In a world where critics have been penning obituaries for Meta’s metaverse fantasy, Mark Zuckerberg, the eternal optimist, has once again tried to prove them wrong. Or at least, he’s given it the old college try.
The Avatar Revolution
On a recent episode of the Lex Fridman podcast, Zuckerberg and Fridman had a heart-to-heart. Well, not exactly. It was more of an avatar-to-avatar chat. Yes, you read that right. The two didn’t actually meet in person. Instead, they used Meta’s latest and “greatest” technology: photorealistic avatars in the metaverse. All facilitated through Meta’s Quest 3 headsets and some fancy headphones. Because why meet in person when you can meet as a digital doppelganger?
Many have laughed at Meta’s attempts to create the metaverse, especially after spending billions only to produce avatars that looked like they were straight out of a low-budget animated movie. But this time, even the harshest critics on Crypto Twitter (a place known for its gentle and understanding nature) had to admit they were somewhat impressed. Or at least, they pretended to be.
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One user, known for his sarcastic takes, exclaimed, “Ok the metaverse is officially real.” Another said they forgot they were watching avatars just 9 minutes into the podcast. Either the technology is really that good, or they need to get their eyes checked.
Fridman, ever the gracious host, shared how “close” he felt to Zuckerberg’s avatar during their chat. So close, in fact, that he forgot Zuckerberg’s avatar wasn’t actually him. It’s unclear if this is a testament to the technology or Fridman’s ability to suspend disbelief.
The Future of Codec Avatars
The avatars are part of Meta’s Codec Avatars project, which has been in the works since 2019. But don’t get too excited. If you’re hoping to get your own photorealistic avatar, you’ll have to wait. And not just a little wait. We’re talking years. According to Zuckerberg, the technology requires some pretty hefty machine-learning software and a full head scan with over 100 cameras. So, unless you have a few years and a ton of cameras lying around, you might be out of luck.
But there’s hope! Zuckerberg says that in the future, all of this might be possible with just a smartphone. Because who doesn’t want to scan their entire head with their phone?
In other “groundbreaking” news, Meta has also unveiled its answer to ChatGPT — Meta AI. It’s integrated across various chatbots, apps, and even smart glasses. Because if there’s one thing the world needs, it’s another AI assistant.
Meta’s NFT Missteps
Meta’s journey into the digital realm hasn’t been without its fair share of hiccups, especially when it comes to the world of Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs). In their ambitious quest to dominate the digital art and collectibles space, Meta has faced several setbacks.
Firstly, there was the much-hyped launch of their NFT marketplace, which was met with skepticism and criticism from artists and collectors alike. Many accused the platform of being more focused on profit than on supporting the creative community. Technical glitches, including issues with minting and transferring NFTs, further tarnished the platform’s reputation.
Then came the allegations of promoting plagiarized artwork. Several artists took to social media to highlight that their original works had been copied and sold on Meta’s platform without their consent. The company’s response was slow, leading to a public relations nightmare.
Furthermore, the integration of NFTs into the metaverse was not as seamless as many had hoped. Users reported difficulties in showcasing their digital assets, leading to frustration and disillusionment.
While Meta has made efforts to rectify these issues, these missteps serve as a reminder that even tech giants can falter when navigating the complex and ever-evolving world of NFTs.
While the metaverse might still be a work in progress, at least we can all have a good laugh along the way. Whether it’s a genuine leap into the future or just another tech hurdle remains to be seen. But one thing’s for sure: the digital world is never dull.