Metaverse murder could see gamers JAILED as UAE minister calls for real-life punishments
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COMMITTING murder in the metaverse could get you punished in the future – at least, that’s what one UAE official is pushing for.

Omar Sultan Al Olama, the United Arab Emirates minister of AI, earlier this week proposed that people who commit “serious crimes” in the metaverse be punished in the real world.

Committing murder in the metaverse could get you punished in the future if one UAE official has their way

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Committing murder in the metaverse could get you punished in the future if one UAE official has their wayCredit: Alamy

The metaverse describes a virtual world comprising gaming, social media, augmented reality, and cryptocurrency for an integrated user experience.

Initially made popular by Meta-CEO Mark Zuckerberg, now most tech giants have expressed their desire to create metaverses.

However, now concerns are growing among experts about the safety hazards associated with this technology.

While speaking at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland on Wednesday, Omar Sultan Al Olama said that the metaverse could pose safety risks previously unobserved.

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“If I send you a text on WhatsApp, it’s text right?” Al Olama said. “It might terrorize you but to a certain degree it will not create the memories that you will have PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) from it.”

“But if I come into the metaverse and it’s a realistic world that we’re talking about in the future and I actually murder you, and you see it … it actually takes you to a certain extreme where you need to enforce aggressively across the world because everyone agrees that certain things are unacceptable,” he added.

Al Olama implored the U.N.’s International Telecommunication Union to discuss setting universal safety standards for the metaverse.

The UAE official also added that “passporting” from one metaverse platform to another should be possible to have “some sort of interoperability.”

Chris Cox, the chief product officer at Meta (formerly Facebook) also reiterated at Davos that the world needs international standards when it comes to the metaverse.

“There will probably be something like a rating system, which we have for film, we have for music, we have for other types of content so that a parent or a young person can have some sense of what the rules are in the environment they’re going to walk into,” Cox said.

Safety concerns

The discussion at Davos about metaverse safety precautions comes shortly after Meta’s Horizon Worlds platform received criticism for not protecting users from harassment and virtual sexual assault.

Just this Wednesday, a 21-year-old female claimed her avatar was sexually assaulted in Horizon Worlds.

And earlier this year, a woman named Nina Patel recounted her harrowing experience in Horizon Worlds via a Medium blog post.

“Within 60 seconds of joining, I was verbally and sexually harassed [by] 3-4 male avatars, with male voices, essentially.

She continued to say that she was “virtually gang-raped” by the other avatars, who also took photos as she tried to get away.

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Patel described the ordeal as “surreal” and a “nightmare”.

Vicky Wyatt, a campaign director for corporate accountability group SumOfUs, said: “Rather than Facebook rushing headlong into building this metaverse, we’re saying look, you need to stop look at all the harms that are happening on your platforms right now that you can’t even deal with.”

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