Almost 3 out of 4 people believe that the metaverse poses significant risks and major challenges to our society.
Like all disruptive innovations, the technical and ethical issues are at the heart of the concerns. If it was long and difficult to integrate vigilance on digital social networks, this time we have the opportunity to think about user security from the design of the metaverse. The actors of the ecosystem, like the users, have the responsibility to build a metaverse where it is good to live and where the shortcomings of our modern society will be mitigated and not exacerbated.
The axiom “code is law” reflects the difficulties we risk encountering in the metaverse. In other words, the code defines the rules of the game, what is technically possible will be done by the users. This includes any conceivable malicious act. The space will be more dangerous if the code allows it or not. The traditional offenses apply to the virtual universe, but the conditions of execution are quite different.
Note that almost 40% of users suffer from cybernetosis: a virtual reality disease that results in nausea and dizziness. Technological development will have to find countermeasures to reduce this phenomenon. Otherwise, the metaverse would no longer be accessible to everyone.
The interoperability of technologies and virtual universes is a colossal task. It’s hard to think in the short term that a single metaverse would make sharing NFTs and transitioning from one universe to another compatible. If some interests are convergent, others are divergent. At present, it is difficult to know whether the major players will have the will to work in symbiosis. Meta seems to be open to creating an ecosystem around the metaverse, but we don’t know what that will be in the long term.
Reports warning of anomalies linked to the metaverse have multiplied in recent months. Clearly, the security and ethics necessary to manage these spaces are partially beyond our capabilities. Once again, we will gradually move forward to make the metaverse a place of trust.
The virtual reality headset has surveillance cameras that make it possible to track both the user’s eyes and his surroundings. Videos from inside our accommodations (private and professional) may therefore be collected and accessed by hackers or malicious organizations.
Sensory marketing could use eye dilation data to analyze the reaction to a product and use it for ultra-personalized marketing. Emotions are a vector of action and very often of purchase. However, it is possible to lose user control. The latter, overwhelmed by emotions, would make an irrational expenditure that endangers his financial health (e-casino, virtual land, etc.).
The play-to-earn mechanism has already shown its dangers with players bankrupted for owning a lost or simply devalued virtual artifact. This type of mechanism leads users into an addiction loop where the rewards constantly encourage them to start over and spend time and money on the platform. This type of mechanism must be checked to avoid deviations.
Many cases of cryptocurrency theft have been identified. It is important to specify that if the underlying technology (the blockchain) is very difficult to hack, this is not the case for the services to manage your assets, investments or other Dapps whose operation would not be completely secure. . Most of the time, on exchange platforms, your private keys are stored there. Your values are therefore likely to be hacked.
Cases of aggression and violence have been reported on the metaverse. Inappropriate remarks, cases of cyberbullying and even rape have been exposed. The trauma level of this type of situation is poorly assessed to date and we do not know the consequences of this type of action.
The environmental footprint of a virtual universe such as the metaverse is a topic of extreme importance. The power consumption in our blockchains is highly variable. Some are cheap in terms of energy, while others are energy intensive. It seems inconceivable to create a virtual universe that destroys the future of our planet at the time when a consciousness is just beginning.
As with previous versions of the web, there is again a risk of a digital divide. Inclusion has been a battle that Time Berbers Lee has been fighting for years. It will again be necessary to ensure that the metaverse is made accessible to all, to continue to democratize access to the Internet and to give the poorest access to the technologies so that they can be properly accommodated in the virtual universe. These actions only make sense if they are carried out in the context of health support for underprivileged populations. Health and education remain priorities, but may also be affected by the arrival of the metaverse.
The handling of false information, the prevention against radicalization, the fight against virtual armies are also battles that must now be fought in the metaverse.
Questions of human identity
Today, man has a digital twin. We know this concept from manufacturers who model and replicate in real time the behavior of parts on a computer to predict maintenance, fatigue and the risk of breakage.
Man has put his fellow men into equations. Without even analyzing our brain waves, professionals and in particular the web giants have precise and reliable models of our behavior (eg Kosinski algorithms on Facebook, segmentation, prediction algorithms, 360° customer vision).
In the case of Facebook, Kosinski states that with 10 likes, the algorithm knows you better than your colleagues. At 100, he knows you better than your family. And with 230, he knows you better than your spouse. (QR code to find out more)
By pulling the strings, we can imagine that with each of our actions, our twin adapts and is enriched by our online behavior. Tomorrow it will be possible to track the position and level of dilation of our eyes to identify our emotions behind a virtual helmet.
Quantum physics has taught us that entangled particles are connected to the point that they have dependent states even if they are separated in space (this property is also exploited in the context of quantum computers, which promise the future of our communication). The particles are then said to be twins. Could our digital twins influence our behavior as if to control it like the quantum domain?
Man is digitizing himself by injecting with each new advance a little more of this natural reality onto silicon chips.
We use the phrase “Code is Law” to indicate that the program acts as a regulator. Everything the code allows will be considered by the actors integrating the metaverse, and everything the users will be able to do from a technical point of view will be done someday in the metaverse. Too often ethical, moral or legal issues are only offset by code updates.
Brand identity matters
Without even being present in the metaverse, brands must take certain measures to avoid future difficulties with their brand identity.
As a company that had no websites in the early 2000s, anyone can set up a domain for you and feed it bad data or use their prestige without your knowledge. . This is all the more dangerous as virtual currency circulates on WEB 3.0. It is therefore important to protect one’s place in this space.
It is recommended to register your ethereum domain name. The filing of a trademark for a .eth domain is not actually controlled. It is therefore possible that your brand can no longer access the privileged domain name. You can register a domain name at https://ens.domains/fr/. These can be used to store files (and therefore a website), but also as an identifier for your digital wallet.
Finally, make sure that the registration of your trademark relates to virtual products and services. This is to combat possible counterfeiting of digital products. Check teams 9, 35, 36, 42 in particular. If not, it may be important to do so quickly. You can see an overview of the contents of the 10th edition of the International Classification of Goods and Services for the Purpose of Registration of Trademarks.