- Mark Zuckerberg has bet big on his idea of the metaverse.
- However, several personalities from the world of technology and business have expressed their doubts or openly criticized the metaverse.
- Senior executives from Apple, Amazon, Google and Meta itself have questioned the model.
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The metaverse is Mark Zuckerberg’s big bet for Meta, formerly Facebook.
It is so clear that Zuckerberg announced last fall that he would invest 10,000 million dollars in the construction of the metaverse, with the aim of getting 1,000 million people to enter it.
“If we succeed, we will build a revenue stream as big as our current advertising business in this decade. I think it’s something really exciting », he shared in July to his employees.
The metaverse, according to Zuckerberg, will improve people’s quality of life: “I don’t want people to spend more time in front of their screens. I just want the time people spend in front of them to be better,” he explained.
However, the path is not free of obstacles. Proof of this are both the cases of virtual harassment and the loss of more than 70,000 million dollars of his personal fortune during 2022. In turn, the CEO of Meta warned that during the construction of the metaverse “significant” amounts of money would be lost. money for the next three to five years and that the products would not be viable for another 10 to 15 years.
Also, it doesn’t seem like everyone is betting as much on the metaverse as Zuckerberg; either because of the specific concept and approach of Meta, because of the devices that would be used, or even because of the term itself.
Leaders of big tech companies still don’t have as much faith in the metaverse
Various leaders of the technological world have questioned the concept of the metaverse, for various reasons. The last to show his doubts about this new virtual space has been Tim Cook, CEO of Apple.
“I think it’s important for people to understand what something is. And I’m not sure that a normal person can say what the metaverse is, “he told the Dutch media Bright last Friday. Instead, Cook is more supportive of augmented reality, as being “something you can immerse yourself in” and “use in a positive way” but without “living your whole life that way.”
In fact, the word “metaverse” has only been mentioned once at Apple’s earnings conferences so far this year, compared to more than 35 mentions at Meta’s. It is just one example of the discrepancies between Apple and Meta on the metaverse, in what Zuckerberg has defined as a “deep and philosophical competition”.
Executives from Snap Inc, Amazon and Google have also expressed their doubts about the metaverse
Similarly, they have also ‘fled’ the term metaverse Evan Spiegel, CEO of Snap – it is “quite ambiguous and hypothetical”; if a group of people were asked to describe it, all of their definitions would be “totally different,” he declared to Guardian.
For his part, David Limp, head of devices at Amazon, considers that there is no “common definition” of the metaverse, reports TheVerge.
Almost a year ago, Eric Schmidt, ex-CEO of Google, already showed his doubts by warning that the metaverse “is not necessarily the best thing for human society.” Schmidt sees AI technology as a kind of “giant, false god” that can create unhealthy, parasocial relationships.
“All the people who talk about metaverses are talking about worlds that are more satisfying than the current world: you are richer, more handsome, more beautiful, more powerful, faster. So in a few years, people will choose to spend more time with their glasses on in the metaverse. And who sets the rules? The world will be more digital than physical”, which does not have to be positive, he clarified to The New York Times.
For Tony Fadell, the Apple engineer who invented the iPod and co-founded Nest, the metaverse “is a mistake” because it doesn’t allow for “real personal connection”: “Fuck the metaverse,” he told Wired.
Phil Libin, the former boss of Evernote and now the CEO of video conferencing company Mmhmm, has similar criticism after testing Meta software for virtual reality meetings.
“I had a strong feeling it was going to suck, but I went with as much hope as possible that I’d be pleasantly surprised,” he told Business Insider. Finally, he says that his instinct was correct, since “it was only tolerable for a few minutes.”
The vision of the metaverse presented by Meta “is an old idea”, “uncreative”, tried many times and “has never worked”, Libin said..
Finally, pitted against the metaverse of Meta and Zuckerberg is criticism late last year from Nick Clegg, Meta’s vice president of communications and global affairs. Clegg called the company’s virtual reality headset “gimmicky” and “appalling,” in a conversation with The Financial Times.
Other various issues also appear on the side of doubts, such as the regulatory challenge it poses or the possible ethical, psychological and social risks of the metaverse.
“Whoever controls (an important part of the) metaverse could control an important part of reality”, collects the white paper of Telefónica, whose executive president, José María Álvarez-Pallete, trusts, however, that people will spend up to 4 hours daily in these new virtual worlds.
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Mark Zuckerberg is left alone in defending the metaverse