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Exploring the Risks of the Metaverse

As the Metaverse and various virtual universes become more integrated into our lives, there are growing concerns about potential risks and issues. These concerns can be outlined as follows:

  • Technological Investment: One significant risk of the Metaverse is the need for advanced technologies, which will require substantial investments.
  • Overhype Risk: There’s a concern that the Metaverse might be overestimated in terms of its impact and capabilities.
  • Cybersecurity Threats: Life in the virtual universe brings risks of cyberattacks, including identity theft and fraud.
  • Social Challenges: The inclusion of virtual universes in our daily lives could lead to various social problems.
  • Health and Wellness Concerns: The proliferation of Metaverses might contribute to cognitive and physical laziness, asocial behavior, and health issues like addiction. Immersive games have the potential to cause depression, isolation, and even extreme behaviors like violence.
  • Personality and Reality Perception Issues: Frequent identification with characters and avatars in the virtual universe could lead to personality disorders and reality perception problems.
  • Ethical Dilemmas: The virtual universe could give rise to ethical issues across economic, cultural, social, and societal domains.
  • Cognitive Disorders: Extended exposure to Metaverses may result in cognitive disorders.
  • Legal and Jurisdictional Voids: The lack of clear laws or legal jurisdiction in the Metaverse poses risks, particularly as it transcends physical boundaries.
  • Misinformation and Privacy Concerns: The spread of false information and fake news could increase, alongside risks to user privacy and intellectual property rights.
  • Economic and Taxation Issues: Financial flows and taxation in the Metaverse, especially with cryptocurrency involvement, present complex challenges.
  • Disconnection from Reality: The Metaverse could lead to a detachment from real life, causing a divide between virtual and physical realities.
  • Socioeconomic Divide: There might be a growing disparity between those who can afford digital tools for the Metaverse and those who cannot, potentially widening the gap between rich and poor communities.
  • Control and Freedom Issues: The entities governing the Metaverse could potentially control many aspects of virtual realities, potentially impinging on individual freedoms and rights. Therefore, the governance of the Metaverse should not be monopolized by any single entity or company.

Is the Metaverse Overrated?

Since Metaverse projects are still in developmental stages, various opinions circulate about their future impact. While some view the virtual universe as overhyped, others see it as a technology of significant future importance. To skeptics who believe virtual universes are overrated, they may appear as merely sophisticated gaming networks. There’s also a belief that people might eventually lose interest in Metaverses. Notably, the idea that the Metaverse is an exaggerated public relations effort by Mark Zuckerberg garners attention. Despite these differing views, the number of people and companies investing in Metaverses is growing daily.

There’s also speculation that the Metaverse topic is hyped to maintain investor interest. Considering the potential risks, some think embracing the Metaverse isn’t a rational move. However, if promising Metaverse projects materialize, even those skeptical of this technology might have to adapt. This scenario is likened to how we currently use social media platforms under their set conditions, suggesting a similar future for Metaverse interactions.

Those believing in the future value of Metaverses continue to invest and innovate unabatedly. Some argue that the virtual universe has swiftly become a part of our lives and is here to stay, offering unique experiences. For instance, attending a concert in a distant country or meeting new people could be possible through the Metaverse. There are even theories suggesting that in the future, a person’s memories and consciousness could be transferred to the virtual universe, allowing for a form of digital immortality.


Will the Metaverse be dominated by big tech companies?

Meta has stated that the Metaverse won’t be controlled by a single company; rather, each entity will develop its own version. Metaverses, currently a hot topic, have attracted significant interest from both companies and individuals, with some firms actively working to create their virtual universes. As the concept of Metaverses remains somewhat nebulous, discussions continue about potential ownership and control.

Major global tech companies are competing for dominance in this field. Facebook, now renamed Meta, has been a forerunner, announcing a $10 million annual investment in its Metaverse initiatives. The company’s acquisition of Oculus signifies its growing focus on virtual universes. Competing with Meta are tech giants like Microsoft, Apple, Google, NVIDIA, Magic Leap, and Sony, each making strides in virtual universe investments.

Apple is anticipated to release Metaverse-compatible headphones and glasses soon, with rumors of larger investment plans. Google, through its Cardboard VR project, has already introduced millions to virtual reality and is speculated to be making further investments in virtual universes.

Microsoft entered the virtual universe arena with its Hololens mixed reality glasses and is believed to be pursuing various Metaverse investments. Magic Leap initially entered the Metaverse with its headset and plans to release Magic Leap 2 in 2022.

Nvidia, while not directly mentioning a Metaverse, launched Omniverse Enterprise for collaborative 3D modeling, design, and simulation. Omniverse’s 3D graphics, AI, and supercomputing technology have marked its presence in the Metaverse domain.


The states that have taken action for Metaverse partnerships are:

The South Korean government has announced its endorsement of Metaverse innovations, evidenced by the establishment of the Metaverse Alliance under the Ministry of Science and Informatics. In South Korea, over 500 companies have already joined the Metaverse, with plans by the Seoul city government to develop a virtual universe.

In China, Tencent, known for its support of the Metaverse, has declared that Chinese laws and regulations will evolve to accommodate the Metaverse. While the Chinese government views the Metaverse positively, it maintains an authoritative stance to ensure user experiences align with governmental guidelines. Given China’s dominant role in technology, there are speculations that it may extend this influence into the virtual universe and possibly become a central figure in the Metaverse.

Barbados has made a unique move by establishing the first embassy in the Metaverse, officially recognizing VR spaces as manageable assets. Barbados has also formed partnerships with prominent Metaverse companies like Decentraland, SuperWorld, and Somnium Space.

These instances highlight the diverse investment strategies being adopted by companies and governments in the Metaverse. Yet, the question of who will emerge as the dominant force in the Metaverse remains unanswered. The debate over future control of the Metaverse continues, and it seems these discussions will persist until the concept of the virtual universe is fully realized and established.

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