Fears Of The Metaverse Are Justified

OPINION: Fears Of The Metaverse Are Justified

A metaverse is a network of 3 D virtual worlds focused on social connection.

OPINION: Fears Of The Metaverse Are Justified

Editor: The world of the future may be at hand. Like other new technologies the potential is great, the threat terrifying. The development of the metaverse should put us all on high alert for the nearly inevitable privacy abuses, misinformation campaigns,  and unprecedented targeting.

By Joseph Wales

A New Name

In late 2021, Mark Zuckerberg introduced Meta as the parent company to Instagram and Facebook. This move left many of us in the dark; not understanding what Meta is and the future direction of the company. Since the announcement it has emerged that the main idea behind Meta is developing a 100% virtual world with AI (Artificial Intelligence) and VR (Virtual Reality) enhancements. A world where our interactions will be more digital than physical. The technology growth rate is at an all-time high. Most believe that the tech gurus have more power than they deserve and legal restrictions are necessary. Before we go into the nitty-gritty details, let’s look at what metaverse is.

What Is The Metaverse?

As mentioned above, think of the metaverse as a virtual universe. The metaverse combines numerous technologies, including Augmented Reality (AR), Virtual Reality (VR), and eye-tracking. These technologies combine to create the ultimate virtual experience. Now might be a good time to read or watch “Ready Player One.” It is a story set in 2045, where all people turn to VR to escape the real world. The feature could help you get a rough idea of how a metaverse might look.

What Is Inside The Metaverse?

The metaverse is usually digital assets, 3D avatars, games, and businesses. Each metaverse can have their virtual economy. There are endless activities to engage in while in the metaverse. You could meet friends, join virtual events, host business meetings, monetize your creations, and so on. The metaverse closely resembles the real world. Most have their own economies and accept virtual currency. For instance, Cryptoxles, a metaverse, accepts ETH, while Decentraland uses their original currency, MANA. The only significant difference is that you can travel the world, go to the store, climb Mt. Everest, all from your home’s comfort. Access to the metaverse is via an VR headset.

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Facebook, AI, yi, yi

Facebook, AI, yi,yi


Facebook would rather cover up, deny, and deflect than fix inherent problems.

Facebook AI, yi, yi

By Wes Hessel

Facing IT

One of the largest trends in technology today is that of “Artificial Intelligence” or AI. The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines AI as “a branch of computer science dealing with the simulation of intelligent behavior in computers.”

Predictive Models

Facebook intends to connect with our brain waves

Facebook intends to literally connect with our brain waves.

The idea of bringing technological “thought processes” closer to human thought pattern isn’t a surprising goal. In particular, to aid companies in  handling repetitive tasks. But, more deeply, companies want to use a predictive modeling approach, to statistically glean an anticipated decision, occurrence, or reaction. Imagine a virtual coin toss. Statistically, how many times out of 100, 1000, 10,000 or ten million will a flip result in a heads or tails outcome? Or, that you will order a Marguerita, not a Tequila Sunrise.

Fuzzy Logic

A “fuzzy logic” algorithm evaluates the truth values of variables. It is employed to handle the concept of partial truth, where the truth value is measured across a range. Standard logic indicates completely true to completely false. Such “fuzzy logic” and other similar algorithmic programming methods are being used in many aspects of our life.  It is used from traffic management (be it vehicle, data, or human) to security (physical and virtual) to that “smart speaker” sitting on your table.  One place most of us (at least it seems) encounter such “machine intelligence” is with the king of social media, Facebook.

Book ‘Em, Mano A Mano…

Often simple thinks like posting and sharing are made difficult due to FB AI procedures.

Simple procedures like post and share are complicated by FB artificial intelligence platforms.

Parts of our interaction with others through Facebook are “one-on-one” connections – Messenger and so on; others are more like broadcasting, such as the classic “Post” and “Share”.  But behind those various communicative methods are multiple “back office”-type operations. Artificial intelligence systems and similar procedures are used more and more to do things as “easy” as suggesting your friends “Tag” up to these complex structures. For example, such structures are designed to help security people keep social medias safe, monitoring for prohibited language, identifying illicit bots, hacking, or illegal enterprises.

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Super AI: Genie in the Bottle

Super AI: The Genie in the  Bottle

By Ross Turner

Daily Life

“Artificial intelligence” is hard to get away from these days.  Not merely its mention in tech circles and popular media, but its increasing application in daily life.  From Alexa to self-driving cars, from Google Maps to the US military’s drone programs, artificial intelligence is integrating itself into the vital functions of our social, economic, and political lives.  And it’s not slowing down.  On the contrary, it is growing at a clip that has many AI researchers and scientists both excited and alarmed.  Humanity now stands on a road that inevitably leads to artificial general intelligence (AGI), but one laden with pitfalls that demand caution.  In order to understand why this is so and what worries pioneers in the field, we must first examine what artificial intelligence is, how it works, and what it can potentially do.

What is AI?

Computers and cell phones all have weak AI

Computers, cell phones, calculators are weak AG

Artificial intelligence (AI) is simply any type of non-biological intelligence; that is, intelligent outcomes produced by machines.  By far the most common and familiar type of AI is narrow AI, (also weak AI), which is used to perform a specific function or functions.  It may possess superhuman abilities in limited areas, but it has no capacity to apply that intelligence broadly to other domains outside of its expertise.  Its intelligence is not generalized.

Narrow and Safe

This can be anything as simple as a calculator, to most of the apps on your smart phone, to commercial and municipal applications such as traffic lights, aviation navigation systems, medical diagnostics, and high-frequency stock trading.  Narrow AI is exactly as safe as the outcome it is designed to produce; it will never go beyond its limitations and develop its own goals and instruments for achieving them.  While this makes it incredibly safe, it also severely limits what it is able to do and thus constrains the full benefits — and risks — of machine intelligence.

Strong AI

As with every human technology, AI brings both benefits & dangers

As with every human technology, AI brings both benefits & dangers

With AGI (also strong AI), this is not the case.  An AGI is one able to perform across the full spectrum of human cognitive abilities, or better.  This includes the ability to reason, plan, infer, communicate, learn from experience, think abstractly, solve problems, evaluate with limited information, and to use these in service of its goals. Though vastly different in architecture and “lived” experience from a human being, an AGI ought to be intellectually indistinguishable.  Researchers have realized over the decades the difficulty in this given the extreme complexity of the human brain, but new developments such as deep reinforcement learning indicate significant progress in achieving a true AGI1.

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