Engineering the Metaverse: Talk by Dr. Lokesh Boregowda

On the 17th of September, Dr Lokesh Boregowda, the head of the Samsung AR vision labs of Samsung R&D, Bangalore visited TheISRO to present a talk on what it would take to build the metaverse and the factors that would go into building it. It was a brief overview on all the various actors that would play a part in this paradigm shift of immense proportions. He outlined the roles of each of the players in the industry.The talk was attended by both Srishti students as well as people from the general public.

Dr. Lokesh Boregowda is a Computer Vision and Image Processing engineer with a doctorate from the Indian Institute of Science.


George Panicker summarises Dr.Boregowda's talk in this post.



 

Gartner defines the Metaverse as “a collective shared virtual space created by the convergence of virtually enhanced physical and digital reality” and predicts a valuation of $225 billion by 2028 for the metaverse industry. Adoption of the metaverse will be primarily driven by the adoption of VR headsets, themselves a product of big tech companies such as Meta and Microsoft. Although VR as a space has existed for a long time now, only recently have the primary problems slowing down VR adoption such as motion sickness and depth sensing problems have solved or approximately solved. While most of the problems related to the technical side of metaverse development have been resolved or see their resolution within the near future, two factors pose a big roadblock to large scale metaverse adoption: Agreement on uniform XR standards across industry, and the creation as well as design of content that will drive XR adoption. As it stands, these still have a long way to go from being resolved. Currently, disagreements on the exact nature of shared XR standards persists, as each body of ideas have their own agenda to push forward as outlined by Dr Lokesh, and until these issues are resolved through common ground, the metaverse will continue to resist mass deployment as well as adoption.

Metaverse technologies will facilitate new experiences across a broad range of industries, as well as create new forms of recreational interactions, shared social space and currency exchange. These last few points are currently driving the metaverse gold rush, spearheaded by Meta. A supporting network of companies and institutions that will serve as the spine of the metaverse have already cropped up, ranging from network companies to 3d clouds etc etc. A rainbow of issues now exist, which pose both challenges as well as opportunities to all those tasked with building the metaverse.

Dr Lokesh was an extremely great presenter, and did so in a fun, engaging manner that did justice to the real challenges that the metaverse poses, as well as in a way that did not bore anyone who was present at the talk. A lot of questions posed were answered very professionally to the best of his knowledge, yet he also did not let his position of stature stop him from answering every single question if it meant that it would slow down the presentation. Students and professionals present at the talk asked questions ranging from those of cyber law to environmental sustainability as well as technical issues such as computing power and usability, providing room for newer, deeper thought. Deeper issues of philosophical nature relating to identity, personhood etc were asked, where the autonomy of avatars as digital twins in the metaverse were discussed, while on the technical side Dr Lokeh went through issues such as Time syncing, chronemics and eye tracking technologies.

Personally, the talk was a very illuminating experience about the many sides of coordinated effort it would take to build the metaverse from scratch, as well as the increasingly important role both designers and technologists have in making a safe, ethical metaverse experience. The standoff between Big tech and their users have never been so rife with distrust as they have today, with key issues of data privacy and ethical boundaries saturating nearly every single conversation around computing technology today. The metaverse now poses a much bigger sense of responsibility to designers and developers, as data that has an even deeper sense of the word personal now stands to be harvested. The metaverse now stands to be one of the most monumental paradigm shifts to be witnessed across history, posing new ides in the sense of relating to each other and our sense of place. It will enable new forms of art, culture, socialization and understanding, perhaps in ways yet to be fully realized. What we make of these possibilities remains to be seen, but as of now a huge duty exists at the feet of those that are tasked with building the next step of computing, and how these torch bearers carry this legacy forward will stand the test of true integrity.


A huge thanks to Dr Boregowda for taking the time out of his busy schedule for us!



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