PLENTY OF PITFALLS AWAIT ZUCKERBERG'S ‘METAVERSE' PLAN
Techlife News|01, January 2022
When Mark Zuckerberg announced ambitious plans to build the “metaverse” — a virtual reality construct intended to supplant the internet, merge virtual life with real-life and create endless new playgrounds for everyone — he promised that “you’re going to able to do almost anything you can imagine.”
That might not be such a great idea.

Zuckerberg, CEO of the company formerly known as Facebook, even renamed it Meta to underscore the significance of the effort. During his late October presentation, he was effused about going to virtual concerts with your friends, fencing with holograms of Olympic athletes, and — best of all — joining mixed-reality business meetings where some participants are physically present while others beam in from the metaverse as cartoony avatars.

But it’s just as easy to imagine dystopian downsides. Suppose the metaverse also enables a vastly larger, yet more personal version of the harassment and hate that Facebook has been slow to deal with on today’s internet? Or ends up with the same big tech companies that have tried to control the current internet serving as gatekeepers to its virtual-reality edition? Or evolves into a vast collection of virtual gated communities where every visitor is constantly monitored, analyzed, and barraged with advertisements? Or foregoes any attempt to curtail user freedom, allowing scammers, human traffickers and cybergangs to commit crimes with impunity?

Picture an online troll campaign — but one in which the barrage of nasty words you might see on social media is instead a group of angry avatars yelling at you, with your only escape being to switch off the machine, said Amie Stepanovich, executive director of Silicon Flatirons at the University of Colorado.

“We approach that differently — having somebody scream at us than having somebody type at us,” she said. “There is a potential for that harm to be really ramped up.”

That’s one reason Meta might not be the best institution to lead us into the metaverse, said Philip Rosedale, founder of the virtual escape Second Life, which was an internet craze 15 years ago and still attracts hundreds of thousands of online inhabitants.

Continue reading your story on the app

Continue reading your story in the magazine

MORE STORIES FROM TECHLIFE NEWSView All

A Bear Market May Be on the Horizon. Here's What That Means

Investors on Wall Street need a place to hide.

5 mins read
Techlife News
May 21, 2022

PARK OUTDOORS: FORD RECALLS SUVS DUE TO ENGINE FIRE RISK

Ford is asking the owners of 350,000 vehicles in to take them to dealers for repairs in three recalls, including about 39,000 that should be parked outdoors because the engines can catch fire.

2 mins read
Techlife News
May 21, 2022

ARGO TOUTS DRIVERLESS OPERATIONS IN MIAMI AND AUSTIN, TEXAS

An autonomous vehicle technology company that partners with Ford and Volkswagen says it has started driverless operations in two of eight cities where it is developing its technology.

1 min read
Techlife News
May 21, 2022

‘TWITTER PHILANTHROPY' REVEALS CHASMS IN SOCIAL SAFETY NET

Single father Billy Price was already struggling to make ends meet before someone broke into his Michigan storage unit, stole his identity and ruined his credit.

6 mins read
Techlife News
May 21, 2022

DUSTY DEMISE FOR NASA MARS LANDER IN JULY; POWER DWINDLING

A NASA spacecraft on Mars is headed for a dusty demise.

2 mins read
Techlife News
May 21, 2022

GOOGLE'S RUSSIAN BUSINESS PLANS TO FILE FOR BANKRUPTCY

Google says its Russian subsidiary is planning to file for bankruptcy because it can’t pay staff and suppliers.

1 min read
Techlife News
May 21, 2022

NY AGENCY FILES DISCRIMINATION COMPLAINT AGAINST AMAZON

A state agency in New York has filed an administrative complaint against Amazon, alleging the e-commerce giant discriminated against pregnant and disabled workers by denying them “reasonable accommodations” and forcing them to take unpaid leave, Gov. Kathy Hochul announced this week.

1 min read
Techlife News
May 21, 2022

CONGRESS DIVES INTO UFOS, BUT NO SIGNS OF EXTRATERRESTRIALS

Congress held its first hearing in half a century on unidentified flying objects. And no, there is still no government confirmation of extraterrestrial life.

2 mins read
Techlife News
May 21, 2022

CONSUMERS SHIFT AGAIN, FLUMMOXING BIG RETAILERS LIKE TARGET

The pandemic vastly changed the way Americans spend money and now as they return to pre-pandemic behavior, they’re tripping up retailers again.

3 mins read
Techlife News
May 21, 2022

HARLEY-DAVIDSON SUSPENDS PRODUCTION FOR 2 WEEKS, SHARES FALL

Harley-Davidson announced a two-week suspension of vehicle assembly and most shipments, citing a regulatory compliance issue with one of its suppliers.

1 min read
Techlife News
May 21, 2022
RELATED STORIES

A Perfect Match

EVERYDAY MIRACLES

2 mins read
Reader's Digest US
June 2022

The Future of ...WHAT'S COMING DOWN THE RUNWAY IN FADS, FASHION, AND FIRMWARE

I think influencer marketing should become more plugand-play, like with Facebook ads."

1 min read
Inc.
May - June 2022

How to block (and unblock) someone on Facebook

Is someone bugging the heck out of you on Facebook? Here’s how to block ‘em.

3 mins read
PCWorld
May 2022

Big Tech's Great Reckoning

A spate of new laws in Europe and the U.S. Foreshadow What Could Be the End of dominance for Google, Facebook and Amazon

10+ mins read
Newsweek Europe
May 13, 2022

AIRBNB Allows Employees to Live and Work From Anywhere

Airbnb will allow its employees to live and work almost anywhere around the world, fully embracing a remote work policy to attract staff and ensure flexibility.

1 min read
AppleMagazine
May 06, 2022

La era de la neuroprivacidad

Puede sonar a ciencia ficción, pero ya se puede leer el pensamiento y estamos a un paso de influir en él, gracias a los avances en neurotecnología. Pronto, los datos no provendrán de las redes sociales o nuestras búsquedas en Internet: se recogerán directamente de nuestro cerebro. Y mientras las grandes empresas se frotan las manos, los científicos advierten que ya es la hora de regular. Legislemos los neuroderechos.

10+ mins read
Muy Interesante España
Mayo 2022

De-FAANGed

Investors are rethinking a strategy that's served them for the better part of a decade

4 mins read
Bloomberg Businessweek
May 02, 2022

EU LAW TARGETS BIG TECH OVER HATE SPEECH, DISINFORMATION

Big tech companies like Google and Facebook parent Meta will have to police their platforms more strictly to better protect European users from hate speech, disinformation and other harmful online content under landmark EU legislation approved last weekend.

6 mins read
AppleMagazine
April 29, 2022

IN ELECTION MISINFORMATION FIGHT, '2020 CHANGED EVERYTHING'

Beth Bowers grew up in the 1960s and 1970s with parents who marched in protests, wrote letters to members of Congress and voted in elections big and small.

5 mins read
AppleMagazine
April 29, 2022

INSTAGRAM ADDS FUNDRAISING TO REELS TO HELP NONPROFITS

Meta Platforms Inc., the social media giant formerly known as Facebook, plans to celebrate Earth Day by expanding its offering of fundraising tools and making them more easily available to 1.5 million nonprofits on its Facebook and Instagram platforms, including those involved in fighting climate change.

3 mins read
AppleMagazine
April 22, 2022