World Economic Forum (WEF) has rightly put the technology revolution as the fourth industrial revolution, which led the whole generation on the cusp of shift with the introduction of new technology. Fourteen years back, who believed that Apple would come up with the concept of an iPhone and take the world by storm with its breakthrough offering that kept the generations hooked to the touch operating panel, providing a seamless experience like none other.
WEF stated, “there are four main effects that the Fourth Industrial Revolution has on business – on customer expectations, on product enhancement, on collaborative innovation, and organizational forms.”
Pandemic accelerated the growth of video meetings and hybrid working became the new norm. Following suit, Apple is all set to roll out a new virtual/mixed reality (VR/MR) headset, catering to the need for improved virtual interaction and immersive business experiences.
The dawn of metaverse
Thomson Reuters article, “The metaverse is coming: Is the legal Market prepared?”, states that web 3.0 is developing and blockchain, an immutable database to store information, paving the way to cryptocurrency that soon became a tokenised digital asset for the exchange. The same can be proven via code on an immutable ledger. The tokenisation of assets is a notion that states that anything tangible, or more importantly, digital, can be verified and has authority through code on an immutable ledger.
The latest development is Non-Fungible Token (NFT), which is an authentic representation of ownership. The same is used for the purchasing of digital art, houses, etc., in the realm of virtual or mixed reality.
Metaverse created a buzz when Mark Zuckerberg introduced it as the future of social networking and interaction. It soon became the talk of the tech world as the envisioned future to the extent where Facebook has changed its name to Meta.
Legal industry entering the verse
Many publications have already covered the inclusion of the law firms into the metaverse, decentraland, and other virtual grounds. Firms have begun to buy lands, build their own virtual offices, and project their presence. Also, firms have started accepting cryptocurrency backed by blockchain technology to become future-proof.
Our blog, “The Metaverse | The New Disruption for the Legal Industry”, states the metaverse’s future landscape in the legal industry.
Metaverse – Is it legally ready?
AltLaw’s article, The Metaverse and The Law (altlaw.co.uk), states that since nothing is 'real' in the metaverse, there is a need to evaluate how far the law can be applied and extended to property and situations that do not technically exist.
Further, it is exemplified based on property, data privacy, and the criminal law the implication of the virtual world on real-life laws.
Instances of criminality using Virtual World have been pressing points of late. Hackers, hoodlums, and virtual goons are exploiting loopholes in the virtual world, invading the privacy of human avatars, leading to the situation of physical and mental assaults.
AltLaw also reveals that with the advanced haptic feedback or human-like touch and feel using wearable technology and avatar-based communication, how much human interaction is valid while being in the virtual world? How would law be enforced in cases that involves crimes based on illegal possession and physical assault by other avatars?
Data protection policies, which are geographically constrained and region-specific, need an overhaul as the interaction in the virtual world would entail intracontinental exchange. Hence, a global data law enforcement would be sought after.
Similarly, mortgaging, splitting partnerships, and other property-barring issues in the metaverse still needs addressing with a new legal framework.
While the world is moving towards the more tech advanced mixed/augmented reality, there must be more considerations around the existing legal intricacies.
The legal industry is yet to embrace the uncertainty of the future. The compliance in the digital world needs a revamp considering metaverse and the issues that emerge in data privacy, innovation protection, etc.
The future envisioned belongs to those who embrace the change and move forward. The legal industry branded as technically restrained has also started to embrace the change.
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