Should it be regarded a serious crime that requires legal punishment if you’re “murdered” in the metaverse? This was one of the subjects that prominent company executives and international leaders discussed this week. The United Arab Emirates’ Minister for Artificial Intelligence was asked how governments can respond to the emergence of the metaverse during a panel discussion at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, this week. According to Omar Sultan Al Olama, international governments must discuss and agree on a slew of regulations and norms pertaining to this brave new world.
He cited the example of “terrorizing individuals in the metaverse” as an illustration of this. According to Al Olama, the metaverse’s realism might mean that severe behaviors in augmented reality, such as harassment or “murder,” could have a major psychological impact on a person in physical reality. There are no obvious solutions as to how to deal with this, but he feels it is a topic that must be addressed soon. “Is it text if I send you a WhatsApp message?” According to Al Olama. “It may terrify you, but it will not produce the memories that cause you to get PTSD [post-traumatic stress disorder] as a result of it.”
“However, if I come into the metaverse and it’s a genuine reality that we’re talking about in the future and I murder you, and you witness it, it pushes you to a point where you have to enforce strongly across the world because everyone agrees that certain things are wrong,” he continued. “A dialogue at the level of the UN, the ITU [International Telecommunication Union], or non-governmental entities where a specific norm is determined is required.”
“That standard is set to a considerable part on the [present] internet, where everyone agrees… In many countries, for example, dark web content is prohibited “He went on to say. The metaverse is an immersive augmented reality environment in which people may adopt a digital avatar to interact with other people and the artificial world around them, however it is currently a work in progress. Although platforms like VRChat have been around for years, and online multiplayer games like World of Warcraft have allowed players to virtually assemble for even longer, this notion hasn’t completely come to fruition yet.
On the same panel as Al Olama, Chris Cox, Chief Product Officer of Meta, spoke. He emphasized that the metaverse will most likely be a varied environment, with numerous platforms functioning under their own set of laws, conventions, and culture. While Cox acknowledged that certain universally accepted criteria are needed, he also proposed that individual platforms should be responsible for setting their own standards. “There is a distinct assumption of what regulations control a bar vs a playground, just as there is a different expectation of what rules govern a bar versus a playground. Some are social norms, while others are imposed by individuals in charge of such institutions “Cox elaborated.
“Much like the internet, service businesses will operate various systems with distinct regulations in the metaverse.” Some will be far more open-ended than others. Some of them will be rated R. Some of them are going to be PG-13. Some will be more or less stringent when it comes to safety and integrity,” Cox noted. “There will probably be something along the lines of a rating system, which we have for films, music, and other forms of entertainment,” he said, “so that a parent or a young child can have some notion of what the rules are in the world they’re about to walk into.”