We’re only human after all: how hierarchy threatens an equitable metaverse

    Published on:

    Opinion: Strategy Leader

    Access to technology requires a certain level of privilege. Although still new, we may already be in danger of never having a comprehensive metaverse, writes Mindshare’s Paid Social Account Director.

    To say “the metaverse is already here” is both accurate and misleading. The term has evolved into a buzzword, but for those working in the media world, the metaverse will become more relevant as the innovation bubble we live in warps our perceptions.

    We see that the metaverse inevitability is intrinsically tied to the social media landscape. However, it would be presumptuous to assume that this space is completely inclusive, as access to technology requires a certain level of privilege. This socioeconomic consideration automatically hinders diversity. We must be careful not to glorify the Metaverse into a utopian space. Also, while the product is still in its early stages, we must recognize that we may never be able to create a fair and inclusive metaverse.

    All power depends on hierarchy

    One important overlooked aspect of technological progress is human nature.Hierarchy is continuous the meaning to exist for humanity, abundant evidence “Social hierarchies are endemic and innate, perhaps evolved to support survival in group life.” So this quickly creates barriers to equality and inclusion.

    One of the major players in the Metaverse universe is of course Meta. Early approaches to this critical problem appear to be positivewhich aims to “build a metaverse with diversity and inclusiveness from the start”.

    But Meta’s long-term goals lack short-term solutions, and while diverse talent acquisition hinges on educational programs that empower tomorrow’s tech workers, today’s problems are unanswered. do not have. If the metaverse really already exists, we need to act more quickly.

    Security measures are necessary at both the corporate level and the government perspective with robust machine and human capabilities.but online safety bill In the UK, the focus is on current technology rather than looking to the future. While this is a concern, it is understandable given how fast-moving the media world is compared to the legislative process (the current online safety bill is set for a third reading in the House of Representatives in January 2023). just reached).

    Independent regulatory bodies such as Ofcom and member organizations such as the IAB have leveraged their expertise to avoid blanket policies that lack the nuance necessary to address the media landscape and ensure government laws comply with standards. must play a major role in making sure that To deny a partisan agenda that deviates from necessary precautions.

    virtual self

    Early safeguards should focus on macro issues such as privacy concerns, criminal activity and protection of minors. But users deserve not only to feel safe, but to feel watched.

    The metaverse not only opens opportunities for new forms of self-expression, but also offers the possibility of anonymity. The current lack of regulation could exacerbate risky behavior, meaning identity-focused safeguards are needed.

    Within the Metaverse, individuals re-express themselves through avatars. Standard safeguards around user verification and content moderation are necessary to foster a fair and inclusive metaverse, but so are user representations within her experience.

    To create a space where diverse voices can be heard, we need a space where diversity can be seen. A consistent problem across virtual worlds is the lack of avatar representation regarding race, disability, gender, etc.the study Analyzing the Importance of Expression in Virtual Worlds When placed in a test scenario with the low diversity option, we found that black participants produced whiter avatars, while white participants were largely unaffected. When these limited options are transferred to the metaverse, this is in contrast to the fair space.

    Considering equality and inclusivity in the virtual representation of users is not a perfect solution, but ensuring that all identities are represented is proof that diversity is a ubiquitous element of the metaverse. It helps a lot to guarantee.

    looking to the future

    To ensure that diverse voices are heard and create equality and inclusion within the Metaverse, this effort must be reflected outside the virtual world and into everyday life. We cannot see true progress in the Metaverse without first seeing social progress.

    It is inevitable that media owners and government agencies will move to build a protective infrastructure for a more secure metaverse, but this is a combination of long-term solutions that cannot be put aside. It must be achieved by working dynamically based on awareness. Later in the Metaverse journey.

    The specific safeguards that need to be put in place to ensure that the metaverse is as fair and inclusive as possible must be robust and uncompromising, using machine learning and human input. yeah. There will be exponential value in contributing diverse opinions to this virtual space from the beginning. This means an emphasis on DE&I, learning from research that integrates diverse perspectives, and an emphasis on considerations that access to language, avatar expression, and technology is a privilege for many. It is important. This requires a solid commitment, not just a checkbox exercise.

    But responsibility for inclusion and diversity must come from the people who live in this space, not just security measures. Hierarchies will always exist in any large structure, be it the society as we know it or the computer-generated world, so building an equitable and inclusive metaverse requires people in positions of power and everyday users must work together.

    The metaverse is only as fair as the individuals who use it. To get better in the virtual world, we have to get better in the physical world.

    Evie Clifton is paid social account director at WPP media agency Mindshare

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