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How can we anchor European values in the metaverse?

How can we anchor European values in the metaverse?

We’ve been hearing a lot, and regularly, about the accelerating development of the Metaverse in recent months. Everything that is brought to us here sounds very complex and it is not yet clear what exactly the Metaverse will look like.

Let’s go back to 1709 for a moment. Back then, the speed of technological progress was much slower than it is today. For example, if someone had a new idea, older generations could understand the idea and the context. These generations could then simply add their wealth of experience to such new ideas and bring their own values to the table. It was in 1709 that the French physicist, mathematician and inventor Denis Papin built a paddlewheel boat powered by a steam cylinder. From that day on, it was no longer necessary to propel such a ship with muscle power or sails. Instead, there was now a steam engine. Everyone could understand that. Older generations were quick to assess the impact of the mass deployment of such new ships and the social changes they brought.

Keeping pace with digitization is no longer quite so easy today. It is simply too complex for decision-makers in traditional industries, who are fully occupied with successfully running their day-to-day business, to keep up. Therefore, it is almost impossible for this generation to pass on their values to the next generation in the digital world. And they therefore have little chance of helping to shape the coming Metaverse.

As a business owner, you may be asking yourself: why should I take the Metaverse seriously or engage with it today? The answer is “corporate metaverse.” The European companies that are already at the forefront here today prove that we have the full potential of developers, solution providers, engineers and IT professionals here in Europe to help shape the enterprise metaverse.

But right now, we’re moving from the business-to-business to the consumer market here. Life and the tools we use are becoming more and more digital. And the most comprehensive digital you can imagine, combining different technologies, that’s the Metaverse. And everything is merging more and more into a unity of physical reality, augmented reality and artificial-virtual world.

Man can also merge with this world.

The metaverse is the physical Internet,” says cyberethicist Chris Bühler – users not only have access to the Net, but are “inside” it, skin and hair. Many Europeans are already constantly online. This will continue in the metaverse. An immersive second life can be lived here. And so there are many social implications, which we have discussed over the years with many protagonists of the international VR/AR scene, both from the perspective of the solution providers and the users. Um diese Auswirkungen gesellschaftlich zu adressieren, haben wir die Metaverse Europe Foundation gegründet. In establishing the Foundation, we are primarily concerned with preserving European values in the emerging metaverse. And I would like to list them again here: Human dignity, freedom, democracy, equality, the rule of law and human rights.

Many people today see the metaverse as a danger: corona crisis, war of aggression, inflation, climate change and now the metaverse? We believe that together we must develop a positive vision for the future of how society can deal with the metaverse. Before European sovereignty in the digital space can even be questioned, decision-makers need to understand what they are dealing with and what opportunities and also threats the metaverse offers. To this end, we provide them with recommendations for action and enable education, science, culture and companies to act in the market according to their value standards.

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