Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has shared his desire to help expand the internet into a metaverse somewhat resembling the idea seen in works like Snow Crash or Ready Player One. Essentially, the idea is to expand the ways that people experience the internet. In a remote address to employees, Zuckerberg stated Facebook's various divisions would be working towards a goal across its initiatives "to help bring the metaverse to life." In an interview with The Verge, Zuckerberg elaborated on that goal, stating that it would be "the successor to the mobile internet." It would also be a joint venture on the part of many companies, as opposed to something that would be run by Facebook.
"...it's certainly not something that any one company is going to build, but I think a big part of our next chapter is going to hopefully be contributing to building that, in partnership with a lot of other companies and creators and developers. But you can think about the metaverse as an embodied internet, where instead of just viewing content — you are in it. And you feel present with other people as if you were in other places, having different experiences that you couldn't necessarily do on a 2D app or webpage, like dancing, for example, or different types of fitness," Zuckerberg told The Verge.
It's a lofty goal, to be sure. The way that we use the internet has greatly evolved over the last two decades, as there are constantly new ideas of how to expand the experience. Concepts like VR gaming and AR gaming have changed the way that we experience and interact with video games and other players. Meanwhile, remote work has become much more common, and people even exercise online!
Facebook's purchase of Oculus seems to play a big part in these plans. Zuckerberg sees a future where people are using VR as a regular part of their work routines, possibly even a decade from now. The Facebook CEO states that the technology will need to evolve before that can be a reality, but in an era where Zoom meetings have become a reality for many employees, it doesn't seem all that impossible.
As technology evolves, it's difficult to predict where we might be in the future. However, the concept of a metaverse where we experience the internet more wholly doesn't seem that hard to believe. The Verge's Casey Newton argues that "probably some of us are using the internet that way already," and it's hard to dispute that fact. For now, we'll just have to see what the future brings!
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