F8 2019 – A conference to reassure or to innovate?

On April 30 and May 1, 2019 was held the F8 conference, led by the Facebook group (Facebook, Instagram, Whatsapp, Oculus, among others) for developers and entrepreneurs who create products around the application. The conference was based on a major idea: the future is private, based on the notion of privacy, security and performance. This is more like an attempt to restore the image and regain trust.

Beyond the announcements on application developments, which basically means that Facebook wants to take part in your daily : friendly or amorous dating, buying or payment applications, the new immersive technologies AR, VR and AI were key elements of the conference.

The general idea is to make immersive technologies accessible to the general public, at least for AR and VR, both for users and developers. Under the slogan “the future is private”, the company announces that immersive technologies make it possible to offer users a private and personalized experience. How?


Image The future is private, according to Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg

Augmented reality the key to remote relationships?

The answer to every question is Portal. Facebook’s new product, which mainly allows you to watch videos with other Facebook users. The company announced that the tool will be linked to Messenger and Whatsapp, in line with the orientation towards privacy protection, thanks to end-to-end encryption (another story of trust?). The objective is to strengthen the bond between individuals regardless of the distance between them. You’re probably wondering how a remastered Skype relates to augmented reality. Portal offers augmented reality applications: games, children’s stories, story time. You will certainly not be able to hug your children or grandchildren, but at least you will be able to tell them “The 3 little pigs” by looking like the big bad wolf. All this is made possible by a high-performance intelligent camera that accurately determines where individuals are and what their movements are.

Spark AR, the new playground for designers and developers, a filter and effects studio for cameras available on Mac and Windows. This is a great opportunity to imagine and create filters, somewhat like Snapchat studio lens.

Virtual reality headsets, the future of your evenings with friends or your company?

Facebook has announced the launch of new VR helmets: the Oculus Rift S, an advanced version of the original and more powerful Oculus Rift. The real novelty is the Oculus Quest, a wireless headset. Actually, it’s innovative, this helmet uses the machine learning to design sensors inside the helmet to map the user’s environment as accurately as possible. The user no longer needs a computer or sensor. You put on the headset, take the controllers and go into a dynamic augmented reality environment, without getting caught in the cables, the combination of virtual reality and machine learning makes the Oculus Quest an easily portable headset.

One of the selling points is that the Oculus will redefine the way to interact with others. During the conference, the firm announced that this will make it possible to feel close even to people physically far away. The Oculus offers applications with virtual nightclubs, the possibility to watch a movie sitting on a virtual sofa with a loved one who is far away. In itself, this technology is fantastic, but don’t forget the pleasure of sharing something real!

Fortunately, Oculus is not limited to leisure, Oculus Business, the software suite will be developed to reach a larger number of companies and accelerate the integration of immersive technologies into the business world. It will be possible, for example, to hold meetings in virtual reality, view industrial parts, manage warehouses. A new proof of the future of immersive technologies in the business ecosystem.

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Image courtesy Facebook

Artificial intelligence, future web policing?

The second day of the F8 conference presented the prospects for the evolution and combination of immersive technologies and raised questions in terms of security, privacy and ethics. The main topic was the use of artificial intelligence to improve security on Facebook or augmented and virtual reality experiences.

How to filter unwanted content on Facebook? How can Portal be so accurate? How to take into account skin tones, age, gender, voice, dialect to create a realistic avatar and design a personalized immersive experience, without discrimination?How to improve dynamic experiences in augmented reality? How to keep Facebook tool users safe, from simple photo sharing, to buying, to video calls, games, dating module? All these questions have been answered thanks to artificial intelligence and machine learning.

Facebook’s line of argument, which was based on the distinction of private space such as the living room and the central square of the city, to respond to scandals, raised many ethical and practical questions. In the coming months, we will see if Facebook will succeed in getting out of these scandals thanks to these pretty promises and making these immersive technologies accessible to both developers and users.

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