When Zuckerberg talks about something it is because he has studied it for a long time. And so Facebook gave us a first look this week of that "metaverse" which the CEO regards as "the successor to the Internet," which his $ 354 billion company will embrace into Toto.
Remember Facebook Horizon? That virtual reality platform that I told you about (among the first in Italy) long ago? Well, Big F gave birth "Workrooms“, A system of working environments. Virtual reality meeting rooms, my friends.
Another step forward for an internet not simply to look at, but to cross. A step consisting of attending a business meeting with a virtual reality viewer. What did you expect? The vanguard of the next phase starts with work, yes sir.
Workrooms, or "Primum: grind"
This launch of Workrooms brings me to two grim considerations.
The first: it is the realization that the “utopian” metaverse of science fiction (a mix of physical and virtual in a shared online space) is a sad little office enclosed by floating whiteboards. The metaverse is the "office verse". And "the office verse" is boring. Meetings are boring. Is it true or not? There.
The second: like so many innovations passed off as magnificent changes, this "embodied internet" that Zuckerberg is promoting is (for now) anything but revolutionary. We were promised flying cars and a VR whale jumping off a basketball court. What I see is just another way to attend business meetings that I am already tired of attending.
Yes, I bet Workrooms is expensive to use. Does it change our life? I do not know. I do not think so. “A different kind of productivity experience” isn't the first thing that comes to mind when I think of the “metaverse”.
The steps forward of the colossus of Menlo Park
Earlier this spring Facebook revealed a wearable wrist device and a device capable of deciphering neuronal impulses from the brain to the hand. This was science fiction stuff! I like this! Not Workrooms, amigo. Not business meetings. Nobody wants more business meetings, right? (like clinging desperately to the last days of vacation).
And yet Andrew Bosworth, Facebook's AR / VR manager and leader of the new "metaverse" team, he is enthusiastic about it:
I think Workrooms could be the most intense VR application out there, in terms of experience, immediacy and usability.Andrew Bosworth
Maybe it's just my problem that I feel sad about the fact that the currently more ambitious and “intense” VR experience is just a slightly better way to discuss yet another briefing with a client.
And then, when it comes to Facebook, Workrooms raises the thorny question you-know-you
A common criticism of Facebook's forays into new technologies is the company's lousy track record on privacy.
If we can't trust Facebook on social media, which we use to say good morning (kafféé?) To high school friends, how can we trust if the interface becomes the cameras we install in our homes, or the headphones we put on our faces?
If the idea of Facebook processing videos of your family conversations gets on your nerves, think of Workrooms and business meetings where confidential or proprietary information could be discussed ...
Anyway, for now, there is something that terrifies me far more than the idea of someone violating my privacy.
What if, much more simply, this "real internet" was just a bore?