Faced with the dangers of the closed « Metaverses » of Facebook and Co. or those in the making, Meza’s #MetaWeb / 3D, the only truly open alternative!
by : Guillaume G / Bonob0h, François Aubriot, Philippe Scoffoni
5 November 2021
Translation through Deepl, and waiting for human supervision
For the past few weeks, Facebook’s announcements related to the « Metaverse » have given us one of the most important and inescapable visions of the future of digital and the web.
As Aurélie Jean recently published in a column in Le Point on 24 October 2021, this vision of closed virtual worlds is a real danger!
Others make the same observation, such as Laurent Vaissade
Not to mention the excellent editorial by former senator René TRÉGOUËT: ALLONS-NOUS LAISSER LES GAFAM GOUVERNER NOS MONDES VIRTUELS: LA DROGUE DU XXIème SIECLE?
We are in complete agreement, but simple observations are not enough, especially since solutions exist!
For others, on the contrary, « we must not rush into things », moderates Julien Pillot on Franceinfo, who believes that metavers are « only in their infancy » and that their development still suffers from « major technological obstacles ».
Of course it’s not the dream panacea, but it already works very well with a simple computer! Virtual reality masks are only a temporary accessory! Besides, the Web we know in HTML5, etc. has also started with its first version! Waiting until everything is well in place to « do » is heresy!
As for the dangers, as early as 2014, Mark Zuckerberg had announced a 3D Facebook. Admittedly, there were no sequels, and we have on the other side SecondLife which is slowly falling apart.
In both cases, they failed to take into account essential factors. Users are demanding, but they still can’t find what they want! Universe on their fingers. Between 2006 and 2009, millions of people came to SecondLife, and then left because these essential factors were missing, which means that this approach, more than any other, must also be at the service of our humanity.
Since 2007, the MEZA association has been trying to create a Web3D++. Between 2014 and 2016, after announcements by Mark Zuckerberg. It had already warned of the obvious dangers of one or more closed « Metaverse » type platforms in the hands of companies whose practices we know, and are still discovering, are not at the service of people and digital.
In the face of mere analysis and vision, Meza adds a strategy and, above all, a roadmap that integrates technology, usage and an economic and financial model that breaks away from these « Startups » that dream of becoming « Unicorns »!
For the past 15 years, Meza has been making concrete proposals: those of a 3D Web, free/source, open and decentralised, with « locomotive » uses to train and obtain public support.
These proposals are the result of several months of study of newcomers to Second Life in 2007. Landing in a kind of prototype of the future of a 3D Web, leaving it dejected of the reception and the lack of activities in particular in interaction with the « real ». We can’t revive the pchiiit’s of SecondLife or Canal+’s 2nd World (1995 to 2000).
From the wax tablet to the web, the evolutions are inescapable. The same is true of the web. Like the Minitel, it started with pages of text and photos! Why shouldn’t it evolve? In 3D!
At the same time the notion of « Metaverse » is generally plural! That is to say that it would be necessary to juggle with different « virtual worlds »!Do we live on several planets, each with its own particularities?
No! We live on one planet with one ecosystem.
Why complicate things, when technically, thanks to opensource, everything is possible and available to create the standard of a universal and decentralised #MetaWeb. The Web was born in a spirit of freedom, decentralisation and sharing, and it has largely contributed to the evolution of digital technology. It is essential to go back to basics!
Computers were born to help people, not to enslave them by a handful of gluttonous digital actors!
To counter these voracities, the only means at our disposal is to mobilise to create an open and universal #MetaWeb #MetaWeb3D!
This is an opportunity to positively influence the future of digital.
The technologies needed for the #MetaWeb / 3D are already available! Free, opensource, open! All it needs is a few small developments to make it easily accessible to everyone, regardless of the digital « power » available.
At the very least, it’s a matter of a few million euros! Already about ten. With these means, in the space of 6 months, it is largely possible to launch the bases of an alternative to the Meta project of Facebook! A starting point for the #MetaWeb can easily be achieved with the impetus of a few players and major patrons and why not with the help of the French State and the European Union, which could apply our national motto to the digital world that we deserve.
But technologies are not everything and it is thanks to uses that we will succeed.
These driving uses, interacting with reality, must be built and financed at all levels so as not to be dependent on private technologies guided by commercial objectives that we do not want.
