Two years have passed since the old Facebook changed its name to Meta and we all started talking about the Metaverse… And then we forgot a lot about it.
Without clear applications beyond the possibilities in video games and some aspects of leisure, Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Meta, presented this week his new proposal for this virtual space. The most significant thing: changing the childish avatars presented a year ago for new, much more realistic ones in order to attack teleworking spaces.
The CEO of Meta delved into this new proposal in an interview with analyst Lex Fridman, where he showed his proposal for new 3D avatars, which They reproduce a copy of the gestures of someone wearing one of their Meta Quest glasses.
He and Fridman chatted in a virtual reality space using the Meta Quest Pro VR virtual reality headset and photorealistic Codec Avatars, technology that Meta is still developing.
The experience was so realistic that Fridman praised it repeatedly, saying things like “this is truly the most amazing thing I’ve ever seen” and “it feels like we’re in the same room.”
During the wide-ranging conversation, Zuckerberg eventually talked about remote work.
“One of the things that intrigues me is, there are all these debates now about remote work, or people being together,” he said. “I think this brings us a lot closer to being able to physically work in different places, but really feel like we’re together. I think the dream is that people can one day just work from wherever they want, but we’ll have all the same opportunities because you’ll be able to feel that you are physically next to others.”
He contrasted the technology he and Fridman were using with the tools most remote workers currently use to connect with distant colleagues.
“I think we’re not there today with just video conferencing and the basic technologies that we have,” he said.
But not for their own offices
All this contrasts with how teleworking is being treated behind closed doors. Meta recently threatened to fire employees who did not obey its strict return-to-the-office order.
Zuckerberg is one of many CEOs requiring employees to return to the office and having managers enforce the policy through keycard tracking and other techniques. But Meta’s push for a return to the office, which calls for three days in the office, has not gone smoothly, with many employees who do attend having trouble booking a conference room or securing a desk for the day.
But on Fridman’s podcast, Zuckerberg raved about the potential of remote work with the technology they were using. With her, he said, over time “you might get closer” to the feeling of being physically together.
In 2020, Zuckerberg boasted about Meta’s embrace of remote work. He said at the time, “We are going to be the most progressive company in remote work at our scale, with a thoughtful and responsible plan to do it.” He estimated that about half of the company’s employees would be working remotely in the next five to 10 years.
But then he changed his mind, ordering a return to the office that calls into question what he himself proclaims as the advantage of his new business.