Virtual reality technology has taken a step forward with its recent use in a Colombian court hearing, marking a new era for legal proceedings.

According to a report by Mat Di Salvo for Decrypt, Colombian lawmakers have recently held one of the first court hearings in the world using virtual reality technology provided by Meta, the parent company of Facebook.

The two-hour hearing saw lawyers don virtual headsets and participate in the meeting as computer-generated avatars. The event was streamed live on YouTube and marked the first full virtual hearing held by Colombian lawmakers. The meeting was reportedly a success, and those in attendance praised using information technology to expedite judicial proceedings.

However, not all those who tuned into the stream thought using virtual avatars was appropriate, with some viewers feeling that it took away from the seriousness of the hearing. While hearings using Meta’s technology have taken place elsewhere, Colombia’s use of Horizon Workrooms to conduct a virtual court hearing represents a landmark moment in the technology’s use.

Virtual meetings and court hearings became more common in 2020 as the COVID-19 pandemic forced professionals to switch to video conferencing technology like Zoom to conduct business. While some entertaining incidents, like the Texas lawyer who accidentally became a kitten during a video call, were reported, the virtual court hearing in Colombia marks a significant milestone in using virtual reality technology for serious purposes.

Despite Meta’s virtual reality division losing significant money in Q4 2022, the company’s CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, has pledged to continue investing in the technology, stating that the metaverse will be a significant part of the company’s technological roadmap.

While it remains to be seen whether the technology will become a significant revenue stream for Meta, the success of the virtual court hearing in Colombia suggests that virtual reality technology may have significant potential in the legal sector and beyond.

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