Facebook has announced the latest version of its successful standalone virtual reality (VR) headset, the Oculus Quest 2. The new device packs more computing power and a sharper screen than its predecessor, and is also US$100 cheaper.
The Oculus Quest 2 is the latest step in Facebook’s long-term strategy of making VR more accessible and popular. Facebook recently brought all its VR work under the umbrella of Facebook Reality Labs, it has announced new applications like the Infinite Office VR workplace, and will also require a Facebook login for future Oculus devices.
The compulsory link to Facebook has many consumers concerned, considering the social media giant’s chequered history with privacy and data. VR and its cousin, augmented reality (AR), are perhaps the most data-extractive digital sensors we’re likely to invite into our homes in the next decade.
Why does Facebook make virtual reality headsets?
Facebook acquired VR company Oculus in 2014 for an estimated US$2.3 billion. But where Oculus originally aimed at gamers, Facebook boss Mark Zuckerberg wants VR for social media.
At the same event last year, Zuckerberg said Facebook sees VR as a pathway to a new kind of “social computing platform” using the enhanced feeling of “presence” that VR affords. For Facebook, the introduction of VR-based computing will be like the leap from text-based command line interfaces to the graphical user interfaces we use today.
This may well be right. VR affords a strong feeling of embodied presence that offers new possibilities for entertainment, training, learning and connecting with others at a distance.
But if the VR future is the one Facebook is “working in the lab” on, it will function via the company’s existing social computing platform and business model of extracting data to deliver targeted advertisements.
Virtual reality collects real data
A VR headset collects data about the user, but also about the outside world. This is one of the key ethical issues of emerging “mixed reality” technologies.
As American VR researcher Jeremy Bailenson has written:
…commercial VR systems typically track body movements 90 times per second to display the scene appropriately, and high-end systems record 18 types of movements across the head and hands. Consequently, spending 20 minutes in a VR simulation leaves just under 2 million unique recordings of body language.
The way you move your body can be used to identify you, like a fingerprint, so everything you do in VR could be traced back to your individual identity.
Facebook’s Oculus Quest headsets also use outward-facing cameras to track and map their surroundings.
In late 2019 Facebook said they “don’t collect and store images or 3D maps of your environment on our servers today”. Note the word today, which tech journalist Ben Lang notes makes clear the company is not ruling out anything in the future.
Virtual reality leads to augmented reality
Facebook wants to collect this data to facilitate its plans for augmented reality (AR).
Where VR takes a user to a fully virtual environment, AR combines virtual elements with our real surroundings.
Last year Facebook unveiled the Live Maps application, a vision of an expansive surveillance apparatus presumably powered by AR glasses and data collected from Oculus Insight. Live Maps will provide many minor conveniences for Facebook users, like letting you know you’ve left your keys on the coffee table.
Now Facebook have announced their first steps towards making this a reality: Project Aria. This will involve people wearing glasses-like sensors around Seattle and the San Francisco Bay area, to collect the data to build what Wired co-founder Kevin Kelly calls “the mirrorworld”, the next big tech platform.
People are rightly concerned about the ethical implications of this kind of data extraction. Alongside Project Aria, Facebook launched its Responsible Innovation Principles page, and they’re already quick to emphasise that faces and license plates will be blurred in this data collection.
As we have argued elsewhere, framing questions about VR and AR surveillance in terms of individual privacy suits companies like Facebook very well. That’s because their previous failings are actually in the (un)ethical use of data (as in the case of Cambridge Analytica) and their asymmetric platform power.
We need more than just ‘tech ethics’
Groups like the XR Safety Initiative recognise these emerging issues, and are beginning work on standards, guidelines and privacy frameworks to shape VR and AR development.
Many emerging technologies encounter what is known as the Collingridge problem: it is hard to predict the various impacts of a technology until it is extensively developed and widely used, but by then it is almost impossible to control or change.
We see this playing out right now, in efforts to regulate Google and Facebook’s power over news media.
As David Watts argues, big tech designs its own rules of ethics to avoid scrutiny and accountability:
Feelgood, high-level data ethics principles are not fit for the purpose of regulating big tech … The harms linked to big tech can only be addressed by proper regulation.
What might regulation of Facebook’s VR look like? Germany offers one such response – their antitrust regulations have resulted in Facebook withdrawing the headset from sale. We can only hope the technology doesn’t become too entrenched to be changed, or challenged.
But regulation has not always stopped Facebook in the past, who paid out US$550 million to settle a lawsuit for breaching biometric privacy laws. In the multi-billion dollar world of big-tech, it’s all a cost of doing business.
Another question we might ask ourselves is whether Facebook’s virtual-reality future and others like it really need to exist. Maybe there are other ways to avoid forgetting your keys.
