The metaverse has major privacy concerns

Bi-weekly update with the latest insights from the Metaverse: news, posts, creations, and communities.

Good evening all!

Like always, there’s a lot happening in the metaverse space. This week, I’m especially excited about new virtual worlds. People are making more and more interesting things in the metaverse and we’re still right at the beginning.

The most important part though is that related to privacy. There are a couple of articles out there outlining a completely connected home. I don’t know if we’ll go that far, but there’s little doubt that IoT is a crucial component of the metaverse. We bring the physical world to the digital world and vice versa. This means sensors everywhere, including our private homes. We need to start considering privacy concerns starting yesterday and luckily many people are on top of this.

On the news

  • Babylon.js 4.2 is out: Babylon is the often overlooked 3D framework for the Web. It’s supported by Microsoft and is extremely powerful. This new version makes it a lot easier to use with big improvements to their GUI editor tool. It’s a more encompassing framework than Three.js as it does a lot more for us. That might remove some flexibility but it should also make things easier. [Link]

  • Google releases an object detection dataset: To develop an object detection neural network, you need a big dataset with videos and images from different angles of the object to train the network. Google just released a pretty big one with 15k annotated clips together with 4M images. These annotations include AR metadata like camera poses and sparse point-clouds. [Link]

  • Lil Nas X concert in Roblox: The virtual concert frenzy continues and Roblox doesn’t want to be left behind. With a staggering 33 million people watching, it seems like they’ve done a damn good job, at least in viewership. It seems like they had a scavenger hunt while you waited for the concert to start and some in-game merch stores. I love those ideas. I saw the concert video, and, at least for me, it’s way deep in the uncanny valley. [Link]

Food for thought

  • The importance of persistence in virtual worlds: Michael Dempsey is back with another essay around persistence. This concept has been searched for in gaming for decades, but it’s tough to do technically. It needs a good amount of infrastructure and complicated backend software. We’ve seen different companies try to offer persistence as a service like Improbable and the unreleased coherence.io.

    Animal Crossing has been very successful in part due to the persistent nature of its world. If we put persistence together with user-generated content, we could end up with much more engaging virtual universes that give people reasons to return. [Link]

  • Scientific American thinks Spatial Computing is the next big thing: In the article, they envision a future where every device is connected and works for you. They use the accessibility example where even tables move in space to where you need them. Making every device intelligent and connected to meet your needs is a future talked about a lot. I can’t help worrying about all the privacy issues that come with it. This can only be built in a decentralized way with proper encryption so only you can control these devices. This is no easy feat and for now, the connected home space is being won by big tech with centralized technology. [Link]

  • A warrant is needed for your in-house sensors: The EFF recently wrote an article outlining the issue that police forces may attempt to gather information from the sensors in our homes. These sensors, like inside-out tracking, could even map our homes creating a mirror-world of them. This is a lot of information about our private spaces. They go on to explain previous judicial cases that would justify a warrant to access this information in the US. Currently, there’s no clear legislation for it, so this is the best we can do. It’s important work by the EFF to leave this outlined in case it’s needed. [Link]

  • 100 WebXR monetization ideas: Avaer, from Webaverse, has posted a Twitter thread with 100 monetization ideas for WebXR projects. It comes with a talk in Hubs going deeper into them. [Link]

Cool Creations

  • Train to different WebXR voxel worlds: In a previous issue, I talked about Daniel Gatunes’ WebXR voxel editor. With that, he’s created a whole set of different virtual worlds. There are different physics’ based experiences and some worlds that are there just to explore like a museum. The really cool thing is this train experience to move around from one world to the other. It’s a very interesting concept and one that I hadn’t seen yet for world traversal. Some virtual worlds can even be multiuser experiences. Seems like the start of a cool WebXR universe and it’s also available on SideQuest. Dani is also creating tutorials on Youtube to learn how to make virtual worlds with his technology. [Link]

  • Adobe publishes tutorials to make 3D content: Start 3D is a set of tutorials to get started creating 3D models. As 3D becomes a more important part of our digital worlds, it’s important to make the creation process simpler. One part is more and better tutorials. It’s nice to see Adobe jumping in. [Link]

  • WebXR search API: This a new interesting utility. It’s an API that lets you search for different things relevant to WebXR virtual worlds. Searchable categories include 3D models, avatars, and even WebXR sites. It can also fetch specific elements of a virtual universe like a Hubs room or a Cryptovoxels parcel. It’s one of those things that sounds like a great idea and very interesting. I don’t know why, but I can’t help like the idea a lot. Thing is, I don’t see myself using it right now. [Link]

Interesting Meetups & Communities

  • Balaji introduces The Network State. Balaji, a known person in the crypto community, has created a set of lectures about creating a state online. These lectures talk about how it will work and a roadmap to build it. And the whole point of it is to actually make it happen. It will start as an online university and then bootstrap an economy. It will all be open source and coordination meetings happen in VR. People trying out these crazy ideas was bound to happen. Let’s see how it goes, I’m sure it won’t be the last. [Link[


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Thanks for tuning in, that’s it for today. If you find anything interesting that we should post in the next one, reach out via Twitter or Email.

See you in 2 weeks!

Alberto