Tech and law experts explain “metaverse”

Tech giants like Facebook are toying with the idea of a metaverse
As tech giants and social media companies toy with the idea of a metaverse - people have questions that need answers.
Published: Mar. 2, 2022 at 9:09 PM EST
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MARQUETTE, Mich. (WLUC) - Many wonder how close we are to a “metaverse.”

The answer is simple. If you’ve ever put on a VR headset or joined a Zoom call – you’ve been in a type of metaverse.

The term refers to a created, digital reality you can interact in.

“People are looking at it as the new internet,” said Robert Shirlin, owner of the Edge of Reality Virtual Reality Arcade in Marquette. “[It’s] a new way to share information, to grow. To interact in ways we couldn’t have interacted in the past.”

Shirlin says more people must obtain the technology for metaverse interactions to become mainstream.

“That would create a larger world in which anybody can come in, create content, use content, buy and sell as if you would in the real world,” said Shirlin. “[You can] create a digital or alternate life.”

However, law enforcement is warning parents this platform may pose risks for children.

“There’s good parts of this, don’t get me wrong,” said Mark Giannunzio, Michigan State Police Negaunee public information officer. “But, when they’re using it, make sure you’re monitoring it. They shouldn’t be in their rooms by their selves behind a locked door using metaverse, or using the online gaming even.”

Users will have to watch out for fake accounts online. Especially when one could look and sound exactly like someone you know.

“All of the sudden, they’re talking to people they have no idea who they are,” said Giannunzio. “And these people are asking them to take pictures of themselves. Or, they’re harassing them or extorting them.”

Giannunzio says laws currently exist for cyber crimes and those would apply to any metaverse. He also suspects legislature will adapt over time.

“Because, the metaverse, as it is seen by a lot of people does not exist yet,” said Shirlin.

“It is an idea, a concept, and just like a lot of other concepts in the technology world – it starts as an idea,” continued Shirlin. “But, [it] grows and branches in so many directions that the original idea is lost.”

Shirlin says virtual reality worlds will likely look like the one we live in now.

But, as he mentioned – it is far too early to tell.

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