Metaverse, law and technology: is there a limit to the virtual world?
Lúcia Helena Polleti Bettini, partner of Tortoro, Madureira & Ragazzi Advogados
The scientific and technological advances in the digital age and virtual reality are promoting profound changes in our lives and experiences, which are very close to what was proposed by quantum physics with Shrödinger’s experiment in the first half of the 20th century – 1935. That is, the possibility of being in more than one space at the same time, in our case, in real and virtual space. The most recent discussions about metaverse point us to an emerging situation and, according to Petry (2015):“Metaverse is in the course of the current events of civilization, as a result of conceptual, cultural and economic evolutionary technical process.”
In this context, it is said that we are already living these experiences that, modestly, were offered to us in games with the advent of the Internet, and more intensely as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, has established the precise and appropriate time for companies to present the multiple possibilities of parallel experiences according to the desires of each user, digital subject, with the justification to improve many aspects of life, especially in phase of social distance, according to their real or unreal needs, which guide a multitude of digital possibilities.
The metaverse appears as a parallel and emerging reality that comes anchored in the virtual world and internet, a place for the realization of various experiences, not physically, but virtually, through avatars that represent us, increasingly closer to our real appearance, with the sum of all the characteristics desired by the people who will participate in this digital experience.
Virtual shopping, meetings, concerts, trips, visits to stores, investments that even include the purchase of land in this virtual space, and multiple other possibilities are being offered, including the use of cryptocurrencies or by protocol of trust,blochchaim.
We reaffirmed great favor and acceleration by the pandemic scenario, in which there were strong restrictions until we received the vaccines.
The fact is that it is already happening at much higher levels than one might think and without much of the fears that real life presents, especially because of the security achieved in the process of digitalization, in which data is encrypted.
We seem to be approaching an ideal or at least idealized world, since, through imagination, both our characteristics and weak points can be suppressed or modified, without physical or psychic wear and tear, but not to the exclusion of financial ones. For we are identifying products and services, but in a different format or support, intangible that is given by the experience of extension of the real world, beyond it and without its limitations, with an infinity of sensations and possible situations that only the virtual world can offer.
The strong point of the use of the metaverse that meets the Brazilian Law of Inclusion and the social concept of people with disabilities is highlighted, who, through assisted technologies and virtue reality, go through life experiences in a more inclusive manner, with a decrease of negative discrimination that remove them from many interpersonal relationships and make it impossible experiences with and on the space.
Indeed, we are facing a great advance through technology that prepares the environment to receive the differences and make viable at the macro level the culture of the concept or social vision of human rights, which was conquered both in the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, and in the internal scope of our State, by the Brazilian Inclusion Law, Law No. 13.146/2015. Freedom can also be achieved by those with disabilities or functional limitations, very close to what happens by the character in the movie “Avatar”.
The digital space presents itself as an inclusive environment par excellence in this discussion of the implementation of the social concept of the disabled person.
We can also mention the experiences that are facilitators of environmental sustainability, from issues involving the reduction of pollution, clean energy, mobility in cities, among others, are made possible by small changes in behavior that favor economic development and the implementation of its founding principles and limits.
Still as a first observation, but with the identification of a weak point, it can be seen that, by the escape from facing reality, there is a negative reinforcement in maintaining the state of lack of self-knowledge, so important to seek our evolution and to take care of new challenges. However, they are offering us a virtual world that does not demand a deep search for the self, for the essence, in order to have interrelational experiences.
Is virtually correcting what we don’t like capable of bringing the psychic and moral improvement that we care for during the entire vital process? Would the lack of the real experiences bring us closer and closer to the liquid experiences as developed by Bauman and move us away from humanity?
Added to this is the application of the consumer protection and defense system, especially in what is fundamental to it and its principle, consumer vulnerability and, especially, misleading advertising. As a rule, we will not be in front of economically disadvantaged people, but the disadvantage can be found in other dimensions such as legal, educational-cultural, and such choices may lack the necessary awareness to enter the virtual world, where we supposedly leave strengthened by the withdrawal or improvement of physical, biological and emotional aspects that do not interest us.
In this context of lack of verisimilitude, the recognition of vulnerability and disadvantage in immersive and interactive narratives that are digitalized must, in addition to the constitutional references of data protection and consumer protection and defense, conform itself to thecompliance and codes of conduct to guide to respect the values that are very dear to our state.
I would like to point out that despite the reference to the digital world, instrumentalized by the Internet, the premise of the protection of liberties are the guiding principles of constitutional democracies, but there are limits expressed and resulting from the constitutional text to be observed and respected, therefore, we will not be attached to the micro system of the consumer defense, as to this are imperatively added the foundations and principles of the economic and financial order that must be combined with the references of the social order, such as the principles of radio broadcasting to the electronic media, that is, the metaverse must also be attached to the informational, educational and cultural character, permeated by the social values of the person and the family, besides, with its offer, providing the valuing of work, in order to promote social justice and dignified life.
Finally, living both realities, as proposed by quantum physics in Shröndinger’s experiment remains with the same limitation, because the observer can only pay attention to one of the lives, in the metaverse, the choice is also of the observer and participant of these relations, the virtual or the real one. Confusing these spaces is the problem, even though the digitalization process involves codification, which includes the digital subjects, it can only be solved by leaving the “Matrix”, that is, the choice belongs to the digital subject and the limits are very necessary and indispensable to avoid abuses and more difficulties with the evolutionary process of each one of us, because in the offer of products and services there is the intentionality of maintenance or over glorification of power, be it political or economic, both in the real and virtual world.