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Published on September 29th, 2021 | by Emergent Enterprise

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Facebook Announces $50m Investment in ‘Responsible’ Metaverse Development

Emergent Insight:
Emergent technology has opened up many important discussions about ethics, inclusion, safety, security and more. Never before has there been this opportunity for users to share so much information, both intentionally and unintentionally, and the tech to monitor, retrieve, archive and interpret the data. We find out in this article at ZDNet by Jonathan Greig that Facebook is proactively asking these types of questions as they continue to build a metaverse platform. These types of questions are confronting developers and deliverers of artificial intelligence as well. As tech companies of all shapes and sizes gather data on users, customers and employees, how will the data be used? Will there be bias in the handling of the data? Will the personal information be vulnerable to bad actors? It’s promising that Facebook is investing in the pursuit of a “responsible” metaverse. We, as users, will need to hold Facebook and all companies accountable for high standards in the acquisition and usage of our data.

Original Article:
Photo by Alex Haney on Unsplash

Facebook said on Monday that it would be investing $50 million into its metaverse projects to ensure they are “developed responsibly,” according to a new blog post from Facebook vice presidents Andrew Bosworth and Nick Clegg.

Clegg and Bosworth said Facebook is concerned about how the metaverse concept will handle economic opportunity, privacy, safety, equity, and inclusion issues.

The two explained that the XR Programs and Research Fund will last for two years and will involve collaborations with “industry partners, civil rights groups, governments, nonprofits and academic institutions to determine how to build these technologies responsibly.”

Facebook announced that through the effort, it would be working 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 on an immersive technology digital storytelling project called “Amplifying African Voices.”

Facebook also will partner with Women In Immersive Tech to support women and underrepresented groups working in the virtual, augmented and mixed reality sectors in Europe.

Seoul National University will also do external research on metaverse projects. The University of Hong Kong — which will focus on safety, ethics and responsible design — as well as the National University of Singapore’s Centre for Technology, Robotics, Artificial Intelligence & the Law at the Faculty of Law on a study about privacy and data use.

Funding will also go toward research into the history of diversity in IT and potential issues with access to the metaverse by teams at Howard University.

Clegg and Bosworth defined the metaverse as a “set of virtual spaces where you can create and explore with other people who aren’t in the same physical space as you.”

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