The Scientific Technical Center of Roskomnadzor, the federal agency responsible for monitoring mass media, published a report last week assessing the potential risks and potential of VR where people can interact across national borders.
The possibility of new restrictions on virtual reality (VR) is being considered by Russian regulators, who say they are concerned that it could enable illegal activity while recognizing that the so-called “metaverse” also offers new possibilities for human interaction.
The term “metaverse,” derived from science fiction, refers to three-dimensional virtual worlds that focus on human social connection and are increasingly the focus of tech companies, including U.S. company Facebook, which recently rebranded itself as Meta.
According to the report, the metaverse could lend itself to illegal transactions conducted in cryptocurrencies, including trade between people of different nationalities that could violate border regulations.
The authors of the report claim that virtual spaces would be ripe for drug trafficking or trafficking of other prohibited substances.
The report also raises concerns about the impact of virtual interaction on human behavior. The authors write that “the transformation of perception due to being isolated in the metaverse will have a substantial cultural impact on society and will change social behavior, including a reduction in the importance of moral norms due to the use of an avatar (virtual character).”
They warn that this could particularly affect children, “the most vulnerable group in the new meta-universe”.
As well as assessing the potential risks of virtual reality, the report also provides an overview of its potential, including the growth of new markets, such as increased demand for video games and online forms of entertainment.
The authors also argue that increased online life has enabled new forms of political activity and cite Greta Tunberg, the activist who raised awareness of the dangers of climate change using her online profile.