Looking at the current rate of technological advancements, Metaverse is an inevitable phenomenon that aims to converge both the physical and virtual worlds.
As we prepare for the era of Web 3.0, it is essential that we sell the idea of Metaverse as a solution for all existing problems in the physical world. It needs to prioritize inclusivity and reflect the population and its demands.
The lack of physical presence removes barriers of discrimination based on race, gender, physical and mental disabilities, age, sexual orientation, and so on. This is a chance to diversify and become inclusive of all kinds of ideas and talent.
Reflection of our Culture and Identity in the Metaverse
Metaverse will reflect the real world in terms of its societal and cultural values. We need to ensure that the problems already existing in the real world are not carried into this virtual world.
Instead, Metaverse should be programmed to overcome these shortcomings and make it a comparatively safer place for users. In addition to that, we need assurance that our data is not being misused or weaponized against us.
Another aspect that will be new in the Metaverse is that people will have two cultural profiles- one that is their ‘real’ one and the other their ‘virtual’ one. Using Metaverse will make transporting back and forth from the real world to the virtual one and vice versa quite seamless. This may come with the loss of identity as well as losing attachment with the real self.
Who Will Ensure Policing in the Metaverse?
Harassment and bullying have become almost synonymous in the gaming sector. Games like Fortnite, Roblox, Minecraft, among many others, have their own game universes where the players can build their own avatars to represent themselves in the virtual space. Here, any misbehavior is difficult to track as compared to the real world. Unwanted touching and inappropriate gestures may make it a terrifying place to step into.
Female users in the Metaverse have complained about having such uncomfortable experiences. We all are aware that sexual harassment is not restricted to just being physical; cyberbullying in the online mode has an equally terrifying effect. In a VR mode, the sensory experience of the user in the virtual world is heightened, which makes such experiences more traumatizing than in an online mode.
As we get closer to achieving a more reflective virtual world, along with focusing on creating photorealistic avatars and incorporating real-time, we also need to focus on real-world problems being reflected. The Metaverse offers us a hyper-real augmented world for us to co-exist in; it should ensure that this coexistence is policed properly and the aggressors are not escaping unscathed from behind a computer screen.
Building a Diverse Workforce and Career in the Metaverse
Without any doubt, the Metaverse will offer a chance at a global work environment. Here, talent and information will be put on the pedestal. Virtual meetings, organizations, presentations, debates, and so on will revolutionize the current workforce. It provides better access to opportunities in career and education; health, fashion, retail, real estate- Metaverse has a multi-sectoral reach. This also means that the workforce is enabled to work from anywhere, which will result in a more engaged, diverse, productive, and undoubtedly challenging shift in all sectors.
The only barrier here is the availability of technological resources and tools such as a VR headset, Wi-fi, an active source of online platforms, among many others. More than that, we need the general population to be equally aware of this technological advancement and that this is a very possible future; this stresses the need to introduce this concept in schools and colleges.
The whole community should be able to share the same foundational opinions on this technological progress and should at least have an understanding of the future we aim to build. We should also educate them about all possible career options in this field-3D artists, VR architects, coders, graphic and fashion designers, content creators, and so on. All brands and companies are jumping on the Metaverse bandwagon to capitalize or invest in a future with a fully functional Metaverse.
Metaverse- as a Reflection of the Users and Their Needs
Even though the idea of Metaverse provides a huge opportunity for companies to monetize, the needs of the community should be put first. Maintaining a growing and vibrant economy in the Metaverse is essential, but what is more essential is to protect the consumers, workers, and enablers in the process.
By merging society and technology, we have an opportunity to overcome the problems of any unconscious bias or under-representation of communities or individuals by pre-programming proper structure and coding into the software.
In 2021, the 2-D virtual experience revolved around the phrases-‘Camera on’ or ‘camera off.’
A full-fledged 3-D virtual experience will entail a lot more than just that. The whole idea of Metaverse lingers about the digital blending of our society and culture into a virtual world.
It comes with its pros and cons- it is our responsibility as responsible and aware users to make informative decisions and participate actively in creating possibly a more inclusive alternate world for ourselves.