Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg invested billions into developing his vision of the “metaverse”. I’ve heard many people chuckle that this will likely be an “Elon Musk buying Twitter”-type sunken investment.
And I get them. Looking at the kinda ridiculous graphics, where metaverse users had only very recently been given legs (yes, legs!), it’s hard to see how this could catch on as a viable alternative to meeting face-to-face.
Until I saw this! Metahumans captured from the real thing with unbelievable levels of realism and detail.
And then I made the connection to watching a short Behind the Scenes documentary on how Avatar 2 was shot, and how emotions and facial expressions were incredibly accurately and engagingly transmitted onto (pun intended) an avatar in a virtual world.
With the tech presented in the above video you can similarly capture facial expressions and subtle muscle movement, but on a phone!! And with a little more computing power (which isn’t far off) we’ll be able to do this in real time in the not-too-distant future.
Gone are the laughs about silly looking manikins, devoid of human emotion, a toy in a painfully obvious virtual world. Hello foto-realistic, real-time and micro-muscle-simulating representations of yourself in an environment that can be anything you want or need it to be.
I remember wearing an Oculus Rift headset for the first time a few years back, playing ping pong with a cat. I was in a tiny room, but the simulation gave the very real illusion of spaciousness. And I remember getting physically dizzy when standing on a cliff about to wingsuit into a canyon. My body and mind revolted against taking a step into an imagined abyss. It gave me real sensations.
I imagine, just a few years into the future, being able to wear a very much beefed-up version of such a headset that will accurately capture even the most subtle facial expressions, making genuine human connection not just possible, but getting incredibly close to the real thing…
I imagine how powerful role-play exercises will become. I imagine the opportunity to take clients into an embodied experience in a virtual environment that will elicit very real emotions and tonnes of material to feedback on and learn from.
Of course it’s not the real thing, but close enough to do some excellent work.
The future is very exciting!
Would you partner with such technology?
New content: Coaching and social justice
Charmaine is one of the most important voices today in the DEI coaching space. Her “research gives primacy to the marginalised voices of BIPOC (Black, Indigenous and other people of colour) who work as coaches in the industry”. We discuss the challenge of coach neutrality, the line between coaching and activism, how to “embody decoloniality as a generative way of being” as well as the importance of critical reflection and radical compassion.