Without caring about the individual and his or her uses, we will fall back into the ways that caused the disinterest of Second Life or will only make the Buzz.
To better understand the proposal, let’s compare it to the early history of Lego applied to digital.
In its early days and for about 5 years, Lego almost never took off. The bricks were sold in a canvas bag! Nobody knew what to do with them. Then someone had the idea to make a nice box with a nice model to build, and the necessary bricks. There were even some other possible models with black and white drawings! Success came, and Lego became the iconic brand we know. Buyers start by making the proposed model and then let their imagination run wild!
Meza’s locomotive programmes are boxes of Lego, with the necessary instructions for understanding, training and adherence. They allow everyone to be free to make their own adaptations.
Here are some of our most successful programmes for engaging users, from a very young age.
One of the most important, are the Lokale Hacktions, of Neighbourhoods, Cities, Villages in Web3D++ – A network of local actions that start with the reconstitution of places to develop activities, in interaction with the real ones or the Club of Colleges & Lycées – Clone the Lokale Hacktions and in interaction with the existing clubs of establishments. This is the best way to make all the environments interact while taking into account the teaching, the very basis of the construction of each person.
They are also linked to the trades with the PAM – Places & Ateliers des Métiers: Network and tools of the trades for Professionals Education and Individuals, or associated with tourism with TAMI – the production units of companies in Web3D++ for a network of Tourism of Arts, Trades and Industries
In another register there is also Prézans, which fights against digital fractures and isolation #Seniors #Disabled #Literate #Homeless. It is both a network and a platform for support organisations. In the same vein of forgotten but life-giving areas we have Penal Sentences – An alternative sentencing programme Virtual Prison, training, etc, and contribution to the public good.
One of our oldest programmes is also, RiMa – Plan National de Prévention & Continuité d’Activités Maximum pour les Risques Majeurs / Pandémies. Proposed back in 2009, it would have been most useful during the recent confinements!
To conclude this small panorama, we also take into account the environment and energy savings with, for example, CALCULI – Recycling of Web3D Server Downtime for Scientific Simulations
What is particularly relevant with all these programs is that they are generally all interacting with each other!
They are intended to create « virtual reality » life interacting with reality, and later add augmented reality!
For this life, even before business, we favour the general interest and training through donations and optimised sponsorship over private interests.
Our model is therefore not aimed at digital vampires, but at all end users, whether they are individuals, companies, associations or public services. Content development is not just for specialists! Content contributions and developments and uses are intended for individuals from 7 to 77 years old, and from TPme/I to large groups.
It is a way to create life, participation, so that business can grow in their wake.
With Meza’s #MetaWeb3D, users only need their current equipment to immerse themselves with a simple computer screen! There is no need to buy diving masks to lock themselves in, even if they are occasionally useful!
Our credo is to open up horizons, to make them interact with reality, to encourage creation and collaboration, and not to lock them up in order to plunder the data!
In Meza’s model, the benefits are almost instantaneous and contribute to the financing of technical, human and financial needs.
All digital companies (free or not) have an important role to play in helping to improve current technologies and to participate in content development. According to the CNLL, in 2018, companies in the EU invested around 1 billion euros in free software, which is still « confidential », with an impact on the European economy of between 65 and 95 billion euros!
Imagine the impact of a #MetaWeb that is not confidential, but on the contrary is the driving force behind the digital world in France, Europe and even around the world!
And all this for the benefit of users before those of the GAFAMS!
Now we need to find the initial means!
Could this new « alert » of a forthcoming Meta (verse) from Facebook and the announcement, for example, of the creation of 10,000 jobs in Europe be a long-awaited trigger?
As far as we are concerned, the job prospects around a #MetaWeb3D are much more important! And not only in terms of jobs!
But only time will tell.
Philip Rosedale, the « fallen » creator of SecondLife who has been trying to launch a new project since 2012, published a graph on Twitter in 2018. This graph, which only mentions a few areas, shows exceptional market forecasts for virtual reality. No less than 20 Trillion $!? or about 20,000 billion?
Meza’s #MetaWeb / 3D offers many more uses! And in all sectors!
Sowing the Web3D++ seeds since 2007, Meza has only collected closed doors from digital players such as those of 3D, as well as from those of free software and opensource, who should have mobilised themselves even though the #MetaWeb3D is an opportunity not to confront but to bypass the GAFAMS. This is also the case for politicians from all sides.
