Metaverse continues to grow globally. It attracts great interest because of the opportunities it offers in terms of discovery, augmented reality and diversification of revenue for companies. But not only. Its use also raises concerns about security issues, lack of regulation and exclusion of a category of people who do not have access to internet connection and digital skills, among others.
(Cio Mag) – After Facebook announced its identity change to “Meta”, many companies have recently shown interest in Metaverse. But what can we learn from this universe? The meta-verse is a virtual, interconnected environment where social and economic elements reflect reality. Its users simultaneously interact with each other “on immersive devices and technologies while interacting with digital assets and goods”. This is explained by the very recent global multi-stakeholder initiative of the World Economic Forum in Davos, “Defining and building the metaverse”, which aims to share strategies around this technology.
Harassment and security risks, the other side of the coin
In fact, Metaverse has several benefits. It facilitates interaction between people. It enhances the brand’s image and presents itself as an opportunity to expand the horizons of companies. According to a report by Bloomberg Intelligence, this new universe could weigh more than $ 800 billion by 2024. But behind these possibilities and benefits, several concerns fuel the debates.
In late December 2021, for example, the company Meta was seized by a user who was harassed on its first virtual platform Horizon Words. And this case is not isolated. In addition to harassment IThe World Economic Forum (WEF), one of the most influential international institutions, expressed during the World Forum in Davos from 23 to 26 May its concern “for the safety and anonymity of users of Metaverse”.
also read : What economic model for Metaverset?
On the part of the states, too, one wonders. Thus, Omar Sultan Al Olama, Prime Minister of Artificial Intelligence in the United Arab Emirates, expressed his fear of the risk of murder on virtual platforms. “If I send a message on WhatsApp, it’s a text, no? It may terrorize you, but to some extent it will not create memories that will make you suffer from PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder). But if I come to Metaverset, a realistic world […]that I’m murdering you and you see it, it leads you to a certain extreme where you have to react aggressively because everyone agrees that some things are unacceptable, ”he told CNBC.
Need for regulation
What to do in the face of growing concerns? Philippe Nadeau, general manager of DigiHub Shawinigan (Quebec – Canada), confirms that cases of cyberbullying are not new in the virtual world. They have been around for a long time in the world of video games, in particular. “The concerns come from the scale they have taken with the advent of Metaverse,” the expert acknowledges. As for the need to regulate this universe, this issue remains complex for Mr Nadeau. Two reasons explain his reluctance. First, “each state has its own Internet and data security regulations,” he explains. Second, “each operator operates on the basis of its own guidelines and internal rules”.
Despite the two difficulties, there is a real need to think about solutions. As a leader, Philippe Nadeau suggests that “each operator on the one hand introduced specific rules” around this virtual world. On the other hand, that “every state defines a good regulatory policy” for Metaverse. As an example, he cites China, which has created its own Metaverse, or the United Arab Emirates, which is looking at how to punish the perpetrators of crimes committed by their avatars in the Metaverset.
These strategies can limit slippages in Metaverset. The members of “Defining and building the metaverse”, for their part, called for the establishment of an appropriate governance framework for Metaverse. The latter would involve harmonization “between regulation and innovation”, while preserving “users’ privacy and security”.
Faced with fear, the product director at Meta, for his part, wanted to be reassuring: “Something is probably coming in the direction of a classification system”, so that a parent or young person can get an impression of the rules of the environment they are entering, “explained Chris Cox.