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5 Electric Skateboard Tips For Beginner In 2022
Net is an empty parking lot with smooth asphalt clear of debris and dust, it’s just one of the best places to practice the fundamentals and just get really comfortable on your board, ideally you want it to be somewhere that’s pretty open clear of pedestrians free of dust dirt debris rocks sticks and well anything that could just make your ride suck number four is something I don’t think too many beginners think about and that’s your stance not whether you’re goofy or regular but just how you stand on the board, initially you guys have no idea how many new riders I see completely fly off an electric skateboard because they were not ready for takeoff, if you’re not used to the kick that most of these boards have you’re gonna fall to prevent that make sure you’re always leaning forward during accelerating your shoes you’re leaning backwards during braking it’s always a good idea to bend your knees to while riding for more stability and just remember to anticipate the movement of braking accelerating and just keep your body ready number five is a little bit more of a mental tip and I want you to start thinking.
At least five steps ahead something you should start doing riding around is to think three four five steps ahead during your ride and consider all the possible outcomes that could come out of whatever turn you might take whatever speed you’re going, what may happen in front of you, whether someone opens up their door, if a random squirrel or something just happens to run across the street, you have to be prepared to either completely stop or swerve around it, you’ve got to think about what could go wrong and have a backup plan for that and a backup plan for your backup plan, it’s best not even put yourself in a crazy situation or something like that could happen but we live in a crazy world and you never know what could just walk in front of the street and you just got to be prepared for keep an eye out for people walking around you keep an eye out for what cars are doing I avoid using headphones while riding because it tends to distract me from what’s going on around me to be an active rider pay attention to what’s going on around you and just kind of be mentally prepared to either stop or swerve or just do anything that you got to do to have a safe ride number six is learn how to deal with speed.
I’ve seen it, hopefully we all haven’t experienced it, but we can all prevent a lot of people think loose trucks are the reason why people get waffles which isn’t entirely true, the main reason they happen is because weight is distributed unevenly on your board when going fast you sort of tend to maybe lean back or at least put more weight on your back foot, this isn’t exactly correct, you want to distribute weight evenly between both your feet completely centered over the board as you can see from this example where you distribute your weight has a big impact on how you roll just practice staying centered work your way up in speed and don’t get speed wobbles because they’re not fun, the laws of physics bowden, no-one number seven don’t ride in the rain, don’t ride in the rain, don’t ride in the mud don’t ride in the sand don’t ride underwater don’t ride on gravelly roads don’t ride on the highway cheese roads become super slippery and just just don’t okay, just don’t don’t ride in the rain, check number eight.
Make yourself seen alot of drivers and pedestrians probably haven’t really seen many electric skateboards and they are completely unaware of just how fast you are going and how fast you can go of course tread around pedestrians and cars carefully the best thing to do is just slow down, but also you want to make yourself seen during my rides when passing people I slow down I yell out to them I wave my arms to all the cars around me just so I know that they’re seen because I don’t want some who did not see me, smack into me and being seen is the difference between being hit or being hip bonus it learn hand signs let people around you know what you’re doing on your rides left right, this should be stopped, but it is kind of weird and different for places, so at least just like just heavily points at the direction that you’re going that’s going to be the easiest way to remember, oh and let people know what Lane you’re passing from tip number nine is to keep a bag of gear with you, whether it’s to pull out a skate tool to make some adjustments on the.
Fly or to pull out a power bank to charge your remote keeping a bag of gear with you is just a good idea I made a article just a couple of weeks ago showing every single thing that I bring with me during my arrived if you haven’t seen that definitely go check that out in the I card above it will give you an idea of what’s useful and sort of just stuff that you’d want to keep around tip number ten can be seen as controversial I guess your gear doesn’t matter for the most part I don’t care what brand board you’re riding I don’t care how much you spent on your board I don’t care how little you spent on your board whatever all that superficial nonsense, is it none of that stuff makes you a better skater, the only thing that does is going out there with whatever board you have getting your rising hitting up the trails and just having fun on your board because at the end of the day, that’s all that matters it’s kind of corny but if you’re not having fun you’re doing this whole thing wrong with these ten tips combined, you are captain plan idea for this article was to be informative and helpful to not only beginner riders, but all writers in general.
I may have just skimmed the surface in some areas, so if you have more information or just other tips that I missed, let’s go ahead and leave that in the comment section down below down there I want to Foster a sense of community where no one’s afraid to offer advice or ask for questions, so let’s just all be pals and help each other out down there, and if you know someone who just got an electric skateboard and could benefit from these tips, let’s go and send them this article before it’s too late anyway, is there supporting me in the content that I make is something you’re into consider supporting me on patron over there I have exclusive data and ride footage that just doesn’t make the final cut of these articles, the information for that, it’s gonna be linked down below, and if you enjoyed this article a thumbs up is greatly appreciated if you haven’t make sure you subscribe to be apart of the stoke squad until next time they stout from Arkansas.