S3E33: What is the Facebook Metaverse?

Facebook is changing its name and we will all get to live in the Metaverse. 

What is the Metaverse you may ask?

According to Definition.com it is,

Metaverse
The Metaverse is a collective virtual shared space, created by the convergence of virtually enhanced physical reality and physically persistent virtual space, including the sum of all virtual worlds, augmented reality, and the internet. The word metaverse is a portmanteau of the prefix “meta” and “universe” and is typically used to describe the concept of a future iteration of the internet, made up of persistent, shared, 3D virtual spaces linked into a perceived virtual universe. The term was coined in Neal Stephenson’s 1992 science fiction novel Snow Crash, where humans, as avatars, interact with each other and software agents, in a three-dimensional space that uses the metaphor of the real world. Stephenson coined the term to describe a virtual reality-based successor to the Internet. Concepts similar to the Metaverse have appeared under a variety of names in the cyberpunk genre of fiction as far back as 1981 in the novella True Names.”

Wow, what a long definition. 

Basically think of it as being like the movie “Ready Player One”. Facebook wants us to all live in a virtual world and they are the interstate highway that allows us to get to everywhere and everywhere is right. Retailers are working to build their virtual world so you can buy real things in a virtual store and have it shipped to your house. Video game companies will have gateways that you can “gather” up with your friends and you all “walk” together through Epic’s Fortnite portal to go play together. 

Facebook wants to be at the forefront of that. So it has announced a new API (Application Programming Interface) that they are calling OpenXR. Previously all of the virtual reality headset makers developed proprietary standards and games they made would only work on their headset. The same with Facebook’s $19 Billion (US) purchase of Oculus a few years back. The investment hasn’t paid for itself yet but with this move to an open standard, Facebook is wanting other headset vendors to join their plans. But do we want Facebook to be the gateway to the future? 

Facebook has pushed the ideas of virtual workspaces such as Horizon Workrooms, where you and your co-workers avatars can join to meet and collaborate, or Horizon Worlds which is essentially Facebook’s portal for gaming and watching concerts. Facebook is paying $10 billion (US) this year to keep building out the world. 

Are you ready for a virtual world? Facebook thinks anyone 30 years old and under will be. Let’s see.

Facebook is also renaming themselves, or actually they are going to create a parent company and put all of their other entities underneath this. I joked that Facebook should call their parent company, The Oasis (from Ready Player One) or buy out Second Life and use it. 

Here are links to the news that added to this article.

https://www.definitions.net/definition/METAVERSE

https://www.vrfocus.com/2021/10/facebook-encourages-creators-to-horizon-with-10m-fund/

Oh, and Amazon Alexa makes a play for your next hospital stay. It could work.

https://hitconsultant.net/2019/02/25/cedars-sinai-smart-hospital-room-pilot-alexa/#.YXmX4NbMKCd

https://zephyrnet.com/facebook-to-create-10000-european-jobs-to-build-its-metaverse/

https://www.khronos.org/api/index_2017/openxr

https://www.cnn.com/2021/10/20/tech/facebook-name-change/index.html

https://www.ksl.com/article/50268561/what-is-the-metaverse-how-the-internet-in-3d-will-work–maybe

 

S3E22: Virtual and Augmented Reality Travel

S3E22

Want to see the Podcast Live? Go here!

https://youtu.be/_6LHEpBL3kE

Want to go to Europe but you just can’t afford it? Yeah, me neither.

So imagine you could be at your favorite place in the world in a matter of minutes. Or maybe you have a “list” of places you have always wanted to go. Well, Tech is working to give you ways to go all over the world and beyond via virtual reality or augmented reality. Say what?

https://www.morningbrew.com/emerging-tech/stories/2021/07/30/mixed-reality-transform-travel-industry-unexpected-ways-heres

So here are your buzzwords for this episode: Virtual Reality, Augmented Reality, Mixed Reality, and Extended Reality. VR, AR, MR, and XR (I guess ER doesn’t sound right so they call it XR).

So VR, virtual reality-A computer simulation of a three dimensional world

Augmented Reality- when technology super-imposes computer images on top of your reality. My favorite example is Pokemon Go` or Google Lens, which is my favorite use of it so far, where it translates street signs in real time. Very cool.

Mixed Reality- a combination of a virtual world and a real world using computer imagery. 

Now combine all of this and the experience is called Extended Reality, XR. 

So our world hunkered down and we all hid in our houses and didn’t go anywhere for months. So tech companies started working on how they could make a way for us to go places without leaving our homes. Facebook bought Oculus (a VR headset company) back in 2014 for $3billion (US). So far other than releasing headsets and making folks lives difficult when they have issues with their Facebook accounts when using VR. By the way, want to speak to a human at Facebook and get help with your account? Buy a Oculus VR headset. They actually have human customer service and will help with a Facebook account, only cost you $300 US.

Anyway, companies want to give you a way to visit the Eiffel Tower, the Pyramids of Egypt, the Great Wall of China, all without you leaving home. 

And as we rush out to go visit everything now that Covid is over. Hahahahaha Anyway, so the issue is we are suddenly “over visiting” things such as the Great Barrier Reef, Coliseums of Rome, and National Parks in the US. This means we are accidentally destroying these places or we are leaving so much trash behind when visiting these places

https://www.emarketer.com/content/pandemic-pushed-xr-use-beyond-gaming?utm_source=morning_brew

https://www.comparethemarket.com.au/travel-insurance/vr-travel/?utm_source=morning_brew

These technologies may not completely replace travel but it can enhance our travel. We can learn so much about the places we visit using augmented reality. . Imagine seeing people dressed in time period specific clothing in augmented reality while we walk about great places. Or information bubbles pop out telling you about an artist or a work as you look at works of art in museums. Sadly I think of dystopian worlds where we are unable to go anywhere and this is our only way to “travel”.

Apple wants to scan your photos on your phone for Child abuse images. 

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2021/aug/07/week-in-patriarchy-apple-privacy

So remember Apple’s iPhone is the privacy phone, right? So Apple wants to use artificial intelligence to scan your phones on your phone for child abuse and child sexual abuse images based off of a database of images given to it by authorities. While on the surface this sounds amazing and hopefully will help prevent child abuse of all forms, the concern of privacy advocates is, how does it make sure it doesn’t find false positives? What can go wrong? And worse, the bigger worry is this technology could fall into the wrong hands of bad actors. How do we do the right thing and at the same time prevent it from turning into a Big Brother scenario? How do we stop child abuse (and for that matter so many other forms of abuse) and yet not wrongly accuse people? Apple’s approach is to use a database of images supplied by legal authorities and Apple themselves would not actually see the photos but instead use an algorithm to compare images. So there won’t be anyone viewing the images to confirm except maybe the police when they get a warrant to search your phone. For me, I am okay with this but it is easy to say that when you know you have nothing to worry about. And if real abusers are captured and legally prosecuted, then again I am in favor of this. But again, if hackers can get their hands on this tech and use it for wrong. It feels a little like a cross between Big Brother and the movie “Minority Report”.

Google has released a new USB C version of their Titan Key. 

I have talked about Titan as my favorite way to secure my login with various sites especially Gmail. So you basically enable two factor and then this is your hardware way to do a code to get logged in.

https://9to5google.com/2021/08/09/new-titan-security-key/

Once I get my hands on one I will do a review.