Opinion| Metaverse: Game of Mood Management & Psychological Mapping!

Opinion| Metaverse: Game of Mood Management & Psychological Mapping!

The term metaverse was coined in 1992 by science fiction writer Neal Stephenson in his novel Snow Crash. Its most basic definition refers to “the concept of a fully immersive virtual world where people come together to socialize, play, and work.”

It represented a parallel virtual reality universe created from computer graphics, which users from all over the world could access and connect to through glasses and headphones.

The metaverse concept recently publicized by Facebook’s rebrand as Meta will revolutionize how we interact with the world. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said that “the next generation of the Internet is metaverse” and that existing social media will come under the umbrella of this new wave.

He describes the metaverse as “a virtual environment where you can present yourself with people in digital spaces. You can kind of think of this as an embodied internet that you’re inside, rather than just looking at.”

The major problem of professional and academic Egyptian media treatment regarding the metaverse is flattening, either by limiting its risks to health and physical problems, or by posing a danger at the level of security penetration.

Some experts in Egypt still talk about the metaverse as if it is some kind of imagination and that it will not easily reach our world due to poor technical infrastructure.

Opinion|  Metaverse: Game of Mind Management and Psychological Mapping!

The truth is that Generation Z, according to the theory of diffusion of innovations, will be more receptive to it out of their passion for online games and entertainment value and of course human curiosity about exploring metaverse worlds.

Talking about the metaverse does not only include the technical and material capabilities and their limits, but the matter goes beyond that, because sooner or later the technology will soon be subject to the law of supply and demand and this technology will become cheaper and closer to citizens.

When this happens, the countries that consume this technology will become a valuable treasure trove of data and information trade for the countries that produce the technology.

We face a number of challenges related to metaverse-based immersive technologies. Both technologies are persuasive and can influence users’ cognition, emotions, and behavior

Ethical issues include unauthorized supplementation and fact manipulation versus biased views. Data collection and sharing with other parties poses the risk with the broadest implications in terms of privacy.

The additional layer of data can emerge as a potential cybersecurity threat. Volumetric capture and spatial docking can lead to privacy violations.

More importantly, metaverse actors may be tempted to construct users’ biometric psychographics based on user data emotions. These profiles can be used for unintended behavioral inferences that fuel algorithmic bias. High-fidelity AR or VR environments and violent representations can cause traumatic experiences.

Data ethics, AI algorithms and deep learning techniques can be used to create VR deep fake avatars and identity theft. The immersion with interaction in 3D virtual worlds in metaverse leads to the additional affordances of identity construction, presence and co-presence.

Some of the major concerns in social cognitive and neurological research fields are the identification with one’s avatar in metaverse can have a profound psychological impact on behavior and learning; embodied experiences as avatars in virtual reality spaces have a direct influence on human behavior and transfer to the physical world.

The embodied digital identity and the ability to engage with the environment and virtual objects in multiple points of view, such as the third-person perspective, creates the psychological feeling of being in a space, experiencing presence.

Presence or telepresence is the perceptual illusion of non-mediation. The psychological illusion of non-mediation implies that users fail to recognize the existence of a medium that intervenes in their communicative environment.

The adoption of passive profile technology by metaverse developers who use the push technology to ensure that their users are targeted with the appropriate psychographic profiles.

Passive profiling technology uses the search words, emotion, interaction with VR headsets that users wear to build the psychographic profile of the user.

Researchers who have worked on passive profiling technology find that some individuals do not prefer to be less engaged with multimedia content streaming to their VR headsets, but they want to actively search for content. Researchers then somehow changed their method so that they controlled what appeared to the users’ headers.

The mood of a nation is the measure used by the people, and it shows the extent to which countries can succeed or fail. A nation whose psychological mood is sick, its national security becomes unbalanced as the shaken citizen can easily be misled in any direction. When the general mood is desperate, national security in its general sense is disturbed.

For example, a country can direct public opinion and measure it, but it cannot do this with public mood. There is another important and vital difference – and it can be more dangerous – which is that the public mood is not in the interest of the governments to notice and see, but they measure its repercussion or implications without notice.

The metaverse is an intriguing shift from simply controlling what you see or read specific content to make you adopt a certain behavior or to influence your emotions and feelings to the ability to create and shape feelings that are not in the first place does not exist, and here is the era of psychological warfare and the management of self-conflict within the user.

The encouragement of suicide, the spread of a culture of indifference, polarization and the glorification of violent acts as a matter of fame and recognition are some of the concerns arising from the possible consequences of the metaverse.

The naked truth about the metaverse is that there is a question of complex psychological and spiritual effects that require the utmost efforts of communication and media scientists, neuroscientists, brain sciences and security experts to develop an integral educational and media model to deal with the metaverse. , especially among youths and adolescents.

This requires real continuous awareness campaigns (seminars, integrated marketing, mentoring, orientation, symposiums, etc.) directed at homes, schools and universities, otherwise we will find ourselves in volatility traps of general mood swings, psychological wars and their serious repercussions, which we will don’t notice until it’s too late.

* Sara Fawzy is a lecturer at Faculty of Mass Communication, Cairo University

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