This is what Facebook will look like in five years


It’s 9 a.m. The average summer heat wave feels less intense today as you’re walking down your neighborhood. The strong craving for a croissant consumes your thoughts as you’re contemplating what to have for breakfast. Out of nowhere, a bakery appears next to you with various croissant options to satisfy your cravings. You stop, choose your breakfast, only to realize you forgot your wallet.  

That’s not an issue though, as the brain-computer interface device recognizes the obstacle and immediately transmits a link to obtain your wallet with one click. 

Welcome to the metaverse, a simulated mirror of our world which will soon become every Facebook user’s digital reality, according to Mark Zuckerberg. 

The founder of Facebook told The Verge that the social networking platform will soon transform into a metaverse in five years, adding that online users are not meant to communicate in “small, glowing rectangles.” 

“That’s not really how people are made to interact,” Zuckerberg said, addressing people’s dependance on mobile phones. “A lot of the meetings that we have today, you’re looking at a grid of faces on a screen. That’s not how we process things either.” 

Zuckerberg described the metaverse as “an embodied internet where instead of just viewing content, you are in it.” For example, if a user is watching a concert on Facebook, they will have the option to dive virtually into a 3D concert.  

“You feel present with other people as if you were in other places, having different experiences that you couldn’t necessarily do on a 2D app or webpage, like dancing, for example, or different types of fitness,” The Facebook CEO said. 

Diving into the metaverse will also benefit businesses and working individuals, as Zuckerberg is currently planning an “infinite office” that would provide employees with their ideal customizable workplace through VR. 

In five years, instead of just conducting job interviews over the phone, employees will be able to sit as a hologram on the hiring manager’s couch.  

“Or I’ll be able to sit as a hologram on your couch, and it’ll actually feel like we’re in the same place, even if we’re in different states or hundreds of miles apart,” Zuckerberg said. “I think that is really powerful.” 

Granting people the ability to enjoy options beyond their physical circumstances is edging closer to becoming a reality, as Facebook has already spent $2 billion on acquiring Oculus, which develops all of Facebook’s VR products, including Facebook’s Horizon. 

In 2019, Oculus launched Facebook’s Horizon service which invited users to a virtual reality where they can chat through a simulated cartoon avatar of themselves using Oculus’ headsets. 

Zuckerberg acknowledged that the current VR headsets by Oculus are “a bit clunky” as people can’t work in them every day. However, the man behind the tech giant argued that the metaverse created by Facebook will be “accessible across different computing platforms” including outlets such as PC, mobile devices, and games consoles. 

The origin of the metaverse concept was born in Neal Stephenson’s 1992 science fiction novel Snow Crash, where it served as a virtual reality that came even before the internet’s creation.  

The phrase “life imitates art,” the notion that an event in the real world is inspired by a creative work, will soon be witnessed by Facebook users worldwide.  

However, it’s not all sunshine and rainbows.  

According to Verity McIntosh, a VR expert at the University of the West of England, Facebook is interested in producing a metaverse due to the enormous data it will provide on users that cannot compare with screen-based media. 

“Now it’s not just about where I click and what I choose to share, it’s about where I choose to go, how I stand, what I look at for longest, the subtle ways that I physically move my body and react to certain stimuli. It’s a direct route to my subconscious and that is gold to a data capitalist,” Mclntosh said. 

Zuckerberg’s announcement also comes after several lawmakers began reining in the power of U.S.-based tech giants such as Amazon, Apple, Google, and Facebook. In an effort to curb major market distortions and encourage competition as big tech companies dominate industries, lawmakers have been stretching out anti-trust laws to impose fines and behavioral remedies. 

Earlier in June, Rhode Island Democrat and chairman of the House Antitrust Subcommittee David N. Cicilline, commented on the anti-trust law being issued on big tech companies, explaining that it would “level the playing field” and make sure these companies are held to the same regulations as other businesses. 

“Right now, unregulated tech monopolies have too much power over our economy,” Cicilline said. “They are in a unique position to pick winners and losers, destroy small businesses, raise prices on consumers, and put folks out of work.” 

Yet, even with all the negative implications that are coupled with the technology, from a futuristic perspective, it’s not all doom and gloom.  

We might be closer to achieving a metaverse than we might think. Services such as “Google Street View” already provide realistic and interactive panoramas of streets around the world. With developments such as paying for transit from Google Maps, to booking an online class or ordering takeout from your favorite restaurant.  

Five years down the line, and the metaverse itself will become any street you want to visit, providing you with all of your desired services effortlessly. You might not be living in your dream country or district, but you’ll have the option to roam its streets and maybe even pay through cryptocurrency for your croissant.