News hardware This is how the metaverse can flip your brain
The metaverse is still not back in mores, but it is already the subject of dystopian theories. According to an expert in artificial intelligence, the virtual 3D world could be the scene of large-scale manipulations, in particular thanks to deepfakes
We won’t tell you anything, the metaverse is not yet relevant, even after the integration of Facebook’s Meta in multiple countries. While it’s not yet part of our daily lives, several experts are starting to ponder different hypotheses regarding certain twists and turns of the metavers.
In addition to the recreational and professional aspects attributed to it, the metaverse will certainly be the site of malicious actions like the web we know today. So some are already trying to understand the issues surrounding this digital world long before it was massively adopted. The goal is to be able to find solutions when the metaverse will be populated by a large part of the terrestrial population.
In this regard, several cybersecurity experts have already warned about the presence of a potential dark web on the metaverse: the darkverse.
This time it is computer scientist Rand Waltzman who warns against the misuse of deepfakes in the metaverse. Through his consultancy and research institute “RAND Corporation”, the artificial intelligence expert explains that metaverses like Meta can be the perfect environment to take advantage of deepfakes.
“Virtual reality environments will allow psychological and emotional manipulation of users at a level unimaginable in today’s media. explains the expert in a press release from the RAND Corporation.
Manipulators can impersonate a public figure using deepfake technology to run disinformation campaigns. If this kind of process already exists in the current web, the effect of this kind of manipulation could be greatly accentuated in the metaverse.
Indeed, the metaverse aims to simulate a real immersion in a parallel world using virtual reality. In that sense, many users will have the illusion of living a second digital life. According to the RAND Institute, this digital doppelganger could see his ideological integrity if he relies on certain avatars he encountered in his experiments in the synthetic world.
To illustrate his observations in other circumstances, Rand Waltzman draws on a series of experiments conducted by Stanford researchers. In particular, the research shows that by modifying a politician’s characteristics and physical characteristics to look like a potential voter, he is able to collect more votes from voters.
With these elements, the computer scientist transcribes the experience into the metaverse. In particular, it highlights the ease with which you can customize your avatar by using a deepfake trick on the metaverse. Thus, by customizing his avatar face, a candidate could harvest votes by manipulating each voter’s perception.
Nevertheless, we may wonder if the metaverse is really the problem, since a candidate’s physique, and even more so when it’s virtual, matters less than the ideas being conveyed…
Also, while it’s almost certain that the metaverse will be the subject of political and other communication campaigns in the future, the virtual world in 3D must largely gain in realism to allow for this kind of manipulation. Indeed, ideological manipulation via deepfakes does not seem appropriate in an environment that does not convey any illusion of immersion. For now, users remain skeptical of the digital world’s visual promise, such as recent criticism of Horizon World.