Ran innovation will have so quickly fascinated the economic world. Less than a year after Mark Zuckerberg formalized his intention to“opening a new chapter of the Internet” with the metaversewe are witnessing the rush towards this new virtual world.
Its main competitors – Microsoft, Amazon, Apple, Tencent… – have all announced massive investments to develop their own metaverse. And, it must be admitted, there are countless companies that have acquired a plot of land there without really knowing what to do with it.
Obviously, the metaverse is enthusiastic. What could be more normal for an innovation that brings together fiction and reality? Indeed, for more than twenty-five years, and the release of the book The Virtual Samuraiby Neal Stephenson (1996), the world of culture has never ceased to produce stories around a parallel digital world.
615 billion euros by 2030
However, the metaverse cannot be approached solely through fascination. This virtual world recasts human-machine interaction in unprecedented proportions. At point “transform almost everything in human life”according to the formula of the American anthropologist Tom Boellstorff.
At the heart of Web 3, it immerses the user in a situation where all the biometric and physiological data emitted by their body can be recorded and used by the technology. As Micaela Mantegna, professor of artificial intelligence (AI) ethics at Harvard, reminded us, “the metaverse is the point of convergence of the Internet, social networks and video games. It therefore concentrates the ethical issues that already existed with social networks, Internet governance and AI”.
Given these challenges, the potential of the market (estimated at 615 billion euros by 2030) and the fact that we have had all the trouble in the world to put an end to the “Digital Far West”, the hour n t is no longer in the census of brands having acquired the largest virtual plot of land. She is in control. That of Web 3 and, by extension, of the metaverse.
If the first two ages of the Web were mainly those of the large platforms, the third will be that of the citizen. Who would understand that, at a time when our societies are crossed by ethical debates and sustainability issues, Web 3 is exempt from them? This must be framed by guiding principles, in tune with our times. Namely the responsibility of AI, the protection of personal data and decarbonization.
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