Why the Metaverse Shouldn’t Exist (PART 1: Environment)
The metaverse will probably be an innovation in the continuity of those that capture our brain time, to entertain us and make us forget that we feel empty. And it is because we will feel empty that we will consume more, and that we will distance ourselves even more from what would make us whole again.
This reason alone is enough for me not to want the metaverse, even if it is inevitable, and we will come to this point. But there are actually many, many reasons why the metaverse is an aberration. So it would just be better to say: let’s not create the metaverse! Except that’s not quite the plan, since it will indeed exist. In this new series of articles, I explain why, and then I take the time to explain how it is a mistake for our society. Today, we look at environmental considerations. The next articles will deal with social and economic issues.
Will metaverses really exist?
The more I study the subject, the more I realize one thing: I don’t think we have a choice to accept or refuse the metaverse as a society, because I think it’s a choice that was made for us over two decades ago. The scientific literature has theorized and described the functioning of the metaverse for almost 30 years. And at the risk of scaring you, engineers and researchers are currently describing how 7G will work in one to two decades. Not 6G, 7G. The papers on 6G have been ready for a long time.
The technology train is on, and each innovation lays the groundwork for the next. On the other hand, I think that it is still possible to orient the ethical rules with which these metaverses will have to operate. This is why I am so involved in technological subjects. Any technology, whatever it is, ends up looking like those who put the most effort and means to exploit it.
I therefore accept that the existence of the metaverse in no way depends on my will, my needs or my next actions. There are forces much more powerful, and much better organized and prepared. However, I will not admit defeat, and I will do my best to make it positive. As a fervent defender of human potential and the biological and natural processes of our universe, I am committed to working so that the metaverse does not lead to a society where the human becomes the limiting factor of a techno-cultural culture. centered which has renounced the human.
The metaverse does not make it possible to meet the CO2 emission reduction objectives
The metaverse is one more step towards the importance of the digital share in global electricity consumption. In 2021, ADEME (Agency for the environment and energy management) publishes a report entitled The hidden face of digital technology. The report highlights some staggering figures: digital represents nearly ten percent of European electricity consumption, and four percent of global carbon dioxide emissions. These four percent may not seem like a lot, but it is still four times more than France’s share, all sectors combined, in global emissions.
In France, the GreenIT collective advocates a more sober digital. In this vision, there is no place for the metaverse. Frédéric Bordage, President of the collective, recalls that the manufacture of a virtual reality headset consumes 200 kilograms of raw materials, some of which will soon be exhausted, and 80,000 liters of water.
With the metaverse, it will quickly take several billion helmets, or several billion times these astronomical figures. This means, for example, that to equip the 30 million French workers for the professional environment, it would be necessary to emit 1.5 million tonnes of CO2. Such a quantity is equivalent to the annual emissions of the inhabitants of cities the size of Nantes, Montpellier or Strasbourg.
The metaverse distracts us from essential environmental priorities
To better understand the state of our planet in relation to our consumption patterns, the Stockholm Resilience Center brought together 28 international scientists to create a common and clear language. They thus defined nine planetary boundaries, on which the sustainability of the global ecosystem depends:
- climate change ;
- loss of biodiversity;
- disruption of nitrogen and phosphorus cycles;
- changes in land use;
- ocean acidification;
- global freshwater use;
- stratospheric ozone depletion;
- increase in aerosols in the atmosphere;
- introduction of new entities into the biosphere (chemical and plastic pollution);
As the diagram of the Stockholm Resilience Center in 2022 indicates, at least five of the nine planetary boundaries appear to have already been exceeded since the Industrial Revolution. Biodiversity is in decline, climate change is accelerating, plastic and chemical pollution is becoming harmful to the biosphere, soils are being overused and altered, and the natural chemical cycles that create life are disrupted. Soon, the oceans will be too acidic to sufficiently preserve marine ecosystems. So-called runoff freshwater is now insufficient in many countries, and ozone remains weakened despite the actions taken.
Can the metaverse help address these major issues?
There are many other indicators and established facts that could be highlighted in this article, but I think the proposed diagram is already very evocative. While our planet shows us that the very conditions of our existence are threatened, the metaverse seems quite superfluous in view of the stakes.
From a strictly environmental point of view, any innovation that does not directly aim to restore planetary boundaries can be considered aberrant and dangerous for the survival of our civilization, or even of humanity.
From this point of view, the only argument that could justify the metaverse would be if it were dedicated to solving the major environmental problems caused by man, by putting collective intelligence and creating powerful simulations to find compatible solutions. with technological progress, if any…
I hope you enjoyed this take on the metaverse. In the next part, we will discuss the social reasons why the metaverse should not exist. Stay tuned ;)
If the concept of metaverse is still vague for you, I invite you to subscribe to my dedicated Linkedin newsletter, and to read the following articles that I have written on the subject:
- The 15 principles that will make the metaverse a reality
- 40 jobs you’ll soon be able to do in the metaverse
- Metaverse: towards the end of consequences
Those are in French, so don’t hesitate to Google translate if needed:
- NL #1 — Métavers et RH ??? Bienvenue en 2022…
- NL #2 — Ferez-vous bientôt vos réunions dans le métavers ?
- NL #3 — Mille milliards de dollars peuvent-ils changer votre quotidien ?
- NL #4 — Le web 3 peut-il changer le cours d’une guerre ?
- NL #5 — Est-ce qu’on s’est croisés à Virtuality ?
- NL #6 — Avez-vous passé votre heure quotidienne dans le métavers ?
- NL #7 — Connaissez-vous les 15 caractéristiques d’un métavers ?
- NL #8 — Votre entreprise va-t-elle investir dans le métavers ?