The metaverse and digital virtual environments have gained prominence in recent years as platforms for socializing, working, and gaming.
However, the development of these environments brings challenges that are not fully understood.
One of our recent articles, published at the International Conference on Applied Human Factors and Ergonomics (AHFE) in San Francisco, presents a scoping review that aims to identify and map the current knowledge and research efforts regarding the design of ethical digital virtual environments and the metaverse.
The review (downloadable from here) examines existing literature from sociological, anthropological, cultural, and experiential perspectives to discern gaps in knowledge and formulate a research agenda for the development of ethical digital, virtual, and immersive environments.
The scoping review followed a systematic approach, including identