Mainak Chaudhuri talks enthusiastically about the promise of technology as a young woman straps on her vest and headgear and enters a virtual world.
At this week’s VivaTech trade event in Paris, Chaudhuri of French start-up Actronika told AFP,
“This is the first step towards the metaverse.”
The vest can simulate being buffeted by the wind or feeling the breath of a monster on one’s back, and it can be utilized to improve movie watching, education, or gaming. It’s a family-friendly 3D immersive technology, now known as the metaverse.
It fits in nicely with some of the interactive experiences for kids that are currently widely accessible, such as virtual museum visits benefiting the future of the metaverse. However, activists and experts are increasingly warning that the larger ecosystem must begin acting on kid safety for the benign vision to be realized.
“The biggest challenge is kids are getting exposed to content that is not intended for them,” said Kavya Pearlman, whose non-profit XR Safety Initiative works to ensure that immersive 3D technology is safe for everybody.
Early users have already brought to major light difficulties, even though the metaverse has not yet been extensively embraced, and the 3D technology is still under development. Moreover, as the economic prospects have become evident, concerns about the future of 3D technology have intensified.
According to McKinsey, investments in the metaverse reached $50 billion last year, which is expected to quadruple more this year.
“We’re talking about absolutely colossal amounts of money; that’s three times more than the investment in artificial intelligence in 2017,” Eric Hazan, a McKinsey partner, told AFP.
The digital behemoth Meta, which owns Instagram, Facebook, and WhatsApp, is among the investors. The company has already implemented methods to allow parents more control over the information their children interact with while wearing virtual reality headsets or coming in contact with these 3D technologies.
Meta and several competitors sell immersive products with a 13-year-old minimum age requirement. However, Pearlman has a larger worry that little is understood about the potential consequences on young people’s development.
Valentino Megale, a neuropharmacologist who studies the metaverse topic, has transformed the paradigm. While the general public has thus far just enjoyed what others have generated, he claims that in the metaverse, “we will be part of the digital content.”
Experts fear the sector will need to be scrutinized before the rot takes hold. They say that the solution is to ensure that the creators of these new virtual worlds incorporate kid safety measures into their work ethics.
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