The Metaverse continues to grow around the world. It has attracted a lot of interest because of the opportunities it offers in terms of discovery, augmented reality and revenue diversification for businesses. But not only that. Its use also raises concerns about security issues, lack of regulation and the exclusion of a category of people without access to internet connection and digital skills, among others.
(Cio Mag)-After Facebook announced the change of its identity to “Meta”, several companies have recently shown interest in Metaverse. But what can we learn from this universe? The Metaverse 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 objects”. This is explained by the very recent global multi-stakeholder initiative at the World Economic Forum in Davos, “Defining and building the metaverse”, which aims to share strategies around this technology.
Hazards of harassment and security, the other side of the coin
In fact, the Metaverse has many advantages. It speeds up interaction between people. It enhances the image of brands and presents itself as an opportunity to broaden perspectives for companies. According to a Bloomberg Intelligence report, this new universe could weigh in at more than 800 billion dollars by 2024. But behind these opportunities and advantages, a number of concerns are fueling debates.
At the end of December 2021, the company Meta, for example, was hijacked by a user victim of harassment on the first virtual platform Horizon Words. And this case is not isolated. Except for Harassment IThe World Economic Forum (WEF), one of the most influential international institutions, expressed, during the world forum in Davos, from May 23 to 26, its concern “about the security and anonymity of users of Metaverse “.
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Also on the States side, an amazing one. Therefore, Omar Sultan Al Olama, Minister of State for Artificial Intelligence of the United Arab Emirates, expressed his fears about the risk of killing virtual platforms. “If I send a WhatsApp message, it’s a text, isn’t it? It can scare you, but, to some extent, it doesn’t create memories that will cause you to suffer from PTSD (post-traumatic stress.” disorder) .But when I come to the Metaverse, it’s a realistic world […]that I killed you, and you see it, that brings you to a serious point where you have to respond aggressively, because everyone agrees that some things are unacceptable, ”he told CNBC.
Regulation is needed
What to do in the face of rising concerns? Philippe Nadeau, general manager of DigiHub Shawinigan (Quebec-Canada), confirmed that cyber harassment cases are not new in the virtual world. They have been around for a long time in the world of video games, especially. “Concerns stem from the extent to which they have gotten into the Metaverse”, the expert acknowledged. As for the need to control this universe, this question remains complicated for Mr. Nadeau. Two reasons explain his skepticism. First, “each state has its own internet and data security regulations,” he explained. Second, “each operator operates based on its own guidelines and internal regulations”.
Despite the two difficulties, there is a need to think about solutions. As a leader, Philippe Nadeau suggests that, in part, “each operator puts specific regulations” around this virtual world. On the other hand, that “each State defines a good regulatory policy” in the Metaverse. As an example, he cites China, which has created its own Metaverse, or United Arab Emirates, which looks at how perpetrators of crimes committed by their Metaverse avatars are punished.
These strategies can limit Metaverse slippages. For their part, members of “Defining and building the metaverse” pleaded for the establishment of an adequate governance framework for the Metaverse. The latter will include harmonizing “between regulation and innovation”, while preserving “the privacy and security of users”.
Faced with the fears, the Meta product manager, for his part, wanted to assure: “Maybe there is something like a classification system”, so that a parent or young person has an idea of the rules around. they come in, ”Chris Cox explained.