Our lives are changing dramatically because of digital technology, that cannot be denied. Work processes have become more efficient due to digitalisation and artificial intelligence. Social interactions are increasingly taking place online. Entertainment is increasingly happening via streaming. This is the current reality. The technological revolution has changed our lifestyle, but also has profound social, economic and cultural consequences. Balancing technological progress with ethical and legal considerations is crucial here.

On this front, Europe is trying to play a leading role. After the GDPR Act, the Digital Service Act and the Digital Markets Act, the European Parliament passed the Artificial Intelligence Act last summer. This should curb AI technology and ensure that artificial intelligence is used in a safe and transparent way in Europe. The European Union thus became the first government to provide a broad regulatory framework for AI.

But the adoption of the AI Act does not mean that Europe may lose focus, because after artificial intelligence, “spatial computing” and the “metaverse” is the next big thing. Spatial computing makes it possible to integrate digital information into the physical world. The goal is to eventually achieve seamless interaction between the digital and physical worlds. To do this, it uses virtual (VR), augmented (AR) and mixed (MR) reality technology. This technology is also the building block of the metaverse, the virtual universe in which users can interact with a computer-generated environment and with each other.




That spatial computing and the metaverse are facing a breakthrough has everything to do with the development of new advanced VR headsets. Both Meta and Apple have made significant strides in that area. Meta with the launch of the Meta Quest 3 and the Ray-Ban Smart Glasses and Apple with the Vision Pro, and that opens up prospects.

Spatial Computing

Spatial computing and the metaverse have the potential to revolutionise. In healthcare, for example, where doctors and nurses can use VR or AR to examine patients and even operate remotely using advanced imaging and simulation techniques in a virtual environment. Architects too can use this virtual technology to visualise projects in virtual environments, delivering more accurate work. And what about education where spatial computing and the metaverse have the potential to transform education by offering immersive and personalised learning experiences. Walking in ancient Rome or visiting the Space Lab, it is all possible in the metaverse. The possible applications are limitless and are still evolving every day. In the metaverse, users will meet other people without geographical limitations, attend digital events or conferences. They will be able to access digital markets or develop their own economic activity in virtual offices. In the metaverse, everyone will be able to develop, create and experience freely: think of art in a virtual gallery or the creation of their own music for a global audience.

So the potential applications of spatial computing and the metaverse are enormous, but so are the ethical and legal challenges. There are numerous issues that require regulatory solutions. Just think about privacy and data protection in the metaverse, the regulation of virtual economies, digital identity issues, taxation, the regulation of jurisdiction and cross-border conflicts, security and cybercrime, and the development of ethical standards and codes of conduct.

If the recent history of technological evolution has taught us anything, it is that we cannot leave this to a few multinationals from Sillicon Valley. Europe therefore needs a “Euroverse”, its own EU-created and controlled digital universe, a European version of the metaverse in which citizens and companies can move freely in a legally safe and ethically sound manner.

Several companies and entities, including Talemate, are already building this Euroverse, but there is a need for a legal framework that keeps pace with this development. This requires a digital constitution on the basis of which a European virtual world, such as the Euroverse, can be built. This can then provide a legal, regulatory framework for a secure and protected digital universe where prevailing European norms and standards for wellbeing, security and privacy are in place. The EU can again take the global lead here, and as with the AI Act, take an important step in regulating the technological revolution. The time is now!

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@Michelmaus  @Tommy Deblieck (CEO Talemate.co)

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Tommy Deblieck ( CEO Talemate.co )

@Michel Maus ( Professor in the Faculty of Law, Free University of Brussels )