The metaverse, a shared virtual world accessible via the internet, is attracting regulatory scrutiny, according to Margrethe Vestager, the European Union’s antitrust chief.
What Happened: Vestager raised concerns about potential dominance by Meta Platforms Inc META in the emerging sector, which has been gaining traction as the successor to the mobile internet.
The EU official, during a conference organized by Keystone Strategy, also pointed to the rise of generative artificial intelligence and language AI models as bright spots in the market, highlighting the need for healthy competition in the metaverse.
Alphabet Inc. GOOGGOOGL-owned Google and Microsoft MSFT are also active in generative artificial intelligence, which is seen as the next bright spot in the industry.
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Vestager acknowledged the need for healthy competition in the metaverse and questioned what this would look like. She also mentioned the emergence of competing digital realities and language AI models such as ChatGPT, saying “Do we need to do more on something new? And obviously, we have started that work.”
Why It Matters: Regulatory scrutiny of digital markets has been escalating worldwide in the last three years, with a broader political debate that digital markets require careful attention.
According to Vestager, some antitrust enforcers are more advanced than others in regulating the metaverse, but the legal framework will not be the same across all jurisdictions.
She believed that this was not necessarily a bad thing as it allows for the honing of toolkits in the process of mutual learning.
“We are moving at different speeds, and maybe that is not a bad thing,” she stated.
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Photo: Deemerwha studio via Shutterstock
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