Could the metaverse be dangerous?
We must not ignore the inevitability of misuse and abuse that follows the arrival of new technology.
Already, the world is tackling the ills of social networks, data stealing, privacy-violating algorithms, and misinformation campaigns exacerbated by deepfakes.
Unfortunately, hate speech, harassment, and cyberstalking are all inseparable parts of the advance of the Internet of Things.
Though the metaverse is still emerging, it is only bound to aggravate human dependence on social media and virtual lives.
Research shows that people increasingly hide behind anonymity and withdraw from real-life interactions.
There were already moral issues in play when Nina Jane Patel’s story of being sexually assaulted by avatars made headlines.
Additionally, there were reports that Meta was aware that virtual reality could be a “toxic environment”, especially for women and minorities.
The work of trying to combat harassment in cyberspace is already underway.
Innovative solutions to cope with trauma caused by the metaverse can only evolve with the technology itself.
However, it might be wise for humankind to maintain a healthy scepticism about the metaverse that is suddenly a part of our reality—virtual and otherwise.