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Facebook wants to own the 'metaverse.' Want a scare? Read the book that coined the phrase – The Drum

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Facebook has made yet more announcements related to its intention to become a metaverse company. Every time Facebook drops the ‘metaverse’ word, right after cringing, I think of Snow Crash, Neal Stephenson’s seminal 1992 science fiction epic (and one of my all-time favorite books), writes Big Spaceship’s Michael Lebowitz.
Stephenson coined the term metaverse to describe a fully-rendered virtual world that people could ‘jack into’ with varying degrees of fidelity depending on their money, computing power and/or coding chops. But that’s not always how people are using the term now, which is problematic.
More concerning is that the term is being pushed by Facebook – a company that might as well be vying for best real-world example of science fiction’s evil megacorporation trope (see Tyrell Corp, Cyberdyne Systems, the Soylent Company or Ready Player One’s Innovative Online Industries).
I am no more hostile to the potential of virtual worlds than I was to the web or mobile in their infancy; we live digitally-augmented lives every day. Whether it’s through Google Maps or Roblox, we already have a digital layer of our everyday lives. So why is the term spiking now? My guess is that we’re in the plot (or maybe backstory) of our own sci-fi episode.
If the power Mark Zuckerberg has consolidated to date had been accrued in a more familiar context, it would have been considered hugely troubling. But because it was ‘just the internet,’ we let the power accrue. If we allow that to happen again in our nascent virtual worlds, Facebook won’t just control which content we read and which photos we see (already deeply troubling), but also the rules of commerce, or even of physics itself.
His massive bet on dominating the future of our interactions with one another is more than a bit reminiscent of IOI chief exec Nolan Sorrento in Ready Player One – hell-bent on “controlling the future.”
We have seen this story play out many times over, both in our fiction and in our present-day lives. For a long time, the internet was considered by many to be a huge opportunity for the betterment of the world – for democratizing access to information and disintermediating old power structures. Its openness allowed communities to form that could reduce isolation and provide access like never before: open-source software and ventures such as Wikipedia, Kiva and Khan University thrived. All of that positive innovation was fueled by the internet’s openness, not an imposed order.
Brands already have innumerable ways of reaching people and earning their consideration and, ideally, their loyalty – so many, in fact, that it’s difficult to keep up with them all. Are your customers asking themselves, “Why isn’t this brand in my headset yet?” Does your customer actually have a headset? The answer to both questions is likely a resounding no.
Advertising budgets already funded a massive super-governmental organization that has been proven, time and again, to act against society’s best interests. We have a responsibility to prevent the same thing from happening again. So, I beseech you – don’t adopt the terminology of science fiction without learning the lessons it offers. It’s time to read the book.
Michael Lebowitz is founder and chief executive at Big Spaceship.
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Meta's losses show the metaverse's costly risk – Insider Intelligence

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Facebook parent Meta launches startup accelerator with India’s IT ministry in metaverse push – TechCrunch

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Meta Platforms is looking at India’s burgeoning startup ecosystem as it bolsters its bet on the metaverse. The social juggernaut has partnered with the Indian IT Ministry’s startup hub to launch an accelerator in the country to broaden innovation in emerging technologies, including augmented reality and virtual reality, officials said Tuesday.
MeitY Startup Hub and Meta’s effort, called XR Startup Program, will work with 40 early-stage startups and help them in research and development and developing workable products and services. Each startup will also receive a grant of over $25,000, the American giant said.
The program, supported by Meta’s $50 million XR Programs and Research Fund, will initially hand pick 80 startups to attend a bootcamp. It will also help startups with finding customers, inking relationships and raising funds, Meta said.
Rajeev Chandrasekhar, Minister of State for Electronics & Information Technology and Skill Development and Entrepreneurship, said the program is especially aimed at helping encourage technology innovation in smaller cities and towns.
The XR Startup Program is the latest of Meta’s growing participation in the South Asian market’s upskilling efforts. The firm, whose Facebook and WhatsApp services identify India as their largest market by users, partnered with Central Board of Secondary Education, a government body that oversees education in private and public schools in the country, to launch a certified curriculum on digital safety and online well-being, and augmented reality for students and educators in the country.
The program — to be implemented by four Indian institutions, including IIT Delhi — will also host a “grand challenge” for innovation in categories including education, healthcare, entertainment, agritech, climate action, sustainability and tourism, the American giant said.
“India will play a pivotal role in defining future technologies. Decisions and investments made here in India now shape global discussions on how technology can deliver more economic opportunity and better outcomes for people. It is critical that we help to create an ecosystem that will enable India’s tech startups and innovators to build the foundations of the metaverse,” said Joel Kaplan, VP of Global Policy at Meta, in a statement.
Meta’s interest with working with startups in India is also not newly found. The company has backed three startups in the country, including social commerce platform Meesho and online education group Unacademy.
3 views: Is the metaverse for work or play?

“India’s rapid tech adoption combined with a vast pool of tech talent puts the country in a vantage position for shaping the future of the internet,” said Ajit Mohan, VP and MD of Facebook India, in a statement.
“For this future to be equitable, it will require active participation from all stakeholders, including developers, businesses, creators, policymakers, and entrepreneurs. We are excited to collaborate with MeitY Startup Hub and hope that the XR Startup Program will act as a catalyst to unlock the use of immersive technology across sectors like education, healthcare, agritech and tourism, not only in India but across the globe.”

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WHAT IS QUILVIUS (QVUI)? LET'S EXPLORE THIS UPCOMING METAVERSE CRYPTO PROJECT – Asianet Newsable

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WHAT IS QUILVIUS (QVUI)? LET’S EXPLORE THIS UPCOMING METAVERSE CRYPTO PROJECT  Asianet Newsable
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