Can we stop the metaverse?

At the beginning of Web 2.0, we didn’t really understand what the influx of tech would mean for our lives. We didn’t realize that we would give up our privacy in exchange for convenience. We loved being able to connect with others, not knowing that our data would be used to document our behavior. To design apps that make us spend more time on every day so people can monetize adds.

We did not understand that technology could be used to undermine democracy.

And now we’re pivoting towards the metaverse, a virtual world that we don’t understand, built on a different set of technologies. The promise behind Web 3.0 is that we’ll do things better, that we’ve learned from our mistakes, and we’re headed towards a decentralized world for the people by the people.

But what tech’s leading minds want for us may not, in fact, be inevitable. To the contrary, for the billions that lived through the false promises of Web 2.0, the current moment presents an opportunity to both push back against tech, and also to craft a more compelling and egalitarian vision.

This is our moment to push back against the metaverse

But with the Trillion dollar companies throwing their weight behind it, it seems inevitable that we’ll once again end up in a place that we don’t understand, and where we can’t oversee the consequences. Or will we?

If one thing became clear in 2021, it’s that we can’t have an industry without oversight, where regulation is left solely to its owners. As more people get involved, accidents will happen, and governments will be forced take action. Regulators might work slowly, but they can have an outsized influence. Just think about the GDPR or countries banning crypto farms. 2022 promises to be an interesting year!