The metaverse is a digital universe characterized by the interaction of physical, augmented and virtual reality in a shared online space. Rapid advancements in augmented and virtual reality technology, blockchain and artificial intelligence, have brought the mainstream adoption of the metaverse within our grasp. Many tech companies are now investing in the metaverse, propelling the public into a new technological future. The technology promises to enable people to interact in ways previously thought unimaginable. For example, empowered by the virtual reality capabilities of the metaverse, specialists of any field could meet in a virtual room, while being based in any part of the world. By using digital twins, a pilot could fly a passenger drone in the metaverse, while actually controlling its physical counterpart in the real world.
Social media and news outlets have accordingly written enthusiastically about this topic, in particular after Facebook’s October 2021 rebranding as Meta and the unveiling of its plans to build its metaverse. Nevertheless, there is not yet a clear view on how the metaverse will evolve and materialize in practice. Many questions about this emerging technological phenomenon remain unanswered. For instance, how fast will the metaverse impact daily life? How will society interact with and within this virtual world? Are we even ready for the metaverse? In a world where hate speech and cyberbullying already run rampant online, should we anticipate similar trends? How will crimes committed in the virtual world be treated in the real world? How can we establish their legal jurisdiction? Will our current criminal justice systems be effective in the metaverse, or do we need to rethink the nature of the law?
These questions and more will be discussed in the webinar. And yet they are not arising now: the answer to them, and perspectives on what the future may hold, may in part be gauged by looking into domains where virtual worlds have already existed for quite some time – in particular the gaming and blockchain communities.
The Future Series
This webinar is organized by the United Nations Interregional Crime and Justice Research Institute (UNICRI) through its Centre for Artificial Intelligence and Robotics as part of its Futures Series – a series of virtual discussions focused on exploring the possibilities, challenges and pitfalls of the latest technological trends and developments. The previous webinar of the series focused on how emerging technologies can contribute to reduce inequality in the post-pandemic world.
The Metaverse and the Real World webinar will feature a conversation between Mr. Irakli Beridze, Head of UNICRI’s Centre for Artificial Intelligence and Robotics, and Mr. Witek Radomski, Chief Technical Officer and Co-Founder of Enjin.
If you like to attend the webinar, please register here.