- The Washington Times - Thursday, October 28, 2021

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said Thursday that his alternate virtual reality for everyone to live in will come together within the next five to 10 years.

In a video for Facebooks Connect 2021 conference, Mr. Zuckerberg revealed new details about his “metaverse” business.

“Lots of things that are physical today like screens will just be able to be holograms in the future,” he said, noting that people will be able to gesture, speak, or think to make things happen. He stressed that devices “won’t be the focal point of your attention anymore.”

“While this may sound like science fiction, we’re starting to see a lot of these technologies coming together,” he said. “A lot of us will be creating and inhabiting worlds that are just as detailed and convincing as this one on a daily basis.”

Mr. Zuckerberg also announced that Facebook would now be organized under a new company known as “Meta.”

“Meta’s focus will be to bring the metaverse to life and help people connect, find communities and grow businesses,” said Facebook in a statement announcing the new company.

Facebook’s metaverse uses augmented and virtual reality products to connect and entertain people instead of relying solely on existing hardware built by Facebook’s competitors, such as smartphones and desktop computers built by companies like Apple and Google.

Mr. Zuckerberg said he has begun building his alternate world, including a social platform for people to interact in the metaverse that he called “Horizon.” The Facebook executive said the company’s Horizon home project is an early vision for people to create their dwelling place in the metaverse where people will be able to gather with their friends’ digital avatars.

The company is also making Horizon worlds, which Mr. Zuckerberg described as “where you can build worlds and jump into them with people.”

In the video, Mr. Zuckerberg demonstrated himself interacting with avatars of people, including one looking like a robot, and showed how friends may be able to virtually attend concerts and parties together when physically distanced from each other.

In Facebook’s alternate reality, it will also build a new economy that it will develop.

“We’re also building a Horizon marketplace, where creators can sell and share 3-D digital items,” said Mr. Zuckerberg. “And our hope is that this will enable a lot more commerce and help grow the overall metaverse economy.”

Facebook’s ‘metaverse’ economy could prove critical to the future of its existing business, which is facing many different challenges including governmental scrutiny of its business practices, competition for its social media products, and a deluge of bad publicity stemming from information made public by former employees.

• Ryan Lovelace can be reached at rlovelace@washingtontimes.com.

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