Walking around the metaverse is like being in a computer game, but soon it will look just like real life. Contrary to some dystopian visions of metaphysics, I don’t think we will ever abandon reality and stop participating in the physical world. On the other hand, advances in the field of AI content creation are likely to lead to a photo-realistic metaverse featuring replicas of ourselves and push us towards a hyper-reality that combines our real and digital lives.
Everything we do online today will happen in the metaverse, just with a more attractive visual interface. default content we interact with today Low-resolution and cartoonish, which makes sense because creating realistic content is expensive, and games make up the majority of what’s currently available in the metaverse. On the other hand, the physical world around us is vibrant and rich with 24/7 personal, high-definition content experiences – aka reality.
As technology advances, photo-realistic content in the metaverse will become indistinguishable from physical reality. The driving force behind this change will be powerful AI content generation algorithms that use real-world data to perfectly recreate copies of ourselves within digital environments. The question is, as the real world extends into virtual space: How will you prevent bad actors from controlling the photo-realistic virtual version of yourself?
Will our digital selves be slaves to big corporations?
The growth of the Internet and the endless number of amazing digital products and services has created a torrent of personal data collected by large companies. Every search engine query, comment, profile picture, email, or purchase is another note in the symphony of our digital identity that only certain companies and their algorithms hear. The metaverse is taking data collection to a new level and will be filled with immersive content and increasingly rich data streams. While we may be willing to share our cookie data or information about what we buy online products and services that make our lives easier, it’s not clear that we’ll be comfortable giving companies the same power over voice and unique biometric facial data that is required to create virtual copies of us in The hyperreal metaverse.
The way many internet services collect data has made more and more people hesitant to share their personal data with internet platforms, particularly among Generation Z. As we move into the hyper-real metaverse, the stakes are increased due to the incredibly intimate nature of the data required to deliver realistic copies For people, including digital copies of our faces, bodies, and voices. This is a major obstacle to developing a comprehensive and user-friendly metaverse, especially when it comes to hyperrealistic content.
If we are going to integrate billions of people into virtual worlds, then content creators will need to use AI content creation algorithms trained on real-world data to create customized and immersive experiences at scale. But individuals must be willing to share their vital and private data with content creators; Otherwise, Metaverse might end up as nothing more than an endless Zoom call with a bunch of legless stumps floating around.
How to secure your super realistic identity in the metaverse
The arrival of the “hyper-realistic” metaverse is both exciting and disturbing. On the one hand, the metaverse will create immersive new ways of human expression and interaction. For example, the transition from analog phone calls to video conferencing only began 15 years ago, and quickly changed the quality of our interactions with family and friends around the world. Imagine how rewarding real-time, immersive and realistic “Encounters” can be when you really feel like you’re right there, face to face with your friends and loved ones.
On the other hand, there is the possibility for platform owners to collect new personal information and biometric data from users. Furthermore, bad actors may be able to create and use malicious content to exploit individuals and communities. Recent examples of these risks include political misinformation and the misuse of sexually explicit images targeting women. As we collectively explore how the metaverse will unfold, we all need to be diligent when it comes to user education, policy making, and the careful development of hyperrealistic technologies and artificial intelligence. Ultimately, the biggest challenge we face as we approach a hyperreal, AI-powered metaverse will be who controls user data and the safeguards we put in place to protect individuals.
The first principle of securing your hyperrealistic identity in the metaverse is positive affirmation of ownership of your private vital data. While it is up to governments to prevent criminals from stealing your data and identity, at the very least, you can use blockchain technologies to make a claim about your hyper-realistic identity and track its use by legitimate content creators. Imagine securing your biometric data behind a non-fungible (NFT) token that represents your hyper-realistic identity that only you can control. As you move between virtual worlds in the metaverse, you can use NFT as an authenticated login service and control which platforms can access your biometric data.
Consider virtual reality headsets, which are already capable of tracking users’ eyes, mapping their surroundings, and recording their voices. If participation in the metaverse is dependent on collecting these formats of vital data, we need to design systems to give individuals control over when and how their data is used. In this regard, Web3 tools, including blockchain and other unauthorized technologies, are essential to ensure data sovereignty in the metaverse because they are able to track custom content at scale without requiring users to blindly trust third parties with their biometric data.
Web3 will put individuals in control of their metaverse identity and biometric data
Attacking an individual’s personal identity in the real world is costly in terms of time, resources, and potential consequences. In today’s Internet context, the barrier to identity theft on a large scale has been greatly reduced, and millions of people fall victim to these attacks every year. Using Web3 tools, including NFTs and blockchains, to ensure the supremacy of individuals’ data in the metaverse is critical, as the deep personal details ingrained in this data create new opportunities for malicious actors to impersonate individuals and exploit our identities.
These risks are magnified in the metaverse. If an attacker can make your realistic digital avatar say or do anything and other users can’t tell if it’s really you, it becomes very difficult to combat fraud and build the networks of trust that are essential to healthy societies. The hyper-real metaverse will open up new opportunities to work and play in virtual spaces, but this can only happen if there is a profound transformation in the way data is exchanged and protected over the Internet.
While malicious actors will always be present in the metaverse, Web3 technologies can provide a set of positive-economy firewalls where individuals can safely share their vital data and safely appear as they are in metaverse content experiences. It is imperative that we create systems that enable individuals to control how they are represented in the metaverse and who can access their biometric data. These systems will make custom content creation a consensual and collaborative process between the companies that create the content and the individuals who participate in it. This is a profound shift from the incentive structures at the heart of the modern Internet and Web2, where the price of entry to the major platforms and the best products relinquish control of your personal information. For the first time, NFT tools, blockchains, and Web3 will allow users to participate in digital economies without having to give up control of their data.
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Tom Graham He is a lawyer turned internet and community researcher. In the seven years before co-founding Metaphysic, Tom, a serial entrepreneur, had built technology companies in San Francisco and London. He’s always been obsessed with computational imaging and computer vision and is now working alongside the best developers in space on the next evolution in how reality is built and perceived – one pixel at a time.