Even before NFTs and the metaverse get a proper mainstream holding, we are already hearing of strange and maybe criminal occurrences.
A woman has come forward and claimed that her avatar was sexually assaulted inside Mark Zuckerberg’s metaverse.
Nina Jane Patel, a vice president of research at a rival metaverse, says she wanted to look inside Facebook/Meta’s virtual venues, and within 60 seconds of joining, was verbally and sexually harassed by 3 or 4 male avatars, with male voices.
“[They] virtually gang raped my avatar and took photos — as I tried to get away they yelled — “don’t pretend you didn’t love it” and “go rub yourself off to the photo”,” she wrote on a Medium post.
She added that the ordeal happened so fast, making her freeze. She then ripped off her headset to end the experience.
Ms Patel goes on to argue Metaverses should not be seen as fiction, since they are meant to provide immersive experiences that simulate real life. She is sad that the current state of VR is driven by people who see it as fiction and not an extension of real life.
This brings me back to is it real? — is the Metaverse, or are the Metaverse(s) in current development, intended to be real or not?
If the purpose of Virtual Reality (the current mode of human-computer interaction for immersive experiences) is to simulate real life — and it has essentially been designed to viscerally, with all 5 senses (yes, smell can be included), as real as technology permits — then we are designing non-fiction.
And I’m also sad. Sad that the current state of VR has been predominantly (and yes I know there are positives forces out there) has been heavily driven by proponents of VR is fiction — violence, sexual fantasies, and to be quite frank — hate.Nina Jane Patel
As this virtual world become more and more mainstream, many ethical questions will arise. Right now however, it is evidently clear that we are nowhere near close to a consensus on whether the same laws of the land can apply on virtual lands.
This will certainly be a regulatory nightmare.