The metaverse and its ethical considerations » Tech T100

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The thousands of articles that the development of the concept of the metaverse is generating since Mark Zuckerberg decided to try to talk less about all the bad things about his company changing the name It is something that attracts a lot of attention, especially if we take into account that everything they tell us that we are going to be able to do in the metaverse are things that we have been able to do for a long time in applications such as immersive video games, or like in that Second Life of the year 2003 in which I even gave a conference.

doWhat is a metaverse or virtual world and why should we care?? For those who have allegedly opened the box of thunder with a dream of corporate redefinition, the metaverse is neither more nor less than a dream of all-power: create a virtual world, manage it exactly as you have managed your social network for years, and of course, fill it with advertising. If we think of the hell of toxicity, falsehood and problems that the development of Facebook in the hands of a manager lacking any basic ethical principle has caused, it is easy to understand what his metaverse would beand easier still to assimilate why the consumer protection authorities want to talk to the company to find out how will you protect your users of some problems that, in fact, have already started. A virtual world is neither better nor worse than another non-virtual world, its problems are similar to those of this one, and if its possible solutions are in the hands of someone without principles, we know perfectly well what happens.

How will a metaverse managed by Facebook evolve? Perhaps it would be interesting to take into account some basic principles that Second Life already enunciated at the timeand above all, one of them, that Joe Miller, VP of Platforms and Technological Developments at Linden Labs, said at the time: that the metaverse cannot succeed as long as a single company controls the grid.

Microsoft, for example, has a completely different view: a metaverse focused mainly on business uses, a place “where you go to do specific things”, not one “where you stay”. Of course, being a company with great experience in augmented reality with its HoloLensand knowing how Mark Zuckerberg spends it, Microsoft has already met over seventy HoloLens project workers who have left the company, forty of whom have left to join Meta.

A similar vision is that of Apple, which apparently has already advanced the presentation of its devices related to virtual and augmented reality: does not intend to create a metaverse as a destination, but a platform where other developers can offer their value propositions. In this sense, the device is not considered as something that you are going to take a long time, but as a place to go to on time for some things, be it a game, content or a communicative experience. But all this while managing the concept of immersion in a reasonable manner, without trying to create a place where people “escape” and where, as Meta intends, they generate more income for the company the more time they spend. If someone does not see the problem that a company with a drug name manages such a development, it means that they have not understood anything.

The fundamental thing in a supposedly immersive development is how to manage the ethical considerations that it will undoubtedly generate. And when we get to that point, it is absolutely clear to me which person and which company could never come up with such a task well.

I was also in the SER talking about this topic.

This article is also available in English on my Medium page, «Will Mark Zuckerberg address the ethical issues related to the metaverse?«

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