The Metaverse Faces Real-World Problems
April 1, 2022 – by Per Christensson
The metaverse is off to a rough start.
It was supposed to be an alternate reality — free from the stresses and conflicts of real life. But the virtual world can't seem to escape real-world problems. From gender identity to land disputes, people are already littering the digital landscape with garbage from everyday life.
For one, the metaverse promised to avoid issues of race and gender. After all, an avatar can be any character, from an alx to a zorb. But what pronouns does a zorb use? Certainly not "he" or "she," and the neutral pronoun "ze" is also not acceptable. Just ask Gottlebot-12, a self-identified zorb, who posted on Meta-Twitter:
For the last time @JuNeBuG_4, I'm not a "ze!" My pronouns are "blee/blur!"
Virtual neighborhoods, designed to be friendly gathering places, have become increasingly unpleasant. The Metanextdoor app is filled with complaints of suspicious hacking activity and people taking up too much bandwidth on the virtual streets. Digital property lines are notoriously hard to enforce, especially when Minecraft players keep building on top of them. And metaverse property doesn't have the same staying power as property in the real world. Tron-Z shared his frustration on Metagram:
I spent almost three months building my dream castle, then @Billybog7 destroyed the whole thing in five seconds with his stupid Fortnite character!
In some cases, virtual land disputes have risen to a level where entire metaverse nations are now at war. One emboldened leader has forced residents of a peaceful virtual country to flee as a cyberattack has reduced their online homes to piles of bits and bytes. Other virtual communities are struggling to formulate a response.
If that's not bad enough, the rapid user growth has caused the metaverse temperature to rise by 2° Celsenheight. Concerned members are planting more binary trees and encouraging other users to recycle their data. But computer scientists say the trend may already be irreversible.
Worst of all, a new virus has been wreaking havoc across the virtual world. Security experts quickly developed a software patch that was supposed to solve the problem. But even after the second and third patches, the virus is still running rampant in certain parts of the metaverse. Online officials have started to mandate software updates, but many users are reluctant to install them.
The metaverse was supposed to be a fun way for humans to escape from their daily woes. But there's one problem — it's filled with people.