While Meta has grand dreams of a metaverse future, where all of us will be interacting in wholly digital environments, and where we can be and do anything in entirely immersive worlds, there’s one significant impediment to that process at it stands right now.
Can you guess what it is?
Apparently, the metaverse renders legs obsolete. And while the current avatars are also functional, in a basic sense, if Meta really wants to get people engaging with digital items, like clothes and other customization elements, to make people more aligned with their virtual identity, it’ll need a better creation process, so that you can build the representation that you choose – down to the shoelaces in in your virtual sneakers.
Which is where this new development comes in.
As you can see in this new video, posted by Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg, Meta’s currently developing new technology that would enable the creation of more customized digital recreations which simulate actual human movement.
That could go a long way towards building truly personalized and representative avatars, which Meta’s also developing via its Codec Avatar tech.
As you can see in this example, which Meta shared last year, the ultimate goal is to enable users to create fully realistic versions of themselves for use in virtual worlds, which would include legs and full gesture mapping.
If, of course, they choose. Via the same process, you would also be able to edit your look and change your digital self to suit your own expression. But the base concept is that you will have almost endless customization options available, which will enable you to conduct virtual activities with a fully-formed representation of yourself, customized as you choose, and eventually, fitted out in digital clothing, the same as you would purchase clothes in a physical store.
That’ll open up a range of new opportunities for eCommerce, in terms of both selling real items (as you’ll be able to see how they look on you before you buy) and digital items, which will be the expansion of the early NFT push.
While there’s a level of excitement about NFT profile pictures online, the true future of digital items is not in these cartoonish images, but more in virtual items, like digital clothes, that you can buy and sell, and take with you to other elements of the metaverse as you see fit.
Users buy the digital outfits, or ‘skins’, that they want to use to represent themselves in these game worlds – but at present, their usage is restricted to each individual property. The ultimate goal of the metaverse is to create a network of interoperable environments, where you’ll be able to take these customizations with you – so if you choose to dress up as a banana character in Fortnite, you could then hop into a work meeting in the same character design.
These advanced creation tools from Meta are another step in that direction, and it’s interesting to consider the scope of possibilities they could facilitate in this respect, and where such developments will get to over the next ten years.
Which is the timeframe that Meta’s outlining for its metaverse shift. While many are looking to get in early, and be pole position for the next tech development, the reality is that these systems will take time to formulate, and become more accessible for everyday users.
As a basic example – for an accurate avatar system to work, and create a fully customized depiction of you in 3D, you’ll need to scan yourself within a digital camera room, like the one in the Meta video above.
That, eventually, could be another element of Meta’s retail stores, the first of which was opened in California earlier this month.
Meta Store, our first brick and mortar retail and experience space, opening on May 9 at our Burlingame campus (322 Airport Blvd, Burlingame, CA). Check it out! ???? pic.twitter.com/6UpKVOWiN5
— Boz (@boztank) April 25, 2022
It’s not there yet, but as Meta looks to expand its physical store network, it could also, eventually, add in VR scanning booths where users will be able to capture their virtual self for these advanced avatars.
It’s still some way off, but you can see where these developments are headed, which could have big implications, in a range of ways.
Elon Musk’s Team Asks for More Data to Complete Assessment of Twitter Bots
Okay, let’s just check in on the latest with the Twitter/Elon Musk takeover saga, and where things are placed to close out the week.
According to the latest reports, Musk’s team recently asked Twitter for more tweet info, in order to help it make an accurate assessment of bot activity in the app. This comes after Musk questioned Twitter’s claim that bots and fake accounts make up only 5% of its active user base, and said that his Twitter takeover deal could not go ahead unless Twitter could produce more evidence to support this figure.
Which Twitter did, by providing Musk with access to its ‘full firehose’ of tweets over a given period, which it shared with Musk’s team back on June 8th. Musk’s group has now had that data for a couple of weeks, but this week, it said that this info is not enough to go on, and that it needs even more insight from Twitter to make its judgment.
And after initially resisting calls for more data access, Twitter has now reportedly relented and handed over more tweet data access to Musk’s team.
Which may or may not be a concern, depending on how you see it.
In its initial data dump, Twitter reportedly gave Musk’s team info on:
- Total user tweets (within a given time period)
- Data on which devices were used
As noted, Musk’s team says that this has not provided it with the insight that it needs to conduct an accurate analysis of potential bot activity, so Twitter has now provided Musk with more ‘real-time API data’.
It’s not clear whether that means that Twitter has provided everything that its API systems can provide, but that could mean that Musk’s team can now access:
- Real-time info on tweet text and visual elements/attachments
- Data on retweets, replies, and quote Tweets for each
- Data on tweet author, mentioned users, tagged locations, hashtag and cashtag symbols, etc
- Date, time, location, device info
That should satisfy any analytical needs to uncover potential bot trends, and get a better handle on Twitter’s bot problem, though it also means that Musk has all your tweet info – which, again, it’s worth noting, Twitter up till now had been hesitant to provide.
I’m sure it’s fine. Musk’s team is beholden to disclosure laws around such, so it’s not like they can do anything much with that info anyway, in a legal sense. But the idea that the sometimes erratic Elon Musk now has all the tweets could be a little concerning for some.
But Twitter likely had to provide what it can, and if Musk is going to become CEO of the app soon anyway, he’s going to have access to all of that data either way.
Should be fine. No problems – no need to go deleting all your DMs (which are likely not included in the data that Twitter has provided at this stage).
According to reports, Musk’s team says that it now has the info it needs to make its assessment of bot activity, which should see the deal move forward (or not) sometime soon.
Of course, no one knows what exactly is going to happen next, and whether Musk’s team will look to renegotiate, or even back out of the deal entirely as a result of its bot analysis. But it does seem like, one way or another, Musk will be forced to go ahead with the $44 billion transaction, with Twitter’s past bot reporting methodology already accepted by the SEC, giving it legal grounding to argue that it’s acted in good faith, regardless of what Musk’s team finds.
The next steps then, according to Musk, would be securing debt financing and gaining Twitter shareholder approval, clearing the last hurdles for Musk to change the app’s name to ‘Telsla Social’, and add a million references to ‘420’ into the platforms various terms and conditions.
Because of the memes, because weed jokes are still funny to the richest man in the world – because he vacillates between inspired genius and a massive nerd who now gets to play out some fantasy of being cool.
Or something. Who knows what goes on in Elon Musk’s head – which is also why most are hesitant to bet against him, as nobody knows if and how he might be able to fix Twitter, and whether this is a great investment or a massive disaster.
It seems like we may soon find out. Maybe. Who knows. Either way, the memes should be great.
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