Building a ‘metaverse for good’ requires an ethical foundation
This blog post was authored by Matt Friedman - CEO, The Mekong Club on VISION by Protiviti.
- As CEO of the Mekong Club, I often hear about human trafficking cases that start with online encounters on the internet. And I have no doubt that predators will be able to do this—and worse—in the metaverse.
- Our goal is to acquire a seat at the table early to help develop safety and privacy standards and to work with the designers and developers to prevent the seeping of real-world problems—racism, discrimination, bullying, sexism, exploitation and more—into virtual-world environments.
- The metaverse offers infinite possibilities. But for the metaverse to thrive, people must feel safe. NGOs have a responsibility to take a leadership role in making sure these new virtual worlds are safe and ethical.
Nina Jane Patel, Bloomberg's technology columnist, recently entered the metaverse environment Horizon Venues, a newly launched virtual-reality social platform, to have a look for herself. She found the virtual, extended, augmented and mixed reality, along with other Web 3.0 tools, engaging but also a little too real. She unfortunately experienced some “creepy” encounters that included groping, being surrounded by male avatars who offered sexually suggestive gestures and worse. In the end, she found the whole experience “shocking” and said she was “sad that the current state of VR has been heavily driven by proponents of VR as fiction—violence, sexual fantasies, and to be quite frank—hate.”
Jordan Belamire asks: As VR becomes increasingly real, how do we decide what crosses the line from an annoyance to an actual assault?
The Mekong club, which works with the private sector to fight the issue of human trafficking, has already reached out to meta, microsoft and other companies to offer our advice and guidance on how to include human-rights values in the metaverse mix.