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Serious crime in the metaverse should be outlawed by the U.N., UAE minister says


A Meta Oculus Quest 2 headset-wielding attendant on a virtual tour at the Mobile World Congress. South Korea has been betting heavily on the metaverse, however there is much uncertainty about the future direction of the industry.

Getty Images| Nurphoto | Getty Images

According to the minister of state in artificial intelligence, the United Arab Emirates, new laws must be made to stop people from engaging in crimes like “murder” within the metaverse.

A virtual world in which people live, work, and play through an avatar is called the metaverse. Although it doesn’t exist, tech companies have invested billions in developing this technology. However, there are safety issues associated with the technology’s development.

Omar Sultan Al Olama spoke Wednesday at the World Economic Forum, Davos Switzerland. He said that the real nature of any metaverse could enable people to terrorize in ways not currently possible.

“If you send me a WhatsApp message, it will be text. Al Olama said. It might make you feel scared, but it won’t cause you to have PTSD (posttraumatic stress disorder).

He said, “But if you come into the metaverse that’s a real world and I actually kill you, then it takes you to an extreme that you have to enforce aggressively around the globe because everyone agrees certain things are unacceptable.”

Al Olama asked the International Telecommunication Union (the U.N.’s special agency for information-communication technologies) to hold a discussion about setting global safety standards that all people should adhere to, regardless of their location. Common standards exist on the internet to prevent child pornography and drug trafficking.

CNBC spoke with the ITU, but it was not available immediately.

Al Olama stated that it is possible to transfer from one metaverse platform into another. So if Meta creates something, and Magic Leap creates another,… they must have some kind of interoperability.”

Chris Cox from Atlantis, chief product officer, spoke at the same session. Meta(formerly Facebook) stated that the global community needs to have international standards for the metaverse.

Cox explained that it will be similar to a rating system for movies, music, and other kinds of content. “This is so parents, or young children, can get a sense of the rules in their environment,” Cox added.

Cox spoke out about monetizing metaverse. He said that Meta would generate revenues through advertisements. Cox stated, “If you need free services on a large scale, then advertising is the right business model.”

Philip Rosedale who founded Second Life virtual world platform, stated on the panel that ads should be removed from the metaverse. The (advertising models) that make predictions and suggest things for you and manipulate your behavior, should not be moved. It’s a great risk,” he stated.

Rosedale stated that the model needed to function in the metaverse is one that charges fees or transactions, and not an ads model.

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