In the previous article on the Metaverse, I have discussed what the Metaverse is and how it can be accessed through the support of advanced technologies such as virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR), but also how brain-computer interfaces (BCIs) might be implemented to upgrade the future of the Metaverse, from gaming to healthcare.
In this article, I will discuss how human life might be if extended in the Metaverse.
What would be the consequence of uploading our bodies online? How can advanced technologies facilitate this process? Who will be willing to accept that? Which would be the ethical consequences? Which would be the consequences on human life, and how will it change? How will the Metaverse address cybersecurity and brain hacks?
The Brain in the Metaverse: the life extension
What if the Metaverse could extend our life? Ideally, eternal life would be within our grasp thanks to new digital technologies. Not surprisingly, Dmitry Itskov, a Russian billionaire, claims that it would be possible to upload the brain to the Metaverse and live for over 150 years! Indeed, the Daily Star reports say that he is part of the “2045 initiative” - a non-profit organization created to increase lifespan. According to the project, by 2045 artificial-based bodies will replace old bodies allowing people to move into new bodies through the support of the internet. Hence, by uploading their body and brain online, people would live eternally just with the help of AI and the Metaverse. "People will make independent decisions about the extension of their lives and the possibilities for personal development in a new body after the resources of the biological body have been exhausted," says Itskov in his initiative’s manifesto.
Mind-uploading is the concept that explains the brain extension in the Metaverse, where people can make digital copies of their minds that could live freely in cyberspace and not be affected by biology. Similarly, Elon Musk and his company Neuralink aim to generate brain-computer interfaces to upload whole brains digitally. Neuralink tried to connect the brain to a computer for a while, prototyping this idea on animals. Now they are ready to start clinical trials with humans seeking FDA approvals. Indeed, their initial objective is to let paralyzed or stroke-impaired individuals connect seamlessly with a computer or a smartphone to the web later on. This with the aim of restoring motor impairments and allowing freedom and empowerment. Elon Musk argued that just 4 chips implanted in the brain would be capable of picking up the electrical signal of underlying neurons and translating this into wireless communication by the mean of a computer or smartphone. However, in a long-term perspective, the goal would be to create a symbiosis between the brain and the computer merging human intelligence with artificial intelligence. This would certainly bring many concerns and questions. Who will be willing to accept that? Which would be the ethical consequences? What would be the consequences on human life, and how will it change? Questions that would definitely arise when genomics, bioengineering and AI are going to merge, tackling new territories. However, although others speculated about the use of technologies to extend life forever, they claim that we are still far from achieving it. Indeed, Tom Cheesewright said that technologies could “input out consciousness” into AI and VR but getting there is still far away.
Brainhacks and cybersecurity
Besides advanced technologies, in this article, I discussed the business opportunities that the Metaverse may bring and even the possibility of extending human life beyond the physical world. However, this virtual reality space may also raise concerns about who will police this new reality to ensure safety and well-being. Indeed, privacy is becoming the main concern thus raising so many questions. How will the Metaverse change human perception? Will the physical home be open to the virtual space and to everyone encountered in the Metaverse? Thinking in this way, the Metaverse goes beyond the traditional concept of privacy, leading to cybersecurity doubts and fears. For instance, how can we be sure we are interacting with the person we aim to? How do we know we have been hacked? Is the data secure, or has there been a leak? And today, we should not even think so far away. Today, homes have Alexa, which listens to anything that has been said, or the browser that can track anything we do on the internet.
The Metaverse world and technologies are probably moving too fast compared to the increasing need for appropriate privacy. Thus, how will metaverse companies address this issue? So far, the Metaverse represents a financial opportunity, although the need for privacy and data security is always what companies should consider. However, there is not enough being addressed. By contrast, as soon as the Metaverse becomes more mainstream, the probability of obtaining concrete centralized regulations is higher, even though challenges and doubts to overcome will always be right behind the corner.
“Virtual world exists and now after metaverse boom virtual world is developing very fast and time is not far away we all will start living in virtual world” (Anuj Jasani)
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