On wildlife and the Metaverse, some ethical considerations (commentary)

On wildlife and the Metaverse, some ethical considerations (commentary)

In the fight against climate change, will the Metaverse be helpful or hinder environmental efforts?  Essentially an updated internet and virtual world where participants can pose as avatars and interact with others inside a three-dimensional simulation, the Metaverse relies on artificial intelligence (AI) and virtual reality (VR), both of which require wasteful data processing. Hailed as a more realistic version of the internet, the Metaverse allows people to forge social connections while conducting business, purchasing real estate, exchanging crypto-currency, trading artwork and other digital assets in the form of non-fungible tokens (NFTs) and playing video games.  In addition to Meta (formerly Facebook), other heavy-hitters have expressed interest in creating their own worlds, including Microsoft (which recently made a bid to purchase video game company Activision), Apple and Disney. On the one hand, the Metaverse may allow physical events and activities to take place online, thus cutting down on carbon emissions resulting from travel. Flight simulations could cut down on pollution, architectural simulations may help to shape the future of green cities, and scientific simulations might assist in the fight against climate change. On the other hand, though the Metaverse is still in its infancy, the new technology could spell increased problems for climate in the event such technology truly takes off. Indeed, the Metaverse will require a global computer infrastructure which is 1,000 times more powerful than present consumption. Reportedly, AI language processing models will push Metaverse carbon emissions through the roof, since they require astronomical amounts of electricity. With…This article was originally published on Mongabay

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