Last week was the XR Security Initiative’s third annual Metaverse Security Week (formerly known as XR Security Week). As always, the week kicked off with International Human Rights Day on December 10 and was followed by five days full of panels and talks, each day with a different theme related to security in an immersive environment.
See also: XR Safety Week Topics and Deals
We weren’t able to attend all of the Metaverse Security Week sessions live or watch the feeds fast enough to keep up with everything. But this article presents some of the highlights of the event.
Kavya Pearlman welcomes Metaverse to Security Week
Naturally, the event began with an opening speech by Kavya Pearlman, founder of XRSI. Perlman addressed the audience with her AltspaceVR avatar in a virtual model of the Taj Mahal, created especially for the event by design studio Chicken Waffle.
“For the 74th Human Rights Day, we have brought together world leaders, technology professionals, global regulators, policy experts, ethicists, ethics organizations, researchers and underrepresented voices,” Pearlman said. “Metaverse Security Week is so important as a point of reflection for all of us. We unite the world to protect the metaverse.
Metaverse version of “Pong”.
The first topic of discussion was Dr. Louis Rosenberg’s video on the Metaverse of Perfect Union. After the video, Rosenberg appeared on stage to further address some of the key security topics in the metaverse.
“When thinking about human rights in the metaverse, I think it’s useful to set the context just a little bit into the future – think about the 2030s. I say this because the work we do today really prepares us for the future. Rosenberg said. “Today really is the metaverse’s version of Pong.”
A little later, HTC China President and Global Vice President of Corporate Development Alvin Wang Graylin took the stage. Graylin’s presentation focused on lessons learned about immersive technologies. According to Graylin, today’s turmoil is the result of related technologies evolving together—a condition that creates opportunities for good and bad.
“As an industry, we need to educate the world and also watch out for bad actors and prevent them from doing the wrong thing.” Graylin said. “Instead of trying to create a closed world and take value off the table, we really need to work together to create open worlds that are interoperable.”
On the same day, the Minderoo Foundation announced the XR 2030 Policy Fund. The program “will award funding to researchers and civil society leaders who are developing next-generation digital media ecosystems to prioritize public interest values.”
Building a “Superworld”.
The second day opened with a discussion moderated by SuperWorld’s Hrish Lotlikar. Lotlikar told ARPost last summer, he wants the platform to be a “gateway” between the physical and virtual worlds. At Metaverse Security Week, he spoke about how emerging technologies can work together to make people feel more connected to the world around them.
“The point of decentralization is that it allows us all to become stakeholders in the environment we play in, work in, co-create.” said Lotlicar. “At SuperWorld, our vision is to improve society and build a better world, and we can do that with these technologies.”
The Metaverse for All certificate program was also launched that morning. The program, which will launch next year, will provide “an informative and educational course to illuminate the many ways the metaverse will change the world.”
How the metaverse will affect young people
The third day was about metaversal safety for children, and it started with a talk by representative Lori Trahan. Despite it being her first time at AltspaceVR, Trahan’s speech was moving.
“When we enter the metaverse, data about ourselves can be stored, accessed and used by people who will pay for our data to influence and manipulate us in real time. And as we all know, it could even be shared with third parties and governments without our knowledge. said Trahan. “That’s why we need comprehensive privacy legislation.”
Trahan pointed out that while data is a widespread security concern in the pervasive technology community, it’s an issue largely unrelated to the experience itself. We also need to consider interactions in immersive experiences as they happen.
“The high level of harassment in social media and video games has already become common in the metaverse,” said Trahan. “In fact, the harm we know all too well from platforms like Instagram, TikTok and Snapchat can often be seen in the metaverse, where the sense of immersion and physical presence can make these negative experiences even more visceral.”
And the Young One said…
Later that day, the “Youth Group” took the stage. The group consisted of five members of the International Children’s Art Foundation (ICAF) aged 13 to 23 and was led by the foundation’s founder, Ashfaq M. Ishak. The group offered a rare opportunity to hear young people talk about such meta-versal safety issues as the effectiveness of age restrictions.
One speaker noted that in her experience VR motion sickness disappeared as she got older, so not exposing children to VR too young can help them make a positive first impression. Another suggested that age restrictions might be less useful than a content warning system for VR experiences similar to movies and TV shows.
Perhaps the most compelling takeaway was that the metaverse might be about games or work for most people reading it, but for a growing number of young people, it’s also about socializing. This can create potential metaverse security issues with no immediate solutions.
See also: The best VR apps for communicating with friends
“Not building relationships through the metaverse is no longer an option. We have to rely on these new connections we’re making to be able to reach out,” said ICAF member Alaalitya Acharya. “When you’re communicating with someone through an avatar, what are some of the signs you should look out for just like when you’re meeting someone face-to-face?”
So then. Lot of. Content.
We tried to bring you as much as possible from Metaverse Security Week. And there are so many more that would have been worth presenting. But unfortunately, five day-long sessions averaging about eight hours don’t really fit into the article. If you want to explore it yourself, you can find the recordings on the XRSI YouTube channel.