Digital Immortality: What Will Become of Metaverses?

Digital Immortality: What Will Become of Metaverses?

On October 9, a networking session, "The road not taken: what is the future of metaverse?", organised by the Center for Global IT-Cooperation, was held in Kyoto as part of the UN Internet Governance Forum.

Digital Immortality: What Will Become of Metaverses?

The speakers were Daniil Mazurin, Founder of the Apollo42 NFT marketplace, and Vakhtang Kipshidze, Deputy Chairman of the Synodal Department for Church-Society and Media Relations (of the Russian Orthodox Church). The moderator was the project manager of the Center, Alim Khapov.

The main topics covered during the discussion were the ethical aspects of the transfer of a person's personality to the digital world, the regulation of IT companies, as well as the technical possibilities of the development of metaverses.

"The metaverse is a world created by a man who claims to be perfect. However, we, believers, believe that the real world still has its drawbacks, accordingly, these imperfections will sooner or later also become part of the virtual space. Therefore, it is necessary to understand exactly what values we will transfer to metaverses from the real world," Vakhtang Kipshidze told about the Church's approaches to the phenomenon of virtual worlds.

He placed special emphasis on one of the most controversial topics – the so-called "digital immortality". The very structure of personality, in his opinion, is under threat, since a person may eventually cease to understand if he/she has a physical body and become aware of himself or herself. "Sometimes people become obsessed with metaverses, and this is a direct way to violate personal freedom, so it is necessary to fight obsessions together," he concluded.

Daniil Mazurin suggested that metaverses will help the economies of some countries in the future, especially developing ones. For this reason, it is important to take into account the opinion of the countries of the Global South on how to regulate the development of new technologies like metaverses or VR. Since they will have a direct impact on the people living in those states.

"Another problem with metaverses is the hardware. At the moment, in order for an ordinary user to get into the metaverse, it is necessary to have not only a powerful computer that can run the program, but also additional tools like VR glasses. So far, this is a very expensive and complicated process, but in the near future, of course, this will change," he said.

The discussion received a lively response from the audience. A representative of the Pakistani technical community drew attention to the problem of regulating metaverses. The legal side of the issue is still in the so-called "gray zone": the personal data of users of metaplatforms are not protected, which means that their use can lead to the theft of a "digital avatar". However, he was objected to by a representative of the European Union, who said that regulation, in fact, already exists. However, it is not reflected in one special-purpose document, but is a part of the general regulation of digital platforms: from the protection of user data to the operation of recommendation systems.

The speakers concluded that metaverses have both positive and negative sides, and there is still no unity in the expert community about the attitude to this technology. However, the relevance of the regulation of metaverses will undoubtedly only grow.

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