Mark Zuckerberg is enthusiastic about his new metaverse concept, and as Facebook’s proposed name change dominates tech media today, more of us are looking at how a VR-based system could work in real life.
“Some people are going to say that this isn’t really a time that we should be focused on the future. Up front, I just want to acknowledge that there are clearly important issues to be working on in the present, and we’re taking that very seriously,” Zuckerberg told reporters earlier this week, according to CNet. “But at the same time, the reality is, there are always going to be issues. And for some people, they may have the view that there’s never really a great time to focus on the future. From my perspective, I think we’re here to create things. And we believe that we can do this and that technology can make things better.”
However, some are less ebullient and more circumspect about exactly how Facebook is developing toward its metaverse concept.
“Zuckerberg and his team are hardly the only tech visionaries with ideas on how the metaverse, which will employ a mix of virtual reality and other technologies, should take shape,” writes an AP author in a piece hosted at NPR. “And some who’ve been thinking about it for a while have concerns about a new world tied to a social media giant that could get access to even more personal data and is accused of failing to stop the proliferation of dangerous misinformation and other online harms that exacerbate real-world problems.”
One such detractor covered in a CNET piece today is John Carmack, who was hired as a CTO in Facebook’s Oculus division in 2019.
Carmack has a rather unusual reason for his criticism of Facebook’s approach. While a lot of antitrust people are afraid that the metaverse will give the burgeoning social media giant too much power, Carmack simply draws attention to their model of designing the metaverse from the top down.
“My worry is that we could spend years, and thousands of people possibly, and wind up with things that didn’t contribute all that much to the way people are using devices and hardware today,” Carmack told CNet’s Sareena Dayaram.
For example, Carmack says, he’s against Facebook’s design of multiple headsets for some of the same reasons. The veteran designer’s argument seems to be that you should let something like this build organically, instead of trying to make the environment first, and then invite users.
First off, though, Facebook is going to get past its current problems. Observers often argue that a name change is not enough to wash away things like the recent testimony of Frances Haugen and other problems that need to be faced by Zuckerberg and the leadership of a company that has amassed unprecedented global power in communications.
Keep an eye on how this influences markets.