The idea of Facebook's Metaverse has been described by critics as a terrible threat to humanity and a dystopia -- a foreshadowing of great suffering or injustice in the future. Meta, Facebook's new name is investing billions of dollars into a project that hopes to see the creation of an immersive virtual reality environment. This idea is known as the Metaverse. Later, with Metaverse, people can interact with users and the artificial world around them. Dr David Reid, Professor of AI and Spatial Computing at Liverpool Hope University is one of those who is a bit concerned by this idea. While he believes that the Metaverse has the potential to bring some interesting things to humanity, it also risks deepening existing issues such as data privacy issues and cyberbullying drastically.
More worryingly, he argues that these technological developments will blur the line between virtual and reality. Whoever becomes the ruler of this reality will have access to an unprecedented amount of data. That means: countless powers.
"The market for it is huge. Whoever controls it will basically have control over your entire reality," says Dr Reid. "Many prototype MR [mixed-reality] systems today have face, eye, body, and hand tracking technology. Most have advanced cameras. Some even incorporate Electroencephalogram (EEG) technology to pick up brain wave patterns. In other words, everything You say, manipulation, look, or even think can be monitored in MR. The data that will be generated will be very broad and very valuable," he said. That's why Dr Reid insists we need a system to keep an eye on the Metaverse. No single company should have control over such a big thing, he said. Reid was not alone in his concerns. Another prominent critic of the metaverse is Roger McNamee, an early investor in Facebook. Speaking at the Web Summit in Lisbon this week, McNamee reportedly said he believed the metaverse project was being rushed up by Facebook in an attempt to deflect the bad press generated by the testimony of whistleblower Frances Haugen. "Facebook shouldn't be allowed to create a dystopian metaverse," McNamee told the BBC. "Facebook should lose the right to make its own choices. A regulator should be there giving pre-approval to everything they do. The amount of harm they do is incalculable," he added. Thus launched IFL Science, Monday (11/8/2021).