Living in the future
Do you want to live in a metaverse? If yes, what is the first thing you are excited to do with a pair of glasses? If not, what are you most afraid of in that new virtual world?
Virtual reality superimposes a computer-generated image over a user's perspective of the real world, which will be key in bringing the metaverse to life. It could be used in the metaverse to immerse users in an alternate world. Although the technology is still being refined, businesses such as Meta claim to be developing and upgrading these gadgets.
I believe the metaverse caters to a surface-level awareness of social interconnection but falls short of providing the depth of emotional connection that we crave. The metaverse has the potential to increase our connectivity while diminishing our satisfaction from being linked. Metaverse is only a developing 'virtual' concept that will create a fictitious universe that is entirely at odds with reality. The rapid rise of social media has had detrimental consequences. If Metaverse adopts a growth-first strategy, it may exacerbate these issues.
Toxic conduct in virtual reality and gaming is nothing new. However, as Meta and other large firms make the metaverse their platform in the future, the problems are likely to be amplified by the companies' global influence. Harassment, assaults, bullying, and hate speech are all too common in virtual reality games that are part of the metaverse, yet there are few ways to easily report it. In the metaverse, bad behavior can be far worse than today's online abuse and bullying. That's because virtual reality immerses users in an all-encompassing digital environment in which unwelcome digital touches can feel real, and the sensory experience is amplified. Virtual worlds have the potential to be extremely freeing.
Cyberspace has promised to make us all equal from the start, allowing us to be judged not by our physical appearance or limitations, but by what's within our heads, by how we want to be regarded. The virtual worlds of video games and the early internet offer a refuge from the real world's disparities and injustices. It's upsetting to see the tendrils of big tech and social media reaching out to locations that have served as safe havens for me and millions of others.
Trying to moderate something with that much freedom can either result in full chaos, in which everyone is free to do whatever they want, and racism, sexism, abuse, and other forms of oppression are rampant, or in extreme moderation, in which no one is allowed to do anything. They will continue to happen if there are people who would hide behind their computer screens to avoid moral accountability.
Although virtual reality encounters tied to the metaverse's future promise are still limited, accusations of sexual harassment and assault are growing more regular. These experiences have fostered aggressive conduct from people who feel shielded by the anonymity and distance given by the virtual environment, just as they have in other connected environments, such as the communication channels of online games.
We've all seen the news about how cyberbullying impacts social media users and how sites like Facebook and Twitter struggle to prevent abuse. It's one of the main reasons why some people prefer not to use social media at all. Harassment in such a digital realm may feel scarier and more disturbing because it is more immersive. People should remember that sexual harassment does not have to be physical; it can also be verbal or virtual.