Immersive technologies continue to rise in popularity and generate buzz in the media and entertainment industries. Many observers believe that virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) will become commonplace in the entertainment industry as new ways to convey tales emerge. As data and security have been trigger points throughout the media sector over the last couple of decades, this raises a slew of ethical concerns.
Over the years, gaming has been a quick adoption of VR and AR because it fills a gap in gaming by allowing a player to be more engaged in a specific realm. Film and television, on the other hand, face a more difficult road to adoption since storytelling must remain true to form while technology is integrated.
At IBC2022, Nonny De La Pea talked about the future of technology and how it should be used in the media and entertainment industries. She is known as the “Godmother of Virtual Reality,” and she stressed that she had high hopes for the space’s future.
She said this about how blockchain could be important in the area of ethics and security: “As a journalist, how do we know that a story is accurate, that it’s not a fake character, and yet protect individuals who might be revealing information that’s very dangerous. If you’ve got communities around blockchain that provide a way to protect identity, but they still have a way to track provenance of information. So I think blockchain is extraordinarily powerful.”
On the possibility of ethics being taught early, she continued , “I’m a real fan of Interoperability – your material should be able to go to whatever Metaverse you want to occupy, whether it’s your spatial business meeting, or whether it’s your playful VR chat space, you should be able to move through them [seamlessly]. I mean, that’s what we did with the web, right? That’s why the web works, by the way, because it has some [agreed] standards. We’re seeing it [in VR] now and there’s no reason we shouldn’t be thinking about [the ethics] right now.”
In a decentralized landscape, it will be important to keep an eye on how your data is tracked and the digital footprint you leave. This will become more and more important as we inherit different shades of reality into our lives.
Amina Alsherif, a former GoogleGOOG engineer on the Project Maven team, a former technical operator in the Joint Special Operations Community, and the founder of Data Ethics Consortium For Security (DECS), saw one of the most public cases of AI ethics and technology ethics going wrong in a large tech company and in the national defense industry.
She said this about the future of ethics in these new fields: “AI will be very important across all infrastructure as we become more digitally skewed. This is especially key for companies working in the national security space, corporate security, and law enforcement.”
“There are of course very serious consequences if our integration into the metaverse, VR/AR skewing worlds are not properly looked at from a data and ethics perspective.” “Ethical AI practices are important to counter lapses and to prevent gross human error.”
DECS sends policy documents to Capitol Hill and other foreign governments for possible implementation. Alsherif says that the current climate of digital growth says we need to be ready before mass adoption.
Alsherif and De La Pea both agreed that diversity is important in these new industries and that we should learn from the past to help us make decisions about the future.
Alsherif shared, “I’m a female minority, BIPOC and LGBTQ+ member who has been in the military, in the tech field, and has lived in Texas during a time when all of those identifying elements are some of the hardest to navigate. Seeing the ‘tech bro’ culture in startups and its toxicity as well as experiencing a particularly harsh environment in the military, despite my deployments across Iraq and Afghanistan, opened my eyes to numerous issues mainstream sectors or institutions have.”
“Your minority/identity/differences are your strength. They are not excuses. They are reasons why you are empowered to succeed.”
She concluded, “True equality is reached by acknowledging the presence of differences and striving to reach truly equal ways in treating one another, regardless of gender, sexual orientation, or race and not in spite of them. I think we have a genuine opportunity to do that across these new digital areas.”
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