Morality in the Metaverse

The arrival of the Metaverse is near. By Metaverse, I am referring to the immersive, virtual, and interconnected universe that is going to be created by the mass adoption of virtual reality. A sufficiently high fidelity metaverse will have enormous potential for good. By breaking down geographical boundaries, physical limitations, and the structural systems that oppress certain demographics, the metaverse has the potential to be a more just, equitable, and fun place for humanity to reside. However, it also runs into the potential dystopian issues of corrupt corporate control of the metaverse, human disconnect from base reality (assuming our reality is in fact base reality (another topic entirely)), and the countless other problems that may emerge from a reality created by an imperfect species of monkey.

Existing microcosms of the soon-to-be metaverse created by companies like Oculus, Linden Labs, and all creators of massively multiplayer online games show the inevitability of a metaverses’ emergence. For this reason, I believe it is imperative that we begin thinking about morality in the metaverse. Do the same morals apply to a metaverse as those that apply here? Is there a limitation to the amount of freedom the programmers of the metaverse should provide their users? How can we ensure that the A.I. entities sure to exist in the metaverse are treated sufficiently well? These are just some of the questions that must be taken into consideration before the metaverse becomes widely adopted. However, I worry that corporations hungry to gain control of it will not stop to consider how to ensure the metaverse actually brings about good to the human race.

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