The virtual world of The Metaverse has already dealt with its fair share of sexual harassment and thievery. But what happens when Metaverse Murders become the next big crime? And what in the Hell does that even mean?
United Arab Emirates cracks down on Metaverse Murders
Via CNBC, Metaverse Murders are at the top of the list of issues for the United Arab Emirates. Despite not being possible in most of the established “Metaverse” platforms of today, the virtual crime of killing another human may end up being punishable in real life.
The UAE’s AI minister Omar Sultan Al Olama told the World Economic forum that the digital crime should be punished. Al Olama claimed that all “serious crimes” committed virtually should be physically punished, including killing.
Al Olama explained:
“If I send you a text on WhatsApp, it’s text right? It might terrorize you but to a certain degree it will not create the memories that you will have PTSD 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.”
Some of the AI Minister’s views may be reasonable. For example, online harassment and sexual harassment can be identical to in-person harassment. Additionally, virtually stealing something is exactly the same as stealing something, as long as it’s not a game where the entire purpose is to steal, so that should carry consequence. However, he is also out of his mind.
If you’re jailed in The Metaverse, you’re jailed in real life
Of course, Al Olama’s wish for Metaverse murders to be punishable as if they were real comes from a massive misinterpretation of what the virtual world is. While companies like Meta want people to live and work in the Metaverse, they wouldn’t be able to actually kill each other. It’s not Sword Art Online.
Essentially, the AI minister wants to punish people for killing people in video games — a place where death results in a respawn. Should you be punished for playing Call of Duty? No, of course.
On the other hand, this isn’t entirely to blame on Al Olama. The AI Minister’s misunderstanding of The Metaverse comes down to how loosely defined the virtual world is. While one day it may be a huge Ready Player One platform that governs everything, it’s currently just a VR social platform.