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Photo: Axios on HBO

Roblox CEO David Baszucki says in an "Axios on HBO" interview that he is confident that his company can keep kids safe even as adults and children mix in increasingly complex digital worlds.

Why it matters: Roblox is among the companies trying to create a Ready Player One-like "metaverse," while trying to avoid the dystopian future often associated with such virtual environments.

Baszucki said he takes a decidedly optimistic view on the future, backed up by a mix of human reviewers and algorithms to ensure people aren't bullied or exploited.

  • "Everything is reviewed by over 2,000 real life humans, in addition to all the cool ML and AI stuff," Baszucki said in an interview with Axios on HBO. "We do a lot of filtering and screening with text and communication as well."

The big picture: The metaverse is where Roblox sees its future, with Baszucki saying he sees opportunities in education and even for the workplace in Roblox's future.

  • Roblox isn't alone. In addition to Fortnite and Microsoft's Minecraft, Facebook said Friday it was buying Unit 2 Games, the studio behind Crayta —a Roblox-like platform, which Facebook plans to integrate it into its own gaming effort.

Baszucki said he thinks he has all the tools he needs to keep Roblox safe and doesn't need any new government interventions.

  • "If the government means laws or regulations, I think we hold ourself to a much higher standard," he said. "So I think our moral, ethical values would go way above that."

Go deeper

14 mins ago - Health

Transplants rebound from COVID lull

Expand chart
Data: United Network for Organ Sharing; Chart: Baidi Wang/Axios

More than 41,000 Americans underwent an organ transplant in 2021, a new record and a 6% increase from 2020, when the pandemic caused a slight slowdown of the life-saving procedures.

Why it matters: There are more transplant patients than ever, and they are particularly vulnerable to the worst effects of COVID because of their compromised immune systems — although vaccines provide important protection.

14 mins ago - World

Senators make bipartisan trip to Ukraine after divisive Russia vote

Ukrainian President Zelensky. Photo: John Thys/AFP via Getty Images

A bipartisan group of seven U.S. senators met Monday in Kyiv with President Volodymyr Zelensky and other top officials as Ukraine and the West brace for the possibility of an imminent Russian invasion.

Why it matters: The delegation is seeking to project a united front with Ukraine, following a divisive Senate vote on Thursday in which Democrats blocked sanctions Zelensky's government was seeking against the Russia-to-Germany Nord Stream 2 pipeline.

Updated 4 hours ago - Energy & Environment

Thousands without power as "hazardous" winter storm lashes East Coast

Satellite imagery of the Northeastern U.S. taken by NOAA on Jan. 17. Photo: NOAA

A major winter storm lashed much of the East Coast Sunday and Monday, causing widespread power outages and disrupting travel over the holiday weekend.

The latest: Authorities in North Carolina confirmed that two people died in a car crash and that they responded 600 vehicle accidents during the storm on Sunday, per the Washington Post.