You may have heard whisperings of the metaverse online or in the news recently, and it’s ok if you’re not in full comprehension of what it is. Remember how hard Twitter was at first? Now its become a staple point in our culture that nearly anyone can use.
The lesson here is not that we should blindly embrace technology, even if Elon Musk is willing to invest $44 bn into it. Instead, we should be acknowledging that emerging tech can leave unmonitored space for misconduct and other harmful actions, and we must protect ourselves, our colleagues, and our brand from them.
This is not to say that we shouldn’t embrace technology for all its positives. Indeed, at the Martin James Network, we pioneer for companies to utilise it to increase the safety and wellbeing of other individuals. For us, this has largely been through VR experiences and helpful online portals.
But with the dawn of the metaverse approaching fast, we thought we’d answer some of its most important questions and explore how you can stay safe in a virtual world.
What is the Metaverse?
The metaverse is a virtual platform that allows users to socialise, work, and play in a digital space. Using avatars, people can carry out everyday tasks such as meetings and shopping without leaving the comfort of their seats. Immersive technology expert Tony Parisi described it simply as “the internet in 3D.”
Who Owns the Metaverse?
The term has been recently popularised by Mark Zuckerberg in his transition of Facebook, Inc into Meta Platforms. His plan to put billions of dollars into one single metaverse will likely see his version become the most widely used. However, there are no plans for there to be one singular metaverse as different companies have already begun creating their own.
Virtual meetings are set to become the norm
How Can We Stay Safe in the Metaverse?
We have seen growing concern for the safety of one another in the metaverse. A 43-year-old woman has even claimed to have been virtually assaulted by another user in the digital world, with other stories of digital asset theft running rife. Considering the increasing number of ‘meta-issues,’ we have some tips to keep yourself and your colleagues safe in the new digital platform.
1. Training For Employees
Is there a better way to protect your colleagues than providing them with expert training? Absolutely not. We’ve seen a rise in programmes that are specifically engineered to teach people about the metaverse and its inner workings. A favourite of ours is the Metaverse Masterclass.
With the metaverse in such early stages of development, we’ve not seen any fully-fledged safety plans come into fruition. But learning some of the meta-basics will put you in a better position further down the line.
2. Support The Initiatives
Whilst we support all campaigns for more internet safety, we’ve seen some impressive movements surrounding virtual and augmented reality beginning to form. Some companies have already started rallying for more safety awareness and policies in the metaverse to avoid issues arising before the platform is widely used. These companies include Access Now and the Electronic Frontier Foundation.
We ask that people not only pay close attention to these companies’ cause, but support their dutiful endeavours in any way they can. The internet is filled with suspicious activity (let alone in 3D) and we can help create policies that keep our colleagues and future generations of workers safe.
In the process, you’ll also learn a thing or two about data protection online. Like why you’ve been advertised an electric whisk you only thought about yesterday.
The metaverse will use a hybrid of digital plaforms
3. Balance The Change
The metaverse will bring about huge changes to the way we work and socialise in our daily lives, but not enough that all laws and regulations get disregarded. The same expectations and social norms still stand in the virtual world, even if we’re communicating through avatars now.
Whilst this sounds completely achievable, having a digital alter ego does create some head-scratching complexities. How do we account for genuine mistakes in the metaverse? And how do we discipline those that fall out of line? Any HR representative will testify how complex employee relations cases can already be, and that’s without avatars involved.
Whilst changes in technology begin to occur, we must maintain the same respect for our colleagues as ever.
It may be a while before we see a fully-fledged version of the metaverse become routine in our workplace, but getting a better understanding of it now will help protect yourself and your peers in the years to follow. Without question, it’s an exciting and bold technological move that could improve countless aspects of our personal and professional lives. We just want to be ready and safe for that inevitable move.