Now, the dangers are really imminent! Much closer than the various warnings on the climate! So we must not wait any longer! And above all, we must not let what will later be difficult to fight take hold!
Our roadmap is concrete. We therefore hope that the private, associative and institutional players will finally take the right measure of our proposals and that we can now lay the foundations of a #MetaWeb together. They will undoubtedly attract the attention and participation of all professional and private users!
It is the latter who are at the centre of their choices!
We, professionals, must take them into account and accompany them.
Our door is open, just show up and we will be happy to welcome you.
It is also open to all non-digital professionals, who through their sponsorship can contribute, and will be able to benefit from free/open source tools and content for their own needs.
Never forget that
« The world will not be destroyed by those who do evil, but by those who look on idly. » – From Machiavelli to Albert Einstein, and many others
« Utopia does not mean the unattainable but the unrealized. Yesterday’s utopia can become reality » – Theodore Monod
Contact us at : press at mezalab dot org
Follow us on: https://twitter.com/meza_lab
ANNEXES AND LINKS
Guillaume G / Bonob0h : With one foot in 3D since the 1980s, he visited Mont Beuvray one winter in 1992 and, faced with the emptiness of an excavation site, he imagined an augmented life of the past and present in interaction with distant animators and visitors. Too early. The web was not even really born. In 2004/5, he took up his ideas and created Meza in 2007.
François Aubriot : He created DotRiver, a free digital company based on remote virtual workstations, then recently joined other ventures. He is an Opensource software actor and has chaired the Ploss Auvergne Rhône-Alpes. He is secretary general of Meza.
Philippe Scoffoni : Former influential blogger of the free/opensource digital world, he quit his food job in 2009, to participate in Meza to mobilize free/opensource software actors. Facing the walls, it was a failure. He created OpenDSI, a company providing services in the field of free and opensource software. He is also the new President of Ploss Auvergne Rhône-Alpes.
MEZA in brief
Association created in 2007, MEZA is a laboratory of Research, Development and Digital Teaching. MEZA is particularly developing the notion of MetaWeb3D.
The basis is a free virtual reality environment, decentralized and accessible from a simple computer, a tablet, or glasses. The environment includes territories, constructions and objects. One is present there through an avatar, either a clone of oneself or an imaginary one. The avatar interacts with others and with virtual elements, as well as with reality, which in the future will be more and more interactive.
This base constitutes the foundation and the standard of a future Meta/Web3D. It is also above all the interface with everything that counts in relation to the digital world: Connected Objects, 3D Scanners/Printers, AI, BigData, SmartCities, Drones, Robots, Scientific Simulations, etc.
It is the whole that constitutes Meta/Web3D++, not in the framework of independent, incompatible platforms, but on the contrary in the framework of the unity of a virtual reality web.
The orientations and developments of MEZA are of two types:
- To bring together and improve the free/open source hardware and software already available, to make a logical and simple suite of uses for the greatest number of users and fields of activity.
- To design and instil initial uses / drivers in almost all domains to better orient users to make them their own, and then adapt them to their own needs.
To implement this MetaWeb/3D, Meza is developing an economic model based on the optimised sponsorship of skills or resources, combined with training. Our proposals also take into account actions combined with other sponsorship actions that companies already practice or wish to develop.
Thus, through the general interest in which they participate, companies also obtain the keys and shared means to achieve their own production needs, if necessary accompanied by service providers. Although these proposals are aimed at large groups and ETIs, T/SMEs/I are not neglected. In this case, it is more efficient through participation in the Lokale Hacktions, or through trade groups.
While waiting for the possible re-launch of our site, which is dormant for various reasons, here is our summary and presentation support in images: https://twitter.com/meza_lab/status/1452953808984739845
Summary links and others
Aurélie Jean – Why Facebook should stay out of the metaverse
Editorial by former senator René TRÉGOUËT: ARE WE GOING TO LET GAFAM GOVERN OUR VIRTUAL WORLDS: THE DRUG OF THE 21st CENTURY?
What is the metaverse, the internet of the future that Mark Zuckerberg dreams about? by Margaux Otter
The graphic of Philip Rosedal, « fallen » creator of SecondLife