Over the past 17 years, Facebook has shifted from the college’s social network to a potential gatekeeper for the world’s newest computer platform: virtual reality.The Facebook Reality Labs (FRL) division sells the portal’s videophone. And the Oculus Quest 2 VR headset and behind the upcoming Ray-Ban smart glasses with advanced AR hardware in development.
Facebook is also building and providing VR software, sometimes competing with smaller developers. Last year it launched its own virtual social network, Horizon, in beta. It is also testing out a VR Workspace called “Infinite Office”; that can blend the real and virtual worlds together. Especially during the coronavirus outbreak, these efforts could attract more people to work and socialize through VR.
At the same time, Facebook is facing a crisis of privacy and moderation. The platform has been widely criticized for bringing online extremist groups together and allowing discriminatory targeted advertising or malicious misinformation. These issues are almost always following companies in VR and AR, which complicate the question of privacy and independence in these new spaces.
Andrew “Boz” Bosworth, head of Facebook’s reality lab, called 2020 a “big” year for VR, and in a blog post last week, he plans to focus more on AR and Horizon. Next year I spoke to Bosworth via Zoom about how FRL will tackle current issues in cutting edge technology.
There was a form of social space launched for VR, it was then realized that it had a large audience outside of the headset and launched on desktop or mobile. Do you see that the path is viable for Horizon?
Yes, it is certainly possible that we have considered. If you want to create a social product, you want to reach people wherever they are, and want them to have a headset that isn’t free when they may already have other connected devices that just cut someone off. From reaching out to joining … and that doesn’t feel good for us at all.
We’ll start in VR, because unless you understand the correct core mechanics, the rest doesn’t matter. There are lots of great software out there that solve the task of 2D-to-2D sense together, we are doing one of them right now. So we want to have a solid foundation of VR.One thing we’ve always talked about is how this cross-platform build is going to be something people can use and engage at whatever level they can.
Facebook discussed a system for letting people put apps on Oculus Quest: Less special than the Oculus StoreWhat is that status?
I am very excited about that direction. And the state on it came faster than most people thought.
One of Pain point As for the Oculus last year it switched to Facebook account required To use the headset.If VR becomes your thing for work, it seems that Facebook login is not the best way to access it.
I think one of the conundrums you can put together is that now, as we’ve already talked about linking Oculus and Facebook accounts, Facebook has talked more about overall account management. One of the things we have been focusing on with the product is that it makes it easier for people to manage all their accounts, so Facebook Workplace accounts are a good example. It’s one of those pieces that I think when we look at Infinite Office, we aim to support it as one of the techniques people can use to feel, “Yeah, I can have my work Facebook account, and that’s the thing.” That I’m going to use in some contexts. “
And this is consistent with the way we want to reach it as a whole. We want people to have total control over their identities, right? If you want to be Batman in VR, you can definitely be Batman. We just want them to be able to be Bruce Wayne if they should choose. So we try to think so – expand the gap from “Yes, you are Batman. But you can only be Batman “ To have more control over your personality, your connections and the way you express yourself That is the job we are looking for as Infinite Office continues to develop within.
It seems to be a reverse of how Facebook talks about having files. Single identity And a unified online presence
I think the reality for us, especially in VR, is the ability to have more control over your appearance.That’s not what Facebook once dabbled in when you deal with profiles alone. Many problems at the time of Facebook were founded, especially with regard to its authenticity on the Internet. You know, on the Internet nobody knows that you are a dog. Trust is a unique quality that you really know who this person is and can trust.
We now have a full circle that you can personify. Facebook doesn’t have to control the way you appear in your interactions with someone. That’s not something we have to control. Suddenly you know in VR we Is Broker Therefore, we need to provide the full expression of the perfect expression that you have access to – in fact, a more complete set of expressions than you would have in the real world. Yes, the new media needs a reconsideration. I don’t think it’s inconsistent. I think it’s just an acknowledgment of what this medium is.
How limited is Facebook Reality Labs’ work limited by internet connectivity issues? Something like Horizon becomes much more difficult when people don’t have a consistent and fast internet, and the epidemic has cleared those gaps.
I believe there are two parts to this. I am always impressed with what we can do locally. I think no company can do more than Facebook in terms of downsizing artificial intelligence and running it in devices like Portal, which detects all faces and camera directions on the device. And that’s a huge opportunity to keep these devices useful even when they’re not connected in a myriad of contexts.
The second is that you are right. Many of the useful things we can imagine, Horizon may require a powerful internet connection. Obviously, I hope that not just private companies, but governments around the world, are well aware of how more Internet connectivity and information access are human rights that we need to support. But even in the event that you have limited internet access, we find it very fortunate that artificial intelligence improves the experiences people can have.
Avatars require a bit less to express the richness of their facial expressions. [Zoom] Do it. Right? This is a very high bandwidth connection. Actually, we can shrink the pixels to make my face move. And you can still understand my idiom 100 percent correct, but like 95 percent correct understanding and significantly reduced bandwidth costs. So there’s really a useful technology here.Moving to avatars can help us stay connected even over limited connections or low bandwidth.
You talked about methods Privacy and Security As far as Facebook Reality Labs work, what are you doing specifically to make sure that many of the issues raised on Facebook last year about moderation haven’t happened in something like Horizon?
I want to separate moderation from my privacy because it’s a very different issue. Content moderation is an issue that will stay with us forever. It is with us It’s been a constant battle over who will be the editor and who will censor it. That’s a human problem that arose as soon as the press did before that.
In terms of privacy, I feel lucky. I feel like we are encountering a new set of media in the privacy debate today, not just in this country but in the world. We can have these conversations in the open. We are in a golden age for privacy and discussion experts and we are trying to take advantage of all the conversations that have already occurred and bring these use cases to the world so people can debate. have
What is the business model after that? It seems that as long as Facebook Reality Labs AR and VR use Facebook’s advertising model, there will be a privacy exchange at some point.
You know that in technology tradition, we don’t really focus very much on business models. So you think that if you build something that is good and useful, you will find a way to make money from it.
I believe in [targeted] Advertising I think it greatly improves the experience people have in the world rather than non-targeted advertising. I think it’s very important for small businesses. I think it is extremely important for the best use of human capital. That’s a far-flung debate for augmented reality and virtual reality. Not a close debate
So I have a lot of luxury without worrying about it. I had enough real issues to deal with before I was worried about the business model. So we have to build it before I think too much. And I am sure that if we can do it there will be many opportunities.
For a more close-up issue, people compared Horizon with Facebook Groups.What happens when groups like QAnon start organizing on Horizon? How do you find them and decide what to do with them, while the spiral needle doesn’t make it look like you are creepy and Survey everyone all the timeReally?
I don’t think there is a single answer to this, and none of them will satisfy all parties. We know that from our experience on Facebook, so I think that in moderation issues, you can expect us to rely heavily on Facebook, which makes it easier to talk to the government, talk to experts, and are constantly revising the policy because. The facts in the ground change
I don’t think you would expect you to have one gesture, because as soon as you act a bad actor finds a small hole, it never ends. There will be no one solution. So, I think people should expect it to be like a digital space and, frankly, any physical space going back in history. You have to keep developing what the rules are when you observe behavior.