According to an analysis of dozens of patents recently granted to Facebook’s parent company, pupil movements, body poses, and crumpled noses are one of the human expressions that Meta wants to harvest as it builds the Metaverse.
CEO Mark Zuckerberg has promised to spend $ 10 billion annually on the vague concept of fuss, representing an immersive virtual world full of avatars. Rivals such as Apple and Microsoft Pursue a similar purpose Big Tech executives describe it as part of the next evolution of the Internet.
The Financial Times has reviewed hundreds of applications to the US Patent and Trademark Office, many of which were approved this month. They say Meta has patented multiple technologies that leverage user biometric data to empower users to see and enable digital avatars to be realistically animated. I made it clear.
However, these patents show how the Silicon Valley Group can leverage the virtual world with hypertargeted advertising and sponsored content that reflects its existing $ 85 billion annual ad-based business model. I am.
This includes proposing a “virtual store” where users can purchase digital products or products that correspond to real products sponsored by the brand.
“For us, the Metaverse business model is commerce driven.” Nick Clegg, The person responsible for Meta’s global affairs told FT in a recent interview. “Obviously, advertising plays that role.”
These patents don’t mean that Meta is building technology for sure, but they provide the clearest indicator of how the company aims to create an immersive world. To do.
Some patents relate to eye and face tracking technology and are typically collected on headsets via a small camera or sensor and can be used to enhance the user’s virtual or augmented reality experience. For example, you can see a bright graphic where your line of sight hits, or you can see that your avatar reflects your actual behavior.
One meta-patent granted on January 4th Track the facial expressions of the user Through the headset, “adapt media content” based on those responses.
I have “Wearable magnetic sensor system” It is placed around the torso for “tracking body poses”. Patent Includes a sketch of a user wearing a device, but appearing in virtual reality as a soldier with a sword and armor.
Another patent “Avatar Personalization Engine” You can use tools such as the so-called skin replicator to create a 3D avatar based on your photo.
“Meta aims to be able to simulate you to all skin pores, all hair, and even all tremors,” said a year studying Meta’s human surveillance ambitions at the University of Western Australia. Noelle Martin, the amendment to the law, has spent more than that. ..
“The purpose is to create 3D replicas of people, places and things. They are so real and tactile that they are indistinguishable from the real thing and mediate a wide range of services. They are working on a global human cloning program. ”
The project has recently plagued other scandals over moderation and privacy, allowing the company to attract engineers from rivals such as Microsoft in a fierce battle for talent among the world’s largest tech companies. rice field.
Since changing the company name from Facebook to Meta due to a company brand change in late October, the company’s share price has risen about 5% to $ 329.21.
Critics remain skeptical of the vision, suggesting that the effort is distracting from subsequent recent scrutiny. Whistleblower Frances Haugen Last year, the company publicly accused it of prioritizing hatred over profit.
“How do they process more data and ensure that the data is secure?” Former director of user experience at Epic Games and now working as an independent consultant. Celia Hodent said.
Some patents seem to focus on helping Meta find new sources of revenue amid concerns about diminishing young users’ interest in core social networking products such as Facebook.
Zuckerberg has indicated that the company plans to keep headset prices low, but instead makes money by supporting the sale of digital products and services in the virtual world with a metaverse from advertising.
One patent seeks ways to present to users Personalized advertising Augmented reality includes likes and comments based on age, gender, interests, and “how users interact with social media platforms.”
Another person is trying to allow third party To “sponsor the appearance of objects” in a virtual store that reflects the layout of the retail store through a bidding process similar to the company’s existing advertising auction process.
These patents show how Meta provides more personalized advertising in an immersive world than is possible with existing web-based products.
Studies show Its gaze direction and pupil activity may implicitly contain information about the user’s interests and emotional state. For example, if the user’s eyes remain on the image, this may indicate that the user likes it.
“Obviously you can do something similar [to existing ad targeting systems] Metaverse doesn’t sell eye-tracking data to advertisers, but you need to use the data to understand if people are involved in your ads, “says Craig.
Brittan Heller, a technical lawyer at Foley Hoag, said: .. .. Most people don’t understand how valuable it is. Currently, there are no legal restrictions on it. ”
Meta said: “We have not commented on the specific scope of our patents or the reasons for filing, but please note that our patents do not necessarily cover the technology used in our products and services. give me.”
Additional Report by Henry Mance in London
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