With the explosive popularity of ChatGPT and other generative AI technologies, the allure of the metaverse might seem like a receding memory. However, away from the spotlight of the public and regulators, the vision of an immersive digital reality is still being relentlessly pursued worldwide. Various companies are heavily investing in and building initiatives related to augmented and virtual realities, as well as XR technologies, ranging from fashion to healthcare. One pioneering company at the forefront of this technology is Metaverse Platforms, formerly known as Facebook.
Traditionally, public policymakers have struggled to keep up with regulating new technologies, often reacting only after the technology has already become mainstream, potentially disrupting societal norms and regulations. Big tech companies like Metaverse Platforms, leveraging their early mover advantage and data dominance, can establish norms that may not necessarily serve the public’s best interests.
The metaverse has the potential to revolutionize education, entertainment, and many other aspects of our lives. However, it also brings forth existing digital dilemmas such as privacy, competition, and misinformation, which are only set to escalate in this new environment. Additionally, a host of new issues threaten to emerge, including concerns about child safety, online harassment, discrimination, fraud, and digital larceny.
In this episode of TechTank, co-host Nicol Turner Lee, speaks with Tom Wheeler, visiting fellow at the Brookings Institution, and author of the newly-published report, “AI makes rules for the metaverse even more important.” Together, they explore how virtual realities are revolutionizing social and commercial interactions, while also exacerbating existing concerns and introducing new risks, including discrimination and digital larceny.
Acknowledgements and disclosures
Google, Meta, and Microsoft are donors to the Brookings Institution. The findings, interpretations, and conclusions posted in this piece are solely those of the authors and not influenced by any donation.