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HomeVPN2022 ExpressVPN Scholarship Winner | ExpressVPN Weblog

2022 ExpressVPN Scholarship Winner | ExpressVPN Weblog

We’re excited to announce the winner of the ExpressVPN Way forward for Privateness Scholarship 2022: Razvan Ciuca, a scholar at Université de Montréal, Canada. Congratulations!

This 12 months, our essay immediate requested college students: If you happen to have been writing the principles for the metaverse, how would you guarantee it have been free, open, and protected? 

We acquired over 1,200 entries tackling the subject, with loads of exploration into completely different sides of the metaverse, from decentralization and DAOs to authorities laws surrounding completely different metaverse environments.

We selected to award the $5,000 scholarship prize to Razvan’s essay, which mentioned the inevitability of a compromise between the three traits, and the way he would prioritize them. You may learn his essay on our scholarship web page.

The competitors was powerful, however we selected 5 runners-up who additionally offered well-crafted, compelling arguments. Every runner-up wins a 12-month ExpressVPN subscription. They’re:

  • Mihir Salil Gokhale – College of Texas at Austin, TX, U.S.
  • Harry Warne – Aberystwyth College, Wales, UK
  • Rana Dubauskas – Vanderbilt College, TN, U.S.
  • Riley Choquette – The Open College, UK
  • Michael Wieder – Princess Anne Excessive College, VA, U.S. 

Q&A with our winner

We spoke to Razvan about his profitable essay, the privateness measures he takes, and the way he plans to make use of his diploma to assist others when he graduates. 

Have you ever personally ventured into the metaverse? When you’ve got, what are your ideas on it?

I’ve not ventured into something that I might contemplate “metaverse correct” to this point (certainly defining the phrase “metaverse” at this second in time is fairly arduous). I’ve actually tried on a number of VR headsets to see what they have been like, however most of my impressions of the present metaverse come from watching individuals on YouTube making an attempt the social options of the Quest Professional just lately launched by Meta. From these accounts, the present metaverse appears to me extremely empty and compelled. Most of what I see is bored individuals speaking to different bored individuals, like a type of higher-tech Omegle. 

Your essay argues that whereas compromise of all three qualities (freedom, openness, security) are vital, you weighed openness as a very powerful high quality. Why?

Openness looks like the facet that’s hardest to alter as soon as the foundations are laid down. If a system begins out unsafe, there aren’t actually monetary incentives that make it keep unsafe sooner or later, so whereas it’d take a number of work to make it protected afterward, you don’t have too many clever adversaries with a number of sources opposing that aim from inside. And whereas I can see that there are moneyed pursuits who need to preserve the web unfree, it’s nothing in comparison with the quantity of energy going in direction of sustaining unopenness. Home windows won’t ever change into open, nor will macOS. The complete energy of trillion-dollar market-cap corporations goes in direction of making certain that these items of software program keep closed. If the metaverse begins out closed, I see no hope of it ever changing into open. That’s why openness is crucial on the preliminary design stage in a manner that the 2 different qualities aren’t a lot. 

If the metaverse begins out closed, I see no hope of it ever changing into open. That’s why openness is crucial on the preliminary design stage.

What do you suppose the primary challenges are to creating the web a extra decentralized house?

The primary problem might be developing with benefits of decentralization that standard individuals truly care about. If there are two variations of Tiktok, one centralized and one decentralized, however the centralized one is 1 p.c extra intuitive, snappy, or addictive, the centralized one wins. Individuals simply don’t care sufficient about decentralization for its personal sake to make the change, regular individuals can’t even actually outline what “decentralized” means. Any product that has to record “decentralized” in its record of options in an try to excuse itself for a poor consumer expertise has already misplaced. In all honesty, I don’t see the web ever changing into extra decentralized than it’s at present.

What do you see as the most important impediment to creating the metaverse broadly obtainable to the plenty?

The most important impediment is determining what drawback the metaverse solves. A secondary one is making the headsets lighter and smaller, the pixel density greater and the field-of-view wider, however these will predictably come after Meta dumps a number of extra tens of billions into their {hardware} division. The preliminary drawback of “What the hell do I truly do in right here?” is way more necessary. The killer app will virtually actually be a very strong VRMMORPG, it must be one thing ok for many youngsters to ask for a VR headset for christmas, like they do with smartphones and computer systems. 

Absolutely interactive AI-generated pornography would additionally work to get the youngsters , although few individuals will admit in well mannered firm to that purpose, so there would additionally have to be an app to function cowl, for the sake of believable deniability. That final possibility would little doubt additionally horribly exacerbate just about all social issues we at present have. Basically, all of the paths the place I see the metaverse changing into broadly obtainable contain making individuals hooked on one thing they’ll solely get from the metaverse. I sadly don’t suppose the entire “work from throughout the metaverse” factor shall be profitable.

All of the paths the place I see the metaverse changing into broadly obtainable contain making individuals hooked on one thing they’ll solely get from the metaverse.

What are you at present finding out and what do you hope to pursue sooner or later?

I’m finding out Math & CS at Université de Montréal proper now, after that I’m going to graduate college to review AI, most likely into deep studying concept or deep reinforcement studying. Any modifications that the metaverse brings to our society shall be a small ember subsequent to the Big Blazing Supernova that the appearance of human-level AI shall be, and I can’t see any higher technique to spend my life than to make sure that the supernova doesn’t burn all I care about in its path.


Are privateness and digital freedom subjects that matter to you? Contemplate getting into subsequent 12 months’s essay competitors for the ExpressVPN Way forward for Privateness Scholarship! Particulars to come back in early 2023.



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