Facebook has been under a lot of fire recently due to its lack of respect for privacy. From listening in on our conversations to judging our political views based on our likes and shares, the social media company has breached its responsibilities more than once in recent months. Many young people have boycotted the social media site altogether because they felt like they were being watched.
Now, in an attempt to get back on everyone’s good side, Facebook has revealed several plans for future changes on their site.
Among these is a feature called “VR Memories”, which won’t exactly put people at ease. In fact, it feels just as invasive as everything else that Facebook has done.
The “VR memories” feature is essentially the second edition of those “time-hop” updates that Facebook puts on your wall.
The difference is that, instead of just showing you what pictures you posted a year ago, Facebook shows you your photos through a virtual rendition of your own home.
How does Facebook know what your house looks like? Good question. Apparently, the site will create these virtual spaces through a technique called “photogammetry”.
“Photogrammetry” compiles all of your photos together, and uses this data to figure out where everything is in relation to one another. Essentially, the program can look at 2D images from your home and use artificial intelligence to fill in the blank spaces.
No one is quite sure how accurate these renditions of our homes are going to be. (After all, how much can you gather from just a few pictures?) But the idea feels creepy. I know that I don’t like the idea of Facebook using my pictures to create a blueprint of my house—even if the end result is innacurate.
Luckily, from what we’ve seen, these VR memories aren’t exactly detailed. They look more like pointillism paintings than actual houses.
If you watch the video, you’ll see that there’s something kind of dream-like about the entire experience. As you move your cursor around the room, the little dots in the space move to create the next room. The sole focus of each room is the picture from your photo album. Everything else is blurred out- much like the periphery of a memory.
Facebook’s announcement has received mixed reactions. Some people find the idea intriguing—(perhaps this is the jumping point for actually being able to visualize each other’s memories!) Others find the idea just plain weird—(These blurry images look nothing like my house!).
As for me, I find the whole thing a little unsettling. I wish that Facebook would just back off and let us look at our pictures on our own time. I have a pretty vivid memory—*thank you very much*—I don’t need Facebook trying to render these for me.