Interacting on (not on) the Internet will transform our society

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Wednesday 10 November 2021 6:30 a.m.

Through:

Nicola Mendelsohn

Nicola Mendelsohn is Vice President of Meta’s Global Business Group (née Facebook).

There is a poster on the wall of our offices asking the question “What would you do if you weren’t afraid?” It’s a brilliant question that encourages us to think courageously and confidently about the future.

Last month, Mark Zuckerberg took to the stage virtually at Facebook’s annual conference to answer that question.

He revealed that from now on, all of our apps and technologies will exist under a new corporate brand called Meta. Meta’s goal will be to help bring the Metaverse to life and help people connect, find communities, and grow businesses.

But what is the metaverse?

We see the metaverse as the successor to the mobile Internet – an embodied Internet where you are in the experience, not just watching it. You will be able to do almost anything you can imagine: getting together with friends and family, working, learning, playing, shopping and creating. It is important to note that the metaverse will be characterized by a social presence, the feeling of being there with another person, no matter where you are in the world.

It is not about replacing physical experiences. After all, what’s better than a hug from a loved one?

Instead, we want to improve online experiences for times when physical experiences aren’t possible for some reason.

The metaverse is not something we will build on our own.

We will build it with creators, developers, companies and work with experts and policy makers to do it responsibly. We know that in the past, the speed at which new technologies have emerged has sometimes left policy makers and regulators to catch up. We can’t let that happen this time around. Conversations will be open and the spirit will be collaborative.

Our hope is that, if we all work on it, over the next decade the metaverse will reach a billion people, host hundreds of billions of dollars in digital commerce, and support jobs for millions of creators and developers.

This is an exciting next step for our business, but more importantly, it is an exciting next step for all of us.

I can see the metaverse transforming so many areas of life. Above all, of course, the metaverse can transform the way we socialize. In 2016, I was diagnosed with follicular lymphoma, a rare form of blood cancer. I joined a Facebook group that put me in touch with patients around the world with the same cancer as me. We shared our experiences, our symptoms, compared treatment plans and lent each other to support each other. Most of these people were on the other side of the world.

In the metaverse, this barrier could be broken.

How many people have stories of dating their friends or partners on one social media site or another? With the metaverse, this possibility will be amplified.

It also has the potential to revolutionize the way we buy and interact with business.

The metaverse will also transform the way we work. Like so many others, I work from home. But the hybrid work is going to be much more complex, when some people are together but others are still far apart.

In the metaverse, my coworkers and I might be sitting in the same meeting or working on the same project, even though we live in different parts of the world.

In the future, rather than going to a store or scrolling through my phone for a new winter coat, I could potentially buy one in the Arctic and see what it looks and feels like in that environment. . If I wanted to buy a car, rather than going to a static showroom, I could take an adrenaline-fueled test drive around the Monaco Grand Prix.

I know some people will say this is not the time to focus on the future. I want to recognize that there are of course some important issues to work on in the present. But we also need to continue to learn, build, and courageously move forward and that’s what the Metaverse – and our new Meta corporate identity – are all about.


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