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Opinion/Lamoureux: Feeling averse to the metaverse – The Providence Journal

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Brian J. Lamoureux is a partner at Pannone Lopes Devereaux & O’Gara LLC and is a practitioner faculty member in the Providence College School of Business.
Pop quiz: Who said this in 2012? “We limit the amount of technology our children use at home.”
Believe it or not, Apple co-founder Steve Jobs said this to a reporter when he was asked whether his children used Apple’s new iPad. When I first read this quote, I wondered what Mr. Jobs knew about the product he created that we didn’t? How could the creator of a device push it into the global marketplace but forbid his children to use it at home?
Mr. Jobs was no outlier, either. Bill Gates implemented a limit on his daughter’s screen time when she developed an unhealthy attachment to a video game. And, many Silicon Valley tech executives send their children to Waldorf schools where screens are verboten and learning is done through mud, string, touch, pen, and paper.
Fast forward 10 years to today: Facebook recently announced that it is changing its name to Meta, which the company claims better fits its overall brand and focus, including developing the so-called “metaverse.” Devoting some 10,000 workers to this effort, Facebook promises that the metaverse will be a virtual-reality based world that will allow us to don goggles, sit around a virtual conference table with our peers, and then go to a virtual coffee shop to meet up with a virtual friend. Just when you thought we (and our children) are already spending too much time in front of screens, we now get to strap those screens to our faces, sit on a comfortable chair for hours on end, and even more effectively ignore the real humans in the next room.
No, thank you. One of the privileges of nearing 50 years old is that you have license to engage in the time-honored tradition of decrying the continued downfall of civilization. Against that backdrop, I offer the following questions for your consideration: Has your relationship with screens or devices helped or hindered your real relationships over the last decade? Do you wish you spent more or less time in front of your screens? What’s the name of your neighbor two houses down? When’s the last time you went for a walk with a loved one?
Et tu, Brian? Yes, I ask those questions not to shame but because I also struggle with screen time. I will reserve full judgment about the metaverse once I see how it’s developed and what safeguards are put in place. But, if history is any guide, I worry that the metaverse will be developed in a way that offends our dignity as humans, and will be another source of profit at the expense of our privacy, health, mental well-being, and relationships.
I am also concerned about the impact this virtual movement will have on our bodies and, in turn, our souls and hearts. Science has proven that human touch is critical to our well-being and establishing (and nurturing) our relationships. Perhaps Michelangelo put it best: “To touch is to give life.” Indeed, researchers know that humans need the magic of presence and touch to fully identify the love, compassion, and gratitude of others. If you don’t believe this, simply recall the early days of the pandemic where we deeply lamented our loss of sharing communal and family space with others at the dinner table, restaurant, or church pew.
Finally, remember that one of Facebook’s initial slogans was “Move Fast and Break Things.” Things sure are moving fast. What will break next?

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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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