Meta’s Potential Advertising Surge: Synergizing Virtual Reality and Artificial Intelligence

Meta Staring At Advertising Boost on Merging Virtual Reality and Artificial Intelligence

Merging virtual reality and artificial intelligence could be the next frontier for companies like Meta eyeing valuable consumer data for advertising purposes. On the other hand, a merger of the two could present a privacy nightmare that could plunge companies into a massive tussle with regulators.

Virtual Reality AI Combination

A recent study analyzing people wearing virtual reality headsets using machine learning models has uncovered damning revelations that raise serious concerns about privacy protection. By analyzing how people moved while wearing VR headsets, AI-powered applications were able to accurately predict their height, weight, age, and marital states, among other things.

The fact that the combination was able to predict finer details raises the risk of the technologies being used to guess personal data, which could present significant risks of falling into the wrong hands. The two technologies being able to pick out a single person from more than 50,000 in seconds in one of the studies by the University of California underscores how powerful the technology has become.

In the studies, researchers used a machine learning model to analyze data uploaded by virtual reality headsets. Some of the data used included eye and hand movements. Some of the things that the models were able to identify with ease included the age of the people, gender, ethnicity, and country. The fact that the technology could also identify the level of income or disability status, health status, and things like political preference raises serious questions on the privacy front.

Meta Advertising Boost

On the other hand, it is a major development for social networking giants like Meta and Google that rely on such data to power their advertising business. Meta Platform is one of the big players in Virtual reality, having already unveiled its line of headsets. Likewise, the company is betting big on artificial intelligence. By combining virtual reality and AI, the company stands to take its advertising business to new heights.

For instance, gaining valuable insights on the gender, age, health status, and political status of users in its networking apps could come in handy in running more targeted advertising campaigns. For the longest time, the social networking app has been relying on machine learning to access valuable data that allows it to know more about people before targeting them with ads.

However, the company could come under immense scrutiny from regulators and privacy advocates if it is determined it has access to sensitive personal data that need authorization. In 2021, the company found itself at a crossroads after Apple changed its privacy policy. The move limited the amount of data that Meta could access on iPhones to carry out targeted advertising.

Apple policy changes resulted in Meta missing out on $10 billion worth of advertising revenues on iOS devices. The shortfall forced the company to focus on AI that’s helping it predict content and ads that people want to see therefore fuelling its advertising empire.

While Facebook has been running ads on VR headsets, it maintains it does not use data processed and stored on the devices to target ads. Despite the explanation, the company remains under scrutiny partly because of its access to sensitive personal data.

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