The Big Tech War For The Metaverse Comes To Ethics – Quartz

The rush to overcome the metaverse boundary led to a $ 2 billion investment in Sony’s Epic Games and Kirkbi (which owns the Lego Group) this week. A few days before the announcement, Epic Games, the maker of Fortnite, also launched a partnership with Lego to design a metaverse community for kids. The primary goal of the collaboration is the mission to protect children by focusing on the privacy and well-being of the metaverse, and to provide children and their parents with the tools to take control of their experiences.

This emphasis on the protection and safety of children and other vulnerable groups has become an increasingly loud drumbeat around the topic of the metaverse as critics point to Facebook’s chaotic path.

On Monday, the same day Epic Games received its multi-billion dollar promotion, corporate activism group SumOfUs released “Risky Business, A Meta Investor Briefing”, (pdf) a report intended to force Meta to hire an independent group to study the “potential harm. to the psychological, civil, and human rights of a Metaverse.”

Investment firms are betting on trillions of potential revenue from the metaverse

While some remain skeptical of the metaverse concept itself, the major institutions in the tech, drug, gaming, and investment communities are already convinced that this is the next phase of the internet. In March, Citi (pdf) framed the metaverse opportunity for companies investing in space as a potential value of $ 13 trillion by 2030, while in December Goldman Sachs (pdf) predicted a value of $ 12 .5 trillion in the coming decades.

However, the risks of investing heavily in the future before it fully happens are already being felt by Meta. In February, the company suffered the biggest stock market crash in market history, losing $ 230 billion in value. The drop in value came after Meta’s most recent earnings report, which described slow revenue growth, raised investors ’concerns about the company’s spending on research and growth in the metaverse. than its present principal trees. .

Metaverse companies try to avoid public trust in Meta

In addition to concerns about Meta’s plans for the metaverse, there are almost constant revelations about how the company treats its users on Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp. The most recent damaging report from March detailed the company’s efforts to secretly turn the public back against rival social media giant TikTok. The news follows a whistleblower report last year accusing Meta of deleting research showing that Instagram is toxic to teenage girls.

“The board and shareholders should receive a report on a third -party assessment of potential psychological and civil harm and human rights in a metaverse,” reads the SumOfUs report, which cites $ 10 billion in spending. in metaverse dollars in metaverse projects in 2021., Epic Games and Lego include “three principles” of security in their metaverse launch announcement.

Meta dominates the negative metaverse chatter, but the risks for whatever society, especially its management of children, is real. Recognizing key concerns, Microsoft, Roblox, Niantic, and other metaverse leaders now incorporate ethics and security principles into the foundation of their efforts.

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