulators, and that would also be a key element in making the ‘metaverse’ profitable.
Game-maker Epic Games, creator of Fortnite, is also working on a âmetaverseâ type project, and other companies could be as well. And it should be noted that the virtual economy within Second life itself, backed by the NFTs and its own long-standing crypto market, exploded during the pandemic, which Facebook was undoubtedly monitoring. And Facebook recognizes in its ad: “Bringing this [project] to life will require collaboration and cooperation among businesses, developers, creators and policy makers. “
But will anyone ever be happy with virtual reunions or virtual family “vacations,” which are essentially just Zoom calls in? Second life? Some segments of the population may always be more excited about living as an avatar in virtual space, but is it something most people will be really comfortable with? And isn’t this just another potential forum for harassment and abuse that Facebook won’t be able to adequately combat?
Of course, Facebook wants a big hand in such a project, and the EU’s ass kiss is a strategic first step, given that Facebook has plenty of critics across the pond who will want to put the kibosh on the company. trying to infiltrate our lives further than it already does.
In addition, whistleblower Frances Haugen, who testified two weeks ago before a Senate subcommittee, will be headed next week to testify before a British parliamentary committee and then to give other similar testimony in Europe.
Screenshot via Second Life via Quartz