The metaverse will transform the way we connect. With today’s internet, we connect with people mostly by looking at screens. But in the metaverse, we’ll be able to share the same spaces three-dimensionally.
Because companies like Meta are starting to think about this future now, we have the opportunity to help build the metaverse with diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) from its inception. It definitely isn’t easy to resolve the complicated issues of DEI in technology, especially at a global scale. But working on these issues is one of the things that excites me most about Meta, and our role in using technology to have a positive impact on society.
It’ll take years for the metaverse to be built, so we have a long road ahead. Here are a few things we’re doing — and being intentional about — now.
- Asking the right questions: To work toward an inclusive metaverse, we need to ask the right questions about what inclusivity must look like in immersive experiences. We’re doing that through a two-year, $50 million investment in partnerships, exploring issues related to the metaverse from different perspectives. Through a partnership with Howard University, researchers will explore historical barriers to information technology and offer recommendations on how we can remove those barriers.
- Building networks of diverse talent: Diverse people shouldn’t just participate in the metaverse as consumers; they should be its architects and builders as well. To make that happen, we need to increase the diversity of people working in the tech industry, particularly in areas like artificial intelligence (AI), gaming, virtual reality (VR), and augmented reality (AR). We’re partnering with institutions across the United States — historically Black colleges and universities, Hispanic-serving institutions, and Asian American and Native American Pacific Islander–serving institutions — to attract more students to deep learning courses and increase diversity and equity in the field of AI.
- Breaking down language barriers: People will feel more connected to others if they can communicate, work, or produce art in their chosen languages. They’ll also have the potential to immediately reach billions of others across the world regardless of their preferred language. Can you imagine how that would change our lives? Possibilities like these drive our long-term efforts to build new translation tools that will give creators and consumers the ability to participate equally in the metaverse in more languages and reach people in the farthest corners of the globe.
- Broadening access to the metaverse for users and creators: Participation in the metaverse will not depend on having access to a headset. There will be many entry points through which people can participate using any device, including mobile phones. Enabling access for creators from diverse backgrounds is equally important, and I’m pleased with the progress we are making with our Spark AR platform. It’s already being used by hundreds of thousands of creators in 190 countries to build immersive experiences across Meta’s apps and devices.
- Creating myriad options for self-expression: Representations in the metaverse should reflect the diversity of the real world. Recently, we announced improvements to our Meta avatars, including new facial shapes and assistive devices such as cochlear implants, over-the-ear hearing aids, and wheelchairs for people with disabilities. We offered more than one quintillion different combinations when we launched our updated avatars last year, and we’re continuing to add more options to give people even more ways to express themselves.
Read Maxine’s full post to learn more about how we’re helping build an inclusive metaverse.