The Metaverse continues to grow worldwide. It’s garnering a lot of interest because of the opportunities it offers for businesses in terms of discovery, augmented reality, and revenue diversification. But not only. Its use also raises concerns about security issues, a lack of regulation, and the exclusion of a category of people who lack access to an internet connection and digital skills, among other things.
(Cio Mag) – After Facebook announced its impersonation to “Meta,” many companies have expressed interest in the Metaverse lately. But what can we learn from this universe? The Metaverse is a virtual, connected environment where social and economic elements reflect reality. Its users simultaneously “interact on immersive devices and technologies while interacting with digital assets and goods.” This is explained by the World Economic Forum’s recent global multi-stakeholder initiative 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. It facilitates interaction between people. It improves the image of brands and offers companies a broadening of their horizons. 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 are fueling debate.
For example, at the end of December 2021, the company Meta was seized on its first virtual platform Horizon Words by a user who was a victim of harassment. And this case is not unique. Beyond Harassment IThe World Economic Forum (WEF), one of the most influential international institutions, has expressed concern “over the security and anonymity of users of the Metaverse” during the World Forum in Davos May 23-26.
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One also asks oneself on the part of the states. Omar Sultan Al Olama, Minister of State for Artificial Intelligence in the United Arab Emirates, expressed his fears about the risk of murder on virtual platforms. “When I send a message on WhatsApp, it’s a text, right? It can terrorize you, but to a certain extent it won’t create memories that will cause you to suffer from PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder). But when I get to the metaverse, a realistic world […]for me to murder you and you see it takes 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 cyber harassment in the virtual world are not new. Especially in the world of video games, they have been around for a long time. “The concerns come from the scale they have taken with the advent of the metaverse,” acknowledges the expert. As for the need to regulate this universe, this question remains complex for Mr. Nadeau. Two reasons explain his reluctance. First, “every state has its own internet and data security regulations,” he explains. Second, “each operator acts on the basis of its own policies and internal regulations”.
Despite the two difficulties, solutions must indeed be considered. As an indication, Philippe Nadeau suggests that, on the one hand, “each operator should adopt specific regulations” in this virtual world. On the other hand, that “every state defines a good regulatory policy” of the Metaverse. As an example, he cites China, which has created its own Metaverse, or the United Arab Emirates, which are examining how to punish the perpetrators of crimes committed by their avatars in the Metaverse.
These strategies could limit deviations in the metaverse. For their part, the members of Defining and Building the Metaverse advocated the establishment of an appropriate governance framework for the Metaverse. The latter would entail harmonization “between regulation and innovation” while preserving “user privacy and security”.
For his part, given the fears, Meta’s product director wanted to reassure: “There will probably be something like a classification system” so that parents or young people can get an idea of the rules in the environment they are going to follow,” explained Chris Cox.
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