Marietje Schaake, International Policy Director at Stanford's Cyber Policy Center, Eurasia Group senior advisor and former MEP, discusses trends in big tech, privacy protection and cyberspace:
What is Facebook planning with the metaverse?
Well, my sense is that Facebook mostly prefers a virtual reality over the actual situation the company is in, with overwhelming criticism about the many harms to people it is causing all over the world. The metaverse at launch would be added to a number of services and experiences online in a more virtual and augmented reality setting. Think about what the gaming sector has done, but now, also, other big tech firms are jumping on the bandwagon. The thing to remember is that the user experience would be more immersive.
What have responses been to the metaverse, which Mark Zuckerberg announced?
Well, as one might expect, the responses were mixed. Some compared it to the hyped and eventually failed Second Life experience, but others, like Microsoft, announced their own more soft version with the option to use an avatar to participate in Teams video calls. Now, if you are like me, I have had more than enough of those during the pandemic, but let's see what happens to this gamification of the online experience. Certainly, some investors are sniffing opportunities, so they are probably playing up the potential of virtual and augmented realities. I'm personally most excited about seeing people in real life again, so checking out and going offline.