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    • Cartoon by Ayelet Kaminski ’22.

Zuckerberg Shifts Us Into the Metaverse

Anika Madan ’24 Assistant Op/Ed Editor
In October, Mark Zuckerberg, founder and CEO of Meta (formerly known as Facebook), delivered a speech describing the reasoning behind the corporation’s name change.
He stated that building technology around apps, rather than people “is not the way that we were meant to use technology.” Though the modification does not affect daily user experience on the app, Zuckerberg claims that the new name more accurately represents the mindset of the company. Examples of the “Metaverse” in modern society include virtual reality headsets and video games like Fortnite, but the vision of this technology for the future is more advanced than any video game currently available. The Metaverse is the future of the internet, but safety and security can become major concerns for the platform.

“Metaverse” describes a three-dimensional virtual realm in which the virtual world and reality intersect, creating augmented reality. It stems from the Greek word “meta” for “beyond.” Avatars in the Metaverse would mimic a user’s expressions and movements behind the screen. Ultimately, Metaverse innovators will look to explore each of the five senses—sight, hearing, touch, and eventually smell and taste—and how they can be engaged.

A major hope for the Metaverse is interpersonal connection. During the pandemic, a major struggle of quarantine periods was isolation from friends and family. With the Metaverse, one could feel the sensation of a hug in the virtual world. Another vision is the ability to go on vacation, like virtually climbing Mount Everest. There can be feelings of dissatisfaction because virtually climbing the mountain will never be the same as physically climbing it. However, the availability of both options will become a norm. This would change the world of travel forever. Some may worry that the travel industry would suffer, though the old-fashioned model of airplane travel, staying in hotels, and purchasing souvenirs would maintain its charm. The Metaverse would merely provide an alternative choice and can benefit humans greatly, especially in the entertainment and social departments. A highly immersive and advanced virtual world will become a powerful tool for humans.

Despite the natural desire to explore technology to its full extent, it is important to prioritize safety and security. Physical risks must be solved independently; users should ensure that the space around them is safe enough for virtual trips, especially if there is movement involved. A major privacy concern is content creators’ collection of more data than the current internet. Meta could minimize this by preventing the introduction of third-party apps. Meta should explore all possible implications of the Metaverse before releasing it to the public to ensure safety and security.

The line between humans and robots could blur as technology becomes more advanced. Humans will be able to go to virtual concerts, meetings, try on clothes, and more in the metaverse. However, privacy and safety need to be maintained, just like in the real world. Nick Clegg, Meta’s Vice President of Global Affairs, declared it would take ten years to achieve a fully developed Metaverse world. According to Bustle, Meta is creating 10,000 new jobs to increase the rate of growth in the field, with emphasis on the creative process. The arrival of the Metaverse will greatly change humans socially. While initially exciting and new, but it will gradually become second nature. Whether it is climbing Mount Everest or learning how to drive, the Meta-verse world will make all activities more accessible. The possibilities are endless.
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The Razor's Edge reflects the opinion of 4/5 of the editorial board and will not be signed. The Razor welcomes letters to the editor but reserves the right to decide which letters to publish, and to edit letters for space reasons. Unsigned letters will not be published, but names may be withheld on request. Letters are subject to the same libel laws as articles. The views expressed in letters are not necessarily those of the editorial board.
     
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