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Facebook changes company name to Meta in major rebranding exercise – What is Metaverse?

Facebook changes company name to Meta in major rebranding exercise – What is Metaverse?

Relevance:

  • GS 3 || Science & Technology || Information and Communication Technology || Internet

Why in news?

Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook’s CEO, has said that the firm will transition from a social network company to a “metaverse corporation,” operating in an “embodied internet” that merges the real and virtual worlds more than ever before.

What is “metaverse”?

  • The phrase “metaverse” isn’t new, but it’s gained in prominence recently, as has discussion about what it means in practice.
  • Words like “internet” and “cyberspace” have become synonymous with locations we enter via screens. They don’t completely represent the internet’s constant intertwining with virtual realities (like 3D game worlds or virtual cities) and augmented reality (like navigation overlays or Pokémon GO).
  • Facebook’s statement reflects the company’s efforts to imagine what social media would look like in the metaverse.
  • Facebook’s statement reflects the company’s efforts to imagine what social media would look like in the metaverse.
  • The lyrical nature of the phrase “metaverse” also helps. Academics have been writing about a similar concept called “extended reality” for years, but it’s a somewhat uninspiring moniker.
  • The term “metaverse,” invented by science fiction author Neal Stephenson in his novel Snow Crash in 1992, has a much more romantic ring to it.
  • Writers have a history of spotting trends that need to be named: “cyberspace” originates from a book by William Gibson published in 1982, while “robot” comes from a play by Karel Capek written in 1920.
  • Recent neologisms like “the cloud” and “Internet of Things” have lasted with us because they are convenient ways to refer to technology that are growing more relevant. This also applies to the metaverse.

Who stands to gain from the metaverse?

  • If you read too much about huge tech corporations like Apple, Facebook, Google, and Microsoft, you can come to believe that technological advancements (such as the advent of the metaverse) are unavoidable.
  • It’s difficult not to wonder how these new technologies will impact our society, politics, and culture in the future, and how we could fit into that picture.
  • This concept is known as “technological determinism,” which holds that technological advancements alter our social ties, power relations, and culture, with us as simple passengers. It ignores the fact that, in a democratic society, we have a say in how everything unfolds.
  • The metaverse is attractive for Facebook and other huge firms eager to embrace the “next big thing” before their competitors because it opens up new markets, new types of social networks, new consumer gadgets, and new patents.

How will the Metaverse operate responsibly?

  • Facebook will collaborate with professionals from government, industry, and academia to think through concerns and opportunities in the metaverse in order to establish the Metaverse.
  • Metaverse’s success is contingent on the development of robust interoperability among services; only then will diverse organizations’ experiences be able to collaborate.
  • Facebook will also work with human rights and civil rights organizations to ensure that these technologies are designed in a way that is both inclusive and empowering.

Examples of metaverse:

  • There is a lot of virtual activity in today’s environment. NFTs, or non-fungible tokens, can already be regarded a type of metaverse. Cryptocurrencies are also among them. However, it is still a long way from the full metaverse experience, which would include living lives entirely online.
  • The metaverse, according to Zuckerberg, is an “embodied internet” in which “you are in it rather than just seeing content.”
  • Facebook would need biometric data like as eye scans, voice recordings, pulse rates, and so on in order to gain entry to the metaverse. Facebook Inc. would then collect all of this information.
  • This information would be utilized to construct the multiverse.
  • The question is whether individuals will trust Facebook enough to submit their data, or whether Facebook will improperly access it.
  • As it stands, Facebook has been chastised for stealing data from the US government.

Benefits:

  • There are significant economic, cultural, political, and social benefits.
  • It broadens our scope of understanding. This is extremely useful for online learning in this Covid situation.
  • Useful for internet interactions such as personal or group conversations.
  • It is now feasible to transact money and assets online.
  • Non-fungible instruments, such as Bitcoin, stocks, bonds, and debentures, can be traded and traded.
  • The sensation is similar to genuine or physical presence.
  • Interactions, cooperation, and agreements on a global and political level
  • Cultural ties and cross-pollination, which promotes a diversity of cultures.
  • Dismantles the orthodoxy of caste, class, and so on.
  • Promotes innovative, technology-driven solutions that are less expensive and time-consuming.

Challenges include:

  • Online virtual crimes such as pornography and obscenity, among others.
  • Promoting unethical acts such as naked pictures, prostitutes, inappropriate videos, and so forth. Some individuals and groups.
  • Concern for teenagers, who may fall prey to terrorist organizations or cyber criminals & black milers.
  • The right to privacy is in jeopardy.
  • Data localization poses a significant threat to data security.
  • Financial crimes and scams committed via the internet.
  • National security concerns.
  • Wrong political agendas, such as foreign intervention in elections, disinformation, and so on.
  • Separatist tendencies such as regionalism, casteism, and communalism are pushed, posing a threat to national unity.

Mains oriented question:

India must know that the metaverse is rapidly approaching. We need to create policies that foster the development of these new virtual worlds while also guaranteeing that they remain open and interoperable. Discuss. (250 words)