The Metaverse continues to grow globally. It is attracting a lot of interest due to the opportunities it offers in terms of discovery, augmented reality and revenue diversification for companies. But not only. Its use also raises concerns about security concerns, lack of regulation and the 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 the Metaverse. But what can we learn from this universe? The Metaverse is a virtual and interconnected environment in which the social and economic elements reflect reality. Its users interact simultaneously with each other “on immersive devices and technologies, while interacting with digital assets and assets”. 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, the Metaverse has several advantages. Facilitates interaction between people. It improves the image of the brands and presents itself as an opportunity to broaden the horizons of companies. According to a Bloomberg Intelligence report, this new universe could weigh more than $ 800 billion by 2024. But behind these opportunities and benefits, several concerns fuel the debates.
At the end of December 2021, the Meta company was, for example, kidnapped by a user victim of harassment on its first virtual platform Horizon Words. And this case is not an isolated one. Beyond the harassment Lhe World Economic Forum (WEF), one of the most influential international institutions, expressed its concern “for the safety and anonymity of Metaverse users” during the Davos World Forum from 23 to 26 May.
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Even on the side of the States, one wonders. Thus, Omar Sultan Al Olama, UAE Minister of State for Artificial Intelligence, expressed his fears about the risk of murder on virtual platforms. “If I text on WhatsApp, it’s a text message, right? It might scare you, but to some extent it won’t create memories that will make you suffer from PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder). But if I come to the Metaverse, a realistic world […]that I kill you, and you see it, which takes you to a certain extreme where you have to respond 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), says that cyber harassment cases are nothing new in the virtual world. They have been around for a long time in the world of video games, in particular. “The concerns stem from the scale they have taken with the advent of the Metaverse,” acknowledges the expert. As for the need to regulate this universe, the question remains complex for Mr. Nadeau. Two reasons explain his reluctance. First, “each state has its own internet and data security regulations,” he explains. Secondly, “each operator operates on the basis of its own guidelines and internal regulations”.
Despite the two difficulties, there is a real need to think about solutions. As a guide, Philippe Nadeau suggests that, on the one hand, “each operator implements specific regulations” around this virtual world. On the other hand, that “each state defines a good regulatory policy” of the Metaverse. For example, he cites China, which has created its own Metaverse, or the United Arab Emirates, which is trying to punish the perpetrators of crimes committed by their avatars in the Metaverse.
These strategies could limit shifts in the Metaverse. For their part, the members of “Definition and Construction of the Metaverse” have called for the establishment of an adequate governance framework for the Metaverse. The latter would involve harmonization “between regulation and innovation”, while preserving “the privacy and safety of users”.
Faced with fears, the Meta product director, for his part, wanted to be reassuring: “There will probably be something like a classification system”, so that a parent or a young person can get an idea of the rules of the environment. to enter, “explained Chris Cox.