This post is adapted from Alan Smithson’s “The Metaverse Manifesto” over on Medium; check it out here.
Over the next decade, the Metaverse is set to unlock massive opportunities for billions of people, regardless of their race, religion, sex, or geography. New categories of jobs, communications, and even economies will grow from thought experiments to full-blown industries in the blink of an eye. If you are new to the Metaverse, here is an excellent primer from Matthew Ball.
This document serves as a set of fundamental principles on how we might build and conduct ourselves in the Metaverse, to ensure every person on Earth can participate in a meaningful way to the future we are all building together.
NOTE: This is a working document that will be updated with your input. Please comment below to add your two cents, thanks.
The Metaverse (also referred to as Web3 in some circles) is a combination of a number of exponential technologies building on the infrastructure of the internet to provide a new set of tools that Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg referred to as an ‘embodied internet.’ Simply put, the Metaverse is the internet, but you can go into it (VR) or it can come out to you (AR). As with any new technology we invent, there will be unintended consequences, which require us to stop and think, ‘what is the future we all want to see?’
There are three exponential technologies that underpin the Metaverse; XR x AI x Blockchain. Each one of these areas of expertise has its own community, culture, and intrinsic values. These have been considered in the creation of this document, to ensure a comprehensive set of principles from which to start. In addition to this document, it is highly recommended reading ‘The Unintended Consequences of Technology’ by Chris Ategka.
Fundamental Metaverse Technologies
- XR (Extended Reality)= 3D, Avatars, Communication, VR/AR/MR, Volumetric Capture, Haptics, Scent, Spatial Audio, Game Engines.
- AI (Artificial Intelligence)= Computer Vision, Natural Language Processing (NLP), Simultaneous Location And Mapping (SLAM), Automated Content Creation, Suggestion Algorithms.
- Blockchain = Non-Fungible Tokens (NFT’s), Cryptocurrency (BTC, HBAR, ETH), Smart Contracts (ETH, HBAR, , Distributed Autonomous Organizations (DAO’s), Digital Land, Decentralized Finance (DeFi).
The core principles of the Metaverse — those of universality and decentralization, and its all-encompassing vision of managing and securing our identity, history, communications, and payments in virtual worlds and in real ones — creates massive opportunity for startups and large organizations alike, but the future of how we should build and act in the Metaverse is something we are all responsible for, regardless of what role we play in the ecosystem. Every investment, line of code, avatar, environment, and interaction can bring us together, or tear us apart. It is up to all of us to make the Metaverse the ultimate platform for humanity’s growth and evolution.
The precursor to the Metaverse, the Internet, changed the world around us in fundamental ways, to the point that it is essential to living in society; “The free flow of information has become so important to all of us that in 2011 the United Nations declared ‘access to the Internet’ a fundamental human right.” Peter H. Diamandis, Abundance: The Future is Better Than You Think.
Guiding Principles of the Metaverse
- Open, Universal, and Interoperable
- Technology Standardization
- Diversity is Essential
- Equal Respect for Everyone
- Honesty & Openness
- Decentralization & Global Governance
- Transparency & Accountability
- Fair Exchange of Value
- Relentless Pursuit of Truth
- Data Sovereignty, Governance, and Privacy
- Technology Can Solve the World’s Challenges
- Risk-Taking Investments in the Future
Recently, Unity’s Tony Parisi released his Seven Rules of the Metaverse. Rules #2, 3 and 4 stand out as the most important in this document;
- Rule #1. There is only one Metaverse.
- Rule #2: The Metaverse is for Everyone.
- Rule #3: Nobody Controls the Metaverse.
- Rule #4: The Metaverse is Open.
- Rule #5: The Metaverse is Hardware-Independent.
- Rule #6: The Metaverse is a Network.
- Rule #7: The Metaverse is the Internet.
The Metaverse will be inhabited by all of us, will create new economies, and unlock remote work for billions of people that can now participate thanks to technology and the fundamental human desire to build, collaborate, learn, and understand. The entire pyramid of Maslow’s human needs (after the physiological ones are accounted for) can be provided in the Metaverse.
“It will be the beginning of tearing down the barriers not just between platforms, but between games.” Tim Sweeney, CEO of Epic Games
Ensuring transparency, trust, partnership, and inclusion are of paramount importance in the Metaverse. By understanding that technology serves humanity — not the other way around — we can build products and services that have the opportunity to improve the lives of billions, and create a global network of humans all working towards the betterment of society, humanity, and our planet.
Three Pillars for Sustainable Growth
- Environmental: Earth is our only home, there is no Plan B. We can use the technology we build to allow average people to become superhuman, to start making real positive change to save our Earth. We must do this soon.
- Social: Creators, customers, employees, investors, and shareholders are all people like each of us, and deserve to make a decent living, and enjoy freedom and safety to raise a family and grow as humans in the Metaverse, as well as in the real world. We should use our power and positions as pioneers of this new digital frontier to ensure that people are at the centre of all decisions.
- Economic: The world is in an exponential phase of growth. We are discussing economics — and even companies — in terms of trillions, and this will accelerate. The next decade will create enormous wealth for some, and bring billions of others out of poverty. It is imperative that we strive for a more fair and equitable distribution of the opportunities that the Metaverse will create.
Metaverse Code of Ethics
“Ethics and Science need to shake hands” Richard Cabot, Physician & Teacher
1. Transparency Makes Everything Better.
By being transparent about everything we are building, and soliciting the opinions and insights of others, we can build a foundation of trust between platforms, governments, creators, consumers, and brands. Decentralized and distributed ledgers will allow all transactions to be verified, but this alone will not prevent fraudulent actors. It is us — you and I — that are responsible to help make transparency a priority.
2. It All Starts with Trust
Trust is the bedrock from which society is built. If we cannot trust each other, the very fabric of our way of life begins to unravel. From fake news and deep fakes, to AI suggestion algorithms and anonymous avatars, we must ensure that trust remains between creators and consumers, as well as inhabitants of the Metaverse, at all times.
3. One World, One Metaverse
Whether you are an investor, customer, creator, shareholder, or passive bystander, the Metaverse will impact you and your life, just as it will billions of others. We are all on this spinning rock together, and we need to strive for aligned outcomes to build long-lasting value-based relationships, where everyone prospers from our collective success.
4. Inclusion is Everything
The Metaverse must be human-centred. We should strive to ensure that new technologies are approachable and easy to understand, and comfortable to use by everyone, from anywhere, on any device. It is through the diversity of creators and developers that the true power of the Metaverse will unleashed.
5. Avatars are Real People
No matter what you were able to do under the guise of anonymity, the type of virulent behaviour we have witnessed in the past cannot and should not be tolerated in the Metaverse. Harassment of any type should be immediately dealt with and the penalty for offenders should be removal from the Metaverse for a period of time, followed by permanent removal should subsequent instances occur.
6. Ponzi Schemes Should be Highly Discouraged
As with any shiny new technology, serious investment is quickly followed by speculation, which leads to bubbles in valuations that can quickly leave unsophisticated investors broke. We cannot afford to have economies and livelihoods threatened by unscrupulous actors looking to make a quick buck. As with other offenders, the consequences of scammers and spammers should include blacklisting from the Metaverse, in addition to swift legal actions.
The theory of blockchain is self-governed, void of regulation; but in practice, the rule of law and the position of government still prevail, so act accordingly.
7. Ethics & Values Are Up to All of Us.
We must strive to protect the sanctity and availability of this transformative technological revolution by making the Metaverse accessible, safe, and secure for everyone on the planet. We are at the edge of the exponential curve of the most incredible technological revolution in human history. The next decade will define our lives in an age of AI, robots, interplanetary options, extreme climate problems, exponential growth of everything, and 8.5b humans all living on the same planet together.
“Earth provides enough to satisfy every man’s needs, but not every man’s greed” — Mahatma Gandhi
The Metaverse is a place where we can build, learn, play, work, collaborate, and trade together with anyone else on Earth, unencumbered by language differences, showing up as our true selves, being compensated based on value creation and afforded the same opportunities regardless of geography. We stand at the precipice of a new era built by the people, for the people, but we need to adhere to these principles and ethics as the minimum bar from which to create a new world where people can grow as fast as the technology that serves them.
These guidelines are meant inspire conversation about how to build a more ethical, sustainable, human internet, but everything above can be condensed into one fundamental principle:
The Metaverse is for everyone.
As long as we never forget this one quintessential principle, and act with respect and kindness, the future is ours to create, knowing that we are building the best Metaverse we possibly can.
NOTE: If you have additional comments, additions, etc. please feel free to have an open discussion in the comments, highlight anything that stood out to you and please share this document with everyone that is building Web3.0, colloquially known as the Metaverse.