Following the announcement that Facebook’s parent company would be renaming to reflect a shift toward the Metaverse, a slew of new projects have sprung up in the virtual realm, ranging from real estate purchases to exploring the limits of what this universe has to offer.
Santa Monica and Seoul
The downtown Santa Monica District, west of Los Angeles, was one of the first real-world locations to make the FlickPlay app available to consumers. Walking through the neighbourhood, which branded as a metaverse tool, appears to be more of a limited augmentable reality experience than a virtual one, with users collecting digital tokens in the style of Pokémon GO.
Seoul’s entry into the Metaverse, on the other hand, is projected to be a 100% virtual environment when it launches in early 2023. The city administration said in November that it will launch its own platform, Metaverse Seoul, which would gradually integrate services relating to the business, culture, education, and civil grievances. In addition, the Korean capital planned to host festivals in the Metaverse and develop virtual copies of its major tourist attractions.
Does Meta have a ‘women problem’?
Following the debut of Horizon Worlds, Meta, formerly Facebook’s virtual reality game and online community platform, at least one user claimed that the virtual world facilitated sexual harassment. One of Horizon’s beta testers claimed in a Thursday storey from MIT Technology Review that a stranger had molested her avatar. Actually, there is a feature that can encase an avatar in a protective bubble to ostensibly stop such an attack. However, the user was either unable to activate it in time or was otherwise unaware of it.
“At the end of the day, virtual-reality places designed to deceive the user. Into believing they are physically in a certain location”. That every everybody action takes place in a three-dimensional world,” said Katherine Cross, a University of Washington online harassment researcher. “It’s one of the reasons why emotional reactions can be more intense in that environment. And why VR causes the same internal nervous system and psychological responses”.
Another woman reported her metaverse persona being under attack in November. This time without the use of avatars and with apparent real-world consequences for her business. Thea-Mai Baumann, an Australian artist, reported getting shut out of her Instagram account after Facebook relaunched to Meta.
Meta controls Instagram and Baumann’s account had a modest following, less than 1,000 at the time. Hence, many on social media assumed the corporation would just confiscate her account rather than purchase it. She was shut out of Instagram for more than a month. Without being able to authenticate her identity until it was restored.
“This is the storey of a decade of my life and career”. “I didn’t want my metaverse contribution erased from the internet”, Baumann remarked. “That occurs all the time to women in tech, especially women of colour in tech”.
Companies are becoming more meta
Baidu, the Chinese internet behemoth, announced plans to establish its own metaverse product, dubbed XiRang. Which will be able to handle input from 100,000 users and will host an AI developer conference. The Baidu Create conference scheduled for December 27.
Following this week’s acquisition of virtual sneakers and collectibles firm RTFKT, sports footwear and apparel manufacturer Nike’s products have officially gone virtual. RTFKT, which bills itself as “completely formed in the metaverse”, will almost certainly assist Nike in achieving its goal of “simply doing it”.
Facebook whistleblower issues metaverse warning
Former Facebook employee Frances Haugen expressed her concerns about the metaverse after turning over hundreds of papers. Implying that the corporation was not achieving what it said in terms of deleting hate speech and messages advocating murder. Haugen claimed she was “very concerned” about the potential perils of the virtual world for spying, socialising, and more in a Time magazine newsletter published on Thursday:
“When you enter the metaverse, your avatar is slightly more attractive or attractive than you. In actuality, you dress better than we do. The apartment has a more elegant and relaxing feel to it. And then, at the end of the night, you remove your headset and proceed to brush your teeth. And it’s possible that you simply don’t like how you look in the mirror. That downward spiral… I’m afraid people will look at their apartment, which isn’t as good. And at their face or figure, which isn’t as nice. Then say, “I’d rather have my headset on.”