The social giant Facebook investing $50 million in metaverse projects, said on Monday in the press release posted by Facebook vice presidents Andrew Bosworth and Nick Clegg, vice president of Global Affairs.
“we’re announcing the XR Programs and Research Fund, a two-year $50 million investment in programs and external research to help us in this effort. Through this fund, we’ll collaborate with industry partners, civil rights groups, governments, nonprofits, and academic institutions to determine how to build these technologies responsibly.”
Through “Amplifying African Voices,” Facebook is collaborating with the Organization of American States on the job training and skills development for students, creators, and small business owners, as well as organizations like Africa No Filter, Electric South, and Imisi3D, to support creators who are pushing the boundaries of digital storytelling with immersive technology.
In addition, the company collaborates with Women In Immersive Tech to help women and underrepresented groups drive Europe’s virtual, augmented and mixed-reality industries.
External research on metaverse projects will also be conducted by Seoul National University. The University of Hong Kong, which will focus on safety, ethics, and responsible design, will collaborate on a study about privacy and data use with the National University of Singapore’s Centre for Technology, Robotics, Artificial Intelligence, and the Law at the Faculty of Law.
Howard University teams will use the funds to do research into the history of diversity in IT and potential challenges with access to the metaverse.
What Is the Metaverse?
The metaverse is a “collection of virtual spaces where you can develop and explore with other individuals who aren’t in the same physical space as you,” according to Clegg and Bosworth.
“You’ll be able to socialize with your friends, work, play, learn, shop, and create, among other things. It’s not about spending more time online; it’s about making the time you do spend online more worthwhile,” they added.
“The metaverse isn’t a single product that can be developed by a single corporation. The metaverse, like the internet, exists whether or not Facebook is present. And it isn’t going to happen overnight. Many of these items will not be fully realized for another 10-15 years. While this is annoying for those of us who want to get straight in, it does allow us time to think about how they should be developed.”
According to Facebook, a lot of work needs to be done to ensure those metaverse products are interoperable so that different organizations and services may collaborate.
Human rights and civil rights organizations will also be needed, according to the company, to provide assistance on how to make the venues “inclusive and powerful.”
“A single corporation will not be able to build the metaverse overnight. To bring this to life, we’ll work with policymakers, experts, and industry partners” Clegg and Bosworth wrote.
“We develop technology rooted in human connection that brings people together. As we focus on helping to build the next computing platform, our work across augmented and virtual reality and consumer hardware will deepen that human connection regardless of physical distance and without being tied to devices.”