I explored both the advantages and disadvantages of the Metaverse in the first two parts (parts 1 and 2 are available here and here, respectively). VR has advanced to the point where it could actually deliver the lifelike experiences that Mark Zuckerberg described on Thursday, as opposed to the clunky VR of the 1990s through 2015. But if it’s going to flourish and get widespread adoption, it must persuade the public that it’s worthwhile investing in.
SECURITY FOR THE ENVIRONMENT We can anticipate significant environmental advantages if this occurs.
The largest benefit is that it can lessen the need for travel by people. No one desires to rot away in a tiny apartment and run around pretending to be pretty like people did in the movie Surrogates . People aspire to be able to make travel in their lives something worthwhile rather than a chore. Urban traffic congestion not only eats away at our spirits but also pollutes the atmosphere and warms the planet. When a work can be done remotely, people save time (up to three hours a day in some circumstances) by not having to commute, and towns may use the roads for more important trips rather than for idly using them for tasks that can be done online.
Currently, virtual reality can only really offer a nicer Zoom call, but it may eventually replace even in-person physical labor. Machines struggle to complete tasks because they lack intellect, not dexterity, therefore humans may run machines remotely while sitting (or moving) in their jammies at home. The potential for reduced human travel is far greater than it appears at this time.
EVs are excellent, but they can’t address issues like traffic and the enormous space that cities and private property owners in urban areas must set aside for parking. Cities might ease traffic congestion and restore part of that space for the people who live there to enjoy in real life if less travel were required.
Another benefit is that a lot of work-related activities have high pollution levels. Even though they rarely take to the skies in actual battle, military pilots still need to drill so they are prepared to defend their nations when the time comes. There is no longer a need for all of those emissions because a significant portion of this practice time is taking place virtually. Pollution is a consideration for other military applications. The Metaverse may be used for anything from tank and truck driving to practicing on the range, and virtual training doesn’t produce nearly as many emissions and lead contamination problems as live-fire and in-person training do.
This could prove to be a very significant contribution to clearing things up, especially given that the US military is a bigger polluter than 140 other countries combined .
If the Metaverse succeeds, we will be able to conduct less manufacturing as well. Many of these products can just exist in the virtual world for us to play with instead of firing up millions of factories across the globe to manufacture pointless stuff like imitation rubber dog feces and many other things we use once or twice and then end up tossing away. Numerous toys, games, and other goods just cannot be produced. Then, these things won’t pollute the world by ending up in landfills, the oceans, or any other place.
If the virtual experiences are excellent enough, even nostalgia for activities we did more of in the past that generate pollution can be satisfied. It is possible to make many other polluting activities, such as car racing (particularly ICE racing), ICE boating, recreational flying, and many others, not only a little less frequent but also far more affordable for more people to enjoy.
GOING BEYOND POLLUTION: SAVING LIVES While lowering traffic and pollution will save many lives on its own, the Metaverse has the potential to save many more lives.
One benefit of VR is that it makes it easier for people to avoid risky situations. Virtual reality (VR) has the potential to be used to perform dangerous fun activities, hazardous jobs, and public services while yet enabling humans to maintain excellent situational awareness and make sound decisions. Less hazard exposure equals fewer fatalities and permanent disabilities due to accidents.
Accidents frequently happen when people are being trained to perform risky tasks. Nothing can replace hands-on training done in person, including reading books, watching films, and watching skilled people drive cars, operate industrial machines, and perform a variety of other tasks. You’ll become more adept at a task the more often you perform it. Before they are ever put in danger, the Metaverse enables people to safely practice dangerous skills in a realistic setting.
Let’s examine teen driving on their own. About 2400 juvenile drivers died and several more were injured in 2019, according to the Centers for Disease Control. The risk of crashing is greatest in the first few months of learning to drive, but overall, teen drivers accident three times more frequently than those over the age of twenty. Teenagers would crash and die much less if they had more realistic virtual driving experience before they started driving in real life.
Even the rest of us boring old people could get something. We could all drive more safely if we gained experience with atypical driving duties, such as driving in bad weather or recovering from a loss of control.
I’m aware that many readers look forward to the day when self-driving cars that are as good as people are required on the road, but we’re not there yet, we don’t know how long it will take, and it won’t be required for a while, if it ever does. Still, having better-trained drivers is tremendously beneficial.
the HUMAN RIGHTS Human rights must be covered as a final topic. There should be no racial, social, or economic restrictions on who can profit from resources like the Metaverse. People shouldn’t feel excluded from most Metaverse events either, even if they could theoretically attend them, because that would deter them from participating. Additionally, we must prevent its misuse for bad.
In the final section, I’ll discuss some crucial human rights issues that must be taken into account as the Metaverse matures.
Screenshot from Meta’s presentation featuring two men playing chess remotely in a park is used as the featured image. One that like a Star Wars Force Ghost appears from somewhere else. For amusement, the other person modified his avatar to look like a lion.
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