SAN FRANCISCO — Chanelle Siggens recently strapped on an Oculus Quest virtual reality headset to play her favorite shooter game, Population One. Once she turned on the game, she maneuvered her avatar into a virtual lobby in the immersive digital world and waited for the action to begin.
But as she waited, another player’s avatar approached hers. The stranger then simulated groping and ejaculating onto her avatar, Ms. Siggens said. Shocked, she asked the player, whose avatar appeared male, to stop.
“He shrugged as if to say: ‘I don’t know what to tell you. It’s the metaverse — I’ll do what I want,’” said Ms. Siggens, a 29-year-old Toronto resident. “Then he walked away.”
The world’s largest tech companies — Microsoft, Google, Apple and others — are hurtling headlong into creating the metaverse, a virtual reality world where people can have their avatars do everything from play video games and attend gym classes to participate in meetings. In October, Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook’s founder and chief executive, said he believed so much in the metaverse that he would invest billions in the effort. He also renamed his company Meta.
Yet even as tech giants bet big on the concept, questions about the metaverse’s safety have surfaced. Harassment, assaults, bullying and hate speech already run rampant in virtual reality games, which are part of the metaverse, and there are few mechanisms to easily report the misbehavior, researchers said. In one popular virtual reality game, VRChat, a violating incident occurs about once every seven minutes, according to the nonprofit Center for Countering Digital Hate.
Bad behavior in the metaverse can be more severe than today’s online harassment and bullying. That’s because virtual reality plunges people into an all-encompassing digital environment where unwanted touches in the digital world can be made to feel real and the sensory experience is heightened.
Tout ceci n’est pas sans rappeler les début des MMPORG, avec ce viol en ligne qui avait fait la une du Village Voice. La première partie du monde réel à grimper dans le métaverse sera certainement la plus dégoûtante. Direct dans les mirettes, en attendant que l’on branche cela directement dans le cerveau.