Mark Zuckerberg’s vision of the metaverse involves people spending time in a virtual office, where they can work on projects, negotiate deals, and do other work-related tasks. However, they will do so through digital avatars that are part of the virtual world, according to meta, formerly known as Facebook. As more and more people are expected to join the metaverse for various purposes, such as work, education, social media, and entertainment, by 2026, it is essential to consider whether we want to be present as ourselves.
While it may seem natural to present oneself as their actual self in a professional setting, this assumption ignores the potential for more imaginative and creative approaches. For instance, virtual offices can be designed to be more fantastical and visually striking than their real-life counterparts. Similarly, the avatars people use to represent themselves can be dressed in more exciting outfits that reflect their personality or mood.
The metaverse is facing a paradox, with some proponents advocating for a digital replica of the real world, while others envision a virtual paradise where users can be someone else entirely. Both versions share a common challenge, which is the issue of digital identity. As more people begin to use the metaverse for various purposes, including work, education, and entertainment, users will be increasingly concerned about their privacy and how their actions are being tracked. This raises questions about the extent to which digital platforms can monitor their activities, and whether these actions in one virtual world could have consequences in another. As the metaverse continues to evolve, it is essential to address these concerns and develop a framework that prioritizes users’ digital rights and privacy.
Today, one’s social media activity can be used to assess their character. In the past, individuals have been called out for their past actions and behavior, such as Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who was criticized for wearing blackface in his youth. If everything were to be recorded in the metaverse, there would be a lot to uncover about an individual.
As a result, digital identity will become a key issue in the metaverse, just as it is on the 2D internet. Many people are pushing for anonymity and the right to be forgotten, especially in the European Union. In the future, it may be even more difficult to remove data from the metaverse, which could store much of an individual’s life experiences.
To preserve anonymity and privacy, digital IDs may need to be used in the metaverse, and private spaces that aren’t tracked will need to be created. People should be able to create avatars that don’t reflect their real-life appearance or identity to maintain the fantasy element of the metaverse.
Creating a metaverse that’s just a copy of our mundane lives would be unappealing and dull. Just like commuting to work, losing the fantasy element would make the metaverse an uninteresting place to log in to.