The European Union (EU) plans to take a more proactive approach to developing virtual worlds. The objective is to support EU businesses and reduce reliance on tech resources outside the EU. This strategic plan aims to bring the concept of a ‘Metaverse‘ into Europe’s digital future.
EU’s Approach to Virtual Worlds
The European Union (EU) is emphasizing the development of, what they call, “Web 4.0” and virtual worlds that leverage 3D and extended reality (XR) technologies to create immersive environments. Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) have requested the Commission to review the existing digital regulations regularly and to create new ones as necessary.
Pablo Arias Echeverría, an important EU figure, said, “Europe cannot afford to lag behind in the next digital revolution nor can we repeat past mistakes. As we step into Web 4.0 with the development of virtual worlds, we have to lay a foundation rooted in strong EU digital rules, guiding principles and values. Europe has to lead this transition, placing citizens at the heart of our digital future!”
At present, only a handful of non-EU companies have a significant influence over creating virtual worlds. Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) believe that the EU should take charge and ensure that virtual worlds reflect EU values and standards. They also propose making it easier for European businesses to enter this field, promoting responsible use of technology among the public, and encouraging international dialogue.
Looking at the Benefits and the Risks
Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) see significant potential in virtual worlds, especially for the economy, employment, and education. They believe that investing in infrastructure and innovation is crucial. However, they also have concerns about the health implications that may arise due to the use of these technologies, such as addiction and the adverse effects on children’s brain development. Additionally, they are worried about data protection, cyber violence, and financial scams.
The preliminary report suggests the importance of ensuring that virtual worlds are designed safely and have parental controls. It also includes plans for information campaigns and promoting digital literacy. The report calls for more research into potential risks and making these virtual worlds open and inclusive for everyone, including people with disabilities.
Furthermore, this report is in line with the European Commission’s plans for the future of the metaverse. It emphasizes establishing new standards and regulations in these digital spaces. The Commission considers virtual worlds a crucial part of a future where Europe fully engages in the digital world.
As the EU prepares for the metaverse’s integration into our daily lives, the focus on safety and EU standards is paramount. This approach aims to safeguard users while recognizing the metaverse’s potential, ensuring its development aligns with the EU’s vision of a secure and inclusive digital future.