Sun. Nov 27th, 2022

In the last two decades, technology has had a profound impact on our lives, especially the internet, which has connected millions of people around the world and made it easier to access and share knowledge. The COVID-19 pandemic bolstered the internet’s pervasiveness by increasing global internet use by 50 to 70 percent as people’s livelihoods, education, and governance were all shifted online. The move from Web 2.0 to metaverse, a virtual reality space where people interact in a computer-generated environment through virtual and augmented reality sets, is now supposed to be taking place as a result of Web 2.0.

Meta Platforms: Predicts Mark Zuckerberg

Virtual and real worlds can also be combined, or a mirror to reflect the real world can be used to create an entirely new one. “You’ll be able to do almost anything you can imagine—get together with friends and family, work, learn, play, shop, create—as well as completely new experiences that don’t really fit how we think about computers or phones today,” predicts Mark Zuckerberg, co-founder of Meta Platforms. When it comes to work, social gatherings, and even visiting your parents’ house, you’ll have the option of teleporting as a hologram wherever you want, whenever you want. Avatars created by users may also be interoperable, allowing them to move freely between various platforms. It is currently possible to classify Second Life and Minecraft as metaverses.

People interact with each other in a computer-generated virtual reality space via VR/AR sets in the metaverse, which has been dubbed “Web 2.0 2.0,” according to some experts.

Obstacles To Overcome

Companies and governments are only just beginning to invest in the concept despite a lot of speculation and little understanding of how it will work. However, the same questions that various social scientists and philosophers have been asking about the promises made by the internet and social media continue to plague these investments and innovations. An attempt to “democratise the good and disrupt the bad” has resulted in international monopolies that have more power than governments. There are still gatekeepers of knowledge who profit from encouraging exclusion and social relationships have taken a backseat as we become more and more affected by our identities online, and many vulnerable groups are left behind because of infrastructural inaccessibility to phones and laptops, computers, and the internet.

To what extent do these questions resurface when it is predicted that the metaverse will become a reality in ten years?

When it comes to the internet’s current problems, like hacking, catphishing, harassment, hate speech, and misinformation and disinformation, how does it intend to deal with those? How will the metaverse keep people from becoming more disconnected from their real worlds? What will happen if the metaverse’s basic infrastructural requirements — such as AR and VR glasses and headsets, wristband technology, ultra-fast broadband speeds, and always-on worlds —

Exclude populations that lack the resources to take advantage of these innovations?

People were exposed to new ideas and ideologies that they had never heard of before the advent of print media. Though they couldn’t reach the illiterate, they were able to spread false information and influence social change thanks to the widespread availability and accessibility of newspapers and books. It was expected to be a great equaliser, promising easy access to knowledge, “disintermediation,” and connectivity across the world when the internet was first introduced. The internet promised to be a learning resource that would allow students in even the most remote and impoverished regions to access the same educational materials as those in more affluent areas. Disintermediation, or removing information asymmetry, was intended to reduce the influence of middlemen by opening up markets previously only accessible to large corporations and allowing small businesses and manufacturers to compete directly with these corporations.

There are still gatekeepers of knowledge who profit from encouraging exclusion and social relationships have taken a backseat as we become more and more affected by our identities online, and many vulnerable groups are left behind because of infrastructural inaccessibility to phones and laptops, computers, and the internet.

We in the Web 2.0 era are well aware that the internet has only partially fulfilled its potential. There has never been a time when the world has been so interconnected, but the instant access to vast amounts of relatively unfiltered information has not helped decrease intolerance and abuse or combat misinformation. The internet, in fact, has the potential to become an echo chamber because of its ability to personalise content. A small group of companies, such as Google, Apple, Facebook, and Amazon, have largely taken control of what we read, do, buy, and how we work. If we are to ensure that the metaverse is more open and democratic we must learn from the mistakes of print media, the internet, Web 2.0 and other innovations that promised to democratise knowledge, access and interconnectivity.

As long as the metaverse is in the making and its future is uncertain, governments risk not having the regulatory, economic, and social institutions that allow all people to transition and thrive in virtual reality if they ignore or assume that it will never happen. The government’s investment and collaboration with the private sector in internet infrastructure, as well as steps to eliminate the digital divide, are at the heart of this transition. It’s impossible for regions without internet access to take advantage of e-commerce opportunities.

Making sure that everyone has access to broadband and cheap Wi-Fi is essential. We need to work together with the private sector to ensure that the latest technologies, accessibility, lower costs, and faster delivery are developed for universal internet access. Hardware and software technological sovereignty must be aggressively pursued by governments in developing countries. There must be extensive monitoring and evaluation and feedback frameworks in place for robust technology policy mechanisms that are objectively designed and not alienated from social realities.

Metaverse Making Universe In All The Times

It is imperative that governments invest in and work with the private sector to build out the necessary internet infrastructure in order to close the digital divide.

In order to ensure that all content creators, all companies, and all local businesses have a stake in the metaverse, government regulation can play a crucial role. In a metaverse where avatars and digital objects play a significant role in how people interact, local businesses and brands, content creators must be given the tools they need to compete on an equal footing. If you’re building the metaverse, you’ll be in charge of how creative commons are governed. Attempts to build an open ecosystem are hollow when the power to build the metaverse and operate within it is in the hands of a few well-off people. The current business model of Big Technology giants like Google and Facebook, which relies on establishing scale, driving out competitors, and extracting and selling data, needs to be changed in order to ensure meaningful competition among numerous stakeholders and companies, government intervention, and data privacy. The metaverse should not be controlled by a single entity, and users should not be required to seek permission from oligopolistic platforms. Smaller businesses and start-ups must be encouraged to join the metaverse by governments. Effective policy initiatives, such as Startup India, in India can be used to encourage more technological research and to provide incubator opportunities for young entrepreneurs. Support for enhancing and expanding initiatives must also be provided.

Because of its focus on augmented and virtual reality, artificial intelligence (AI), and the internet of things (IoT), Frontier Technologies’ Cloud Innovation Centre offers ready opportunities for metaverse experimentation and innovation. In order to deal with the challenges posed by the metaverse, anticipatory regulation that works in tandem with the private sector is essential. The Prime Minister’s Office in Singapore has established a “Center for Strategic Futures” to investigate, track, and brainstorm on the present and future risks and opportunities that emerging immersive technologies pose. In order to keep track of and anticipate the changes that technology can bring about in the state, it is important to have centres that include politicians, the private sector, and experts from academia. As part of its Semiconductor Mission to assist Aatmanirbhar Bharat, the Indian government has begun teaching students about the metaverse and the skills they’ll need to survive in it. There should be an increase in the involvement of global Big Tech companies in teaching digital skills.

By Adam

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