The metaverse is Mark Zuckerberg’s number one priority. The leader even renamed his company Meta to prove the seriousness of his ambition. First of all, let’s remember that this is an incarnate Internet that can be accessed through a virtual reality headset. The applications are numerous ranging from video games, to e-commerce, through the world of work and sport.
Deepfakes in the service of manipulation?
However, the development of this concept is not without criticism. The latest warning comes to us from Rand Waltzman, senior computer scientist at the RAND Research Institute. According to the latter, deepfake technologies could be used on the metaverse for manipulation purposes.
The researcher cites the example of a political speech delivered in this virtual world. While each user thinks they see the same representation of the latter, their avatar is subtly modified to partially resemble them. The effect here would be tangible and every member of the audience would like this politician more than they would have in the real world.
Why ? According to several experiments conducted by scientists at Stanford University, slightly modifying the features of an unknown political figure to resemble a voter leads them to evaluate the author of a speech more positively.
And Rand Waltzman warns: Emotional manipulation is at the heart of all deception. Virtual reality environments, such as Facebook’s metaverse (henceforth Meta), will allow psychological and emotional manipulation of its users on a level unimaginable in current media. »
To avoid the worst, he advocates two concrete measures. It would first be necessary to carry out a complete evaluation of the various studies carried out in psychology on this subject and on the effects of virtual reality. Anticipation work on how it can be used for malicious purposes is also necessary.
It also calls for the development of technologies that would make it possible to detect the use of these manipulation techniques.