Mark Zuckerberg reveals wild AR plans at Facebook Connect event

At the Facebook Connect event today, Mark Zuckerberg’s opening speech detailed his plans for a metaverse that combines the real and virtual worlds, allowing people to connect wherever they are, using devices like the Oculus Quest 2 headset, Ray-Ban Stories smart glasses and now the Cambria project.

In the Metaverse, Zuckerberg said, people will be able to create AR beacons attached to real-world locations to create art and storytelling, play table tennis or play chess with players who are not physically there. , and interact with digital objects that react realistically. user movements.

Right now, Facebook’s plans (the company is now called Meta, by the way) look a lot more like science fiction, but Zuckerberg is working hard to explain how the Horizon VR and AR platform from his business can make those ideas a reality. Its cautious formulation reveals that this interconnected future is still uncertain – some would say it is absurd.

Analysis: “It sounds like science fiction”

Mark Zuckerberg detailed a world where holograms will stand by our side at concerts and where people can work together in digital offices despite being thousands of miles apart. Hearing her speak, it’s hard not to be amazed by the world that could be.

But the problem is, while aspects of this built-in metaverse already exist, the key pillars that will support most of Meta’s vision appear to be still a decade away. The technology we have is just not here yet, and while we may start moving in the direction that Meta indicates, the whole keynote is full of speculation that leaves us wondering why we bothered to connect. .

An AR Pizza image tagged on a fountain in a city

(Image credit: Facebook)

In all fairness, it was not all speculative. Meta understands that it will take a huge collaboration to bring the Metaverse to life, and has announced plans it can implement over the coming year.

To help bring more creativity to the arena of AR, Meta detailed plans to create formal courses as a first step, and it showcased core apps that will bring AR to its pre-existing devices – like an app that can anchor to the piano keys to teach people how to play their favorite songs.

But on the way to the Metaverse, these developments are like the equivalent of running an inch in a marathon – there is still a long way to go.

At some point we’ll have to walk those first few inches, but did we really need an hour and a half event to explain what we might have in 2032 rather than focusing on what’s coming next? 2022? When the dream is so speculative, there will be many people – including us – who cannot help but think that this presentation would have been better to deliver when we get further down the path of the metaverse; when it sounds a lot less like science fiction than science fact.

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