During a conversation within the “Metaverse interview” on the Lex Fridman podcast, Zuckerberg unveiled Meta’s groundbreaking Codec virtual reality avatars. These avatars employ advanced scanning technology to create highly realistic 3D models of the user’s facial features, marking a significant departure from the company’s previous Metaverse avatars, which garnered criticism for their awkward appearance – often described as legless, lifeless, and unsettling.
In his interview, conducted primarily in a virtual environment, Meta’s CEO emphasized the fundamental goal of augmented reality: delivering a genuine sense of presence, regardless of one’s geographical location. He stated, “The essence of augmented reality lies in conveying a profound sense of presence, transcending geographical boundaries.” Zuckerberg acknowledged that effective communication often relies more on non-verbal expressions than spoken words. While Meta had previously attempted to capture this essence with its more cartoonish avatars, he noted that there is an unmistakable authenticity associated with the new photorealistic experience.
Zuckerberg also hinted at the potential for users to customize their virtual avatars to convey a wider range of emotions. In a humorous aside, he even suggested using this feature to enhance his well-known, often stoic delivery.
However, despite the remarkable quality of these avatars, widespread availability may still be some time away. Zuckerberg disclosed that Meta is actively working on streamlining the scanning process and anticipates gradually integrating this technology into its products over the next few years.
The introduction of these photorealistic avatars signifies a significant leap forward compared to the cartoon-style avatars used in Meta’s Horizon Worlds, the company’s free VR gaming and social platform.
It’s worth noting that Mark Zuckerberg faced substantial social media mockery last year when he shared a selfie featuring his metaverse avatar in front of a virtual representation of the Eiffel Tower. Critics humorously compared the graphics to those seen in 1990s video games. At the time, Zuckerberg candidly acknowledged that his avatar was rather rudimentary in design.