The interview, featuring Mark Zuckerberg and Lex Fridman, unfolded within the digital realm of the Metaverse, a place that could soon become our collective second home.
I couldn’t help but marvel at the incredible realism of the experience. The avatars of Zuckerberg and Fridman were no longer caricatures but rather photorealistic versions of themselves, indistinguishable from the real world. It was almost as if they were sitting right in front of me.
Despite the physical distance separating them, the sense of presence was palpable. Fridman, the host, was visibly overwhelmed by the lifelike quality of the encounter. He described how he could perceive Zuckerberg’s body language and facial expressions with astonishing precision, to the point where he confessed, “I’m already forgetting that you’re not real.”
However, there was one remarkable aspect missing from their avatars: physical bodies. Zuckerberg acknowledged that this is a challenge yet to be overcome. Just as it took years for avatars in Meta Horizon Worlds to acquire legs, the task of providing realistic bodies remains a work in progress. But the promise is tantalizing. Once achieved, people could interact in the Metaverse while looking fully like themselves, blurring the line between the digital and physical worlds.
Zuckerberg was candid about the timeline, suggesting that this vision of the future is still at least three years away. Nevertheless, Meta is steadfastly working toward this goal. Currently, achieving such a level of photorealism requires a comprehensive scan with specialized equipment, far from accessible to the average person. However, there’s hope that in the not-so-distant future, a smartphone could become the tool of choice for creating these lifelike avatars, as demonstrated at Meta Connect 2022.
The implications are profound. As I watched the interview on my television screen, I was taken aback by how convincingly real it all appeared. The screenshot of the two avatars was so lifelike that I had to adjust my expectations, reminding myself that they were digital recreations. The technology Meta is developing has the potential to revolutionize our digital interactions. If they can successfully bring this level of realism to the masses, the possibilities for its application are boundless. It’s a tantalizing glimpse into a future where the boundaries between the virtual and the physical world become increasingly blurred.