The concept of the metaverse is vast and multifaceted, and there are several key questions that are considered challenging to answer. From my perspective, there are 5 major and most difficult questions that require extensive research and experimentation to fully understand. They cannot be answered easily and will require perseverance, determination, and a willingness to learn from our mistakes as we move forward towards the development of the metaverse. It is important to be prepared for the challenges ahead as we navigate the complexities of the metaverse.
1. How will the metaverse be governed and regulated? As the metaverse becomes more integrated with our daily lives, it will be important to establish rules and regulations to ensure the safety and well-being of users, as well as to prevent misuse of the technology.
2. How will personal privacy and data security be protected in the metaverse? As more and more personal information and data is stored in the metaverse, it will be important to ensure that this data is protected from hacking, identity theft and other malicious activities.
3. How will the metaverse be monetized? As the metaverse becomes more popular, it will be important to find ways to monetize it, but it also raises questions about how to make sure that the economic model of the metaverse is fair and inclusive for all its users.
4. How will the metaverse impact the physical world and our relationship to it? As the metaverse becomes more immersive and realistic, it could potentially change the way we interact with the physical world, and it raises questions about the impact of this on our physical and mental well-being.
5. How to keep the balance between the virtual and the real world? As the metaverse is becoming more real and accessible, there is a risk that people might spend more time in the virtual world, neglecting the real world and their responsibilities in it.
So, let’s go through these one at a time…
How will the metaverse be governed and regulated?
The governance and regulation of the metaverse is a complex and evolving issue that is still being debated and explored. There are several different approaches that have been proposed for how to govern and regulate the metaverse, including:
- Self-regulation by metaverse companies and developers: Some argue that metaverse companies and developers should be responsible for self-regulation, setting rules and guidelines for behavior within their own virtual worlds.
- Industry-wide regulations: Others argue that there should be industry-wide regulations for the metaverse, similar to how governments regulate other industries, such as telecommunications and finance.
- Decentralized governance: Some suggest that the metaverse should be governed by a decentralized system, where users have a say in how their virtual world is governed and regulated, similar to how blockchain networks are governed.
- Government regulations: Others suggest that Governments should regulate the metaverse as a public good, similar to how they regulate other public goods like the internet, radio and television.
- Hybrid approach: A hybrid approach could also be implemented, where the metaverse is governed by a combination of self-regulation, industry-wide regulations, decentralized governance, and government regulations.
In my opinion, the metaverse is a relatively recent idea and the methods of its governance and regulation are still in the process of being established. The most effective approach for governing and regulating the metaverse will vary depending on the specific circumstances and the advancement of the technology.
How will personal privacy and data security be protected in the metaverse?
Protecting personal privacy and data security in the metaverse is a crucial concern as the metaverse becomes more integrated with our daily lives. Here are a few ways that personal privacy and data security could be protected in the metaverse:
- Strong data encryption: All data stored and transmitted within the metaverse should be encrypted to protect against hacking and unauthorized access.
- Data minimization: Metaverse companies should only collect and store the minimal amount of data necessary to provide their services and should be transparent about what data is collected and how it is used.
- Data portability: Users should have the ability to export their data and take it with them to other virtual worlds if they choose.
- Data deletion: Users should have the right to request that their data be deleted and that metaverse companies should comply with these requests.
- Consent-based data collection: Users should be able to control and consent to the data that is being collected about them and how it is used.
- Privacy by design: Privacy should be considered and integrated into the design of the metaverse from the start, rather than being an afterthought.
- Independent oversight and auditing: There should be independent oversight and regular auditing of metaverse companies to ensure that they are complying with data protection regulations and best practices.
It’s important to note that protecting personal privacy and data security in the metaverse is a complex and evolving issue that will require ongoing collaboration between metaverse companies, regulators and privacy experts to ensure that users’ data is protected and respected.
How will the metaverse be monetized?
I would highlight several ways the metaverse could be monetized:
- Subscriptions: Users could pay a monthly or yearly fee to access the metaverse or certain parts of it.
- In-world purchases: Users could purchase virtual goods, services, or experiences within the metaverse using virtual currency, similar to how in-app purchases work in mobile games.
- Advertising: Companies could advertise their products or services within the metaverse, reaching a targeted audience of users who are interested in their products or services.
- Virtual real estate: Companies or individuals could purchase virtual land or property within the metaverse and rent or sell it to other users.
- Transactions fees: Metaverse platforms could charge transaction fees for certain types of transactions within the metaverse, such as buying and selling virtual goods or services.
- Data and analytics: Metaverse companies could sell data and analytics about user behavior and preferences to advertisers or other companies for targeted marketing.
- NFTs (Non-Fungible Tokens): As NFTs become more popular, the metaverse could be monetized by selling unique virtual items, experiences, or land as NFTs.
It’s worth noting that the metaverse is still an emerging technology and the best way to monetize it is still being explored. It is likely to assume that new monetization models will emerge as the metaverse continues to evolve. And it is also important to consider that the metaverse should be accessible to all users regardless of their financial status, therefore the economic model should be fair and inclusive.
How will the metaverse impact the physical world and our relationship to it?
The metaverse has the potential to impact the physical world and our relationship to it in a variety of ways, both positive and negative. Here are a few potential impacts:
- Virtual-physical integration: The metaverse could change the way we interact with the physical world, making it possible to interact with virtual objects and environments in a more immersive and realistic way.
- Remote collaboration: The metaverse could make it possible for people to collaborate and work together in virtual environments, regardless of their physical location, potentially increasing productivity and global collaboration.
- Virtual tourism: The metaverse could enable virtual tourism, allowing people to visit and experience places around the world without having to physically travel there.
- Increased social connectivity: The metaverse could increase social connectivity by providing new and more immersive ways for people to connect and interact with each other.
- Digital preservation of physical world: By creating digital replicas of the physical world, the metaverse could serve as a tool for preserving important cultural and historical sites, for example for education and research purposes.
- Dependence on the virtual world: On the other hand, the metaverse could also have negative impacts such as increasing dependence on the virtual world and neglecting the real world and responsibilities, leading to social isolation and addiction.
- Impact on physical health: As the metaverse becomes more immersive and realistic, people could spend more time in the virtual world, potentially leading to negative impacts on physical and mental health, such as decreased physical activity, increased sedentary behavior and sleep disorders.
We can conclude that the full impact of the metaverse on the physical world and our relationship to it is still not fully understood. It’s important to monitor and study the effects of the metaverse on our physical and mental well-being, as well as to design the metaverse in a way that promotes positive impacts and minimizes the negative ones.
How to keep the balance between the virtual and the real world?
It is difficult to answer this question in a way that applies to everyone, but I will describe my personal point of view:
One way to maintain balance between the virtual and real world is to set limits on the amount of time spent on virtual activities, such as using social media or playing video games. It can also be helpful to schedule specific times of the day for virtual activities, and to make sure to engage in a variety of real-world activities, such as exercise, spending time with friends and family, and pursuing hobbies. Additionally, being mindful of one’s emotional state and taking breaks when feeling overwhelmed can help to maintain balance. It’s also important to make sure to have a good sleep schedule and to eat healthy.
I have attempted to analyze and to understand the potential answers for each of the five main questions. However, there are many more that need to be considered as the metaverse continues to progress and become more ingrained in our daily lives. As the metaverse develops, new challenges and questions will arise and will need to be addressed.
Kyr Poskonoff is the host of the LikeXR.tech podcast, Co-founder at LikeXR.com, AWE Speaker, and author of the book “Metaversions”