Is the Metaverse Really Heaven on Earth?

  Thousands of years ago, Plato once explained the origin of the relationship between games and gods. He believes that the reason why God created human beings is because this thing can entertain God, and human beings bring joy to God in the process of playing games.
  Whatever the original purpose of the creators when creating a metaverse, the people who are in it seek gameplay and entertainment.
  As long as the playful nature remains a core feature of human beings, various metaverses will emerge one after another in the future, and the field will continue to expand.
  However, in the face of a coming metaverse era, its risks and challenges cannot be ignored.
Risk 1: Decreased ability to resist problems

  There is a big difference between the universe and the real world in terms of reward mechanisms.
  The human brain responds differently to rewards and punishments. When we are rewarded, the reward area in the nucleus accumbens is activated, and we experience pleasure; when we are punished, the pain-sensing area in the insula is activated, and we experience distress.
  In the experiment, when the reward and punishment of equal intensity are set, for example, the bonus and fine are set at 100,000 yuan, the human response to the punishment is almost twice as strong as that to the reward.
  Most metaverse systems are designed not around the logic of “subtraction”, such as setting fines, penalties, or criticism, but around “addition”, such as monetary rewards, level-up, and achievement blessings. That’s why we enjoy the metaverse so much.
  We can’t simply blame people for fleeing into the metaverse in search of positive incentives, because in the real world there’s a lot of deprivation and loss. In a metaverse that focuses more on positive motivation, what people want to do is embrace bigger challenges. Compared with subtractive logic, people in an additive environment are more willing to explore, communicate and achieve themselves.
  When we lose something in the real world, the ensuing sense of loss often plunges us into deep despair. Screw up a running program, or get a less-than-ideal grade, and we’re likely to be faced with wasted bonuses and parental criticism. In the metaverse, however, if we fail, we have nothing to lose, instead we are encouraged to try again.
  In such an environment, the experience of failure has become the driving force for us to become more and more courageous. This is called the frustration effect. Both the real world and the metaverse should be able to motivate us to constantly challenge ourselves through the frustration effect.
Risk 2: Obsession with Uncertain Rewards

  In the 1950s and 1960s, psychologist BF Skinner conducted a series of experiments to study what kind of reward mechanism can better satisfy people’s desires. Specifically, there are two experiments on the randomness and determinism of rewards. For example, if I make a post on social media, one case is that I get 10 reply prompts in an hour, and the other case is that I don’t know how many replies I will receive in an hour. Which situation excites me more?
  The answer is the latter. Uncertain rewards are more likely to make us addicted. It’s also for this reason that stocks, while potentially costing us money, are more attractive to us than savings accounts with guaranteed 2% fixed income.
  It turns out that a major psychological problem that many people with gambling addictions often exhibit is an obsession with uncertain rewards.
  What can we expect after we post? It’s a friend’s comment or like.
  Suppose you go to a meeting after updating a status. After half an hour, you find that 20 message prompts appear on your phone. If you usually only get 10 comments or likes, then getting 20 messages in such a short period of time is beyond your imagination, and you will be very curious about who gave what kind of response.
  The Metaverse stirs people’s nerves through a random reward mechanism similar to the Skinner experiment.
  We get feedback from the metaverse much faster than in the real world. If you get a promotion, post the news on social media, and congratulations will flood in faster than if you told your family and colleagues offline. In this way, the Metaverse triggers our own reward mechanism once again, further fueling our craving for praise and recognition.
  In the metaverse, human-to-human communication, and human-to-system communication, is designed based on the timeliness of responses and the uncertainty of rewards.
  After posting information on social media, have you ever thought, “Why is the comment coming so slowly this time? The response was much better than this before, is that the case this time?”
  We have greater expectations for communication in the metaverse than communication in the real world, which naturally includes greater disappointment and anxiety.
Risk 3: Data everything

  The characters in the game “Three Kingdoms” are all historical heroes who can fight well in the book. Each hero has its own attribute data, which can be used for their command ability, combat skills, resourcefulness, political strategy and leadership charm. 100 points out of 100 for ranking.
  If in the real world we really needed to wear a display screen on the top of our head or on our chest to quantify and display all our ability levels, what would it look like? What if the display screen worn by office workers showed their business planning ability, document writing ability, leadership decision-making ability and problem-solving ability with data?
  In the metaverse, everything is represented and managed by numbers. When we meet other players or NPCs in the metaverse, looking at their stats seems like a very efficient way to get to know each other, but we might also feel very uncomfortable when we think of ourselves as just numbers in the eyes of others. be used.
  In the workplace, measuring us with data from job evaluations and performance sheets is already very uncomfortable, and if you need to wear this data on your head in the real world, it will make people shudder to think about it.
  Imagine a metaverse like the Korean drama “Castle in the Sky” or “The World of Couples”, what ability data do you want the characters to show on their heads? Achievement, social status, ability to love, or trustworthiness? These categories of data can seriously affect our ability to fully understand a person. When we look at a person’s achievement value and status value, we ignore other characteristics of this person. Once we start to measure each ability with data, it is easy to prematurely judge people based on small differences in data.
  Although the digital presentation of many things in the metaverse has effectively improved the efficiency of information transmission, it will also lead to the regret of generalization and shallow taste in communication, and ultimately we will still be burdened by it.
  No matter how wonderful the world in the metaverse is, it exists only because we still have reality. If we come to the metaverse just to escape looming problems and responsibilities, it will ruin our real lives instead.