Welcome back for the fifth episode of Boz To The Future, a monthly podcast from Facebook Reality Labs (FRL). In today’s episode, our host and Head of FRL Andrew “Boz” Bosworth is joined by Axios Chief Technology Correspondent Ina Fried to talk about the disintegration and integration of technology and the role of identity and self-expression in digital spaces — including the metaverse.
With a passion for how technology changes our society, both for the good and the bad, Fried has had an expansive career spanning CNET, All Things Digital, Recode, and more. Now at Axios, she covers technology for both her newsletter subscribers and a broader audience.
Together, Fried and Bosworth cover a rich range of topics, from the implications of burgeoning smart technologies to the future of identity and self-expression in digital spaces. They look at the current trend of breaking out components of integrated devices like today’s smartphones and moving them to new form factors that offer more utility and ease of use for people. We expect these disparate technologies to be reintegrated into a new form factor, like future AR glasses. While we can see glimpses of that future today, it’s a long way off in terms of technological capability as well as social acceptability. Still, from AirPods and the Apple Watch to the newly-launched Ray-Ban Stories, we’re already seeing some interesting products that help us put our phones down and keep our eyes on the world around us.
With smart wearables on the rise, our society will increasingly have to grapple with the question of expectations — those of the people building these products, the consumers who purchase them, and the bystanders who don’t buy them. Fried and Bosworth discuss the importance of media and technology literacy, as well as the need to fully examine all the ways in which potential technologies could be used to cause harm so that we can better mitigate the risks. This is especially true with respect to more vulnerable communities, given that these new technologies may not be developed with diversity, equity, and inclusion top of mind.
Bosworth touched on Facebook’s vision for the metaverse as a rich digital space where people can be anything they want to be and the possibilities for self-expression abound. Fried spoke to the potential for a digital try-on experience in the metaverse, likening it to Animal Crossing and its wardrobe as a means of exploring identity at no social or economic cost — the caveat being that the proper safety mechanisms must be in place to ensure it really is safe to experiment.
You can tune in to Boz to the Future on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, and Facebook — or right here on Tech@Facebook. We’ll see you next month for a new episode.
You can follow Bosworth on Instagram and Twitter @boztank. Follow Ina Fried on Twitter, and subscribe to her daily newsletter at getlogin.axios.com.
Reality Labs brings together a world-class team of researchers, developers, and engineers to build the future of connection within virtual and augmented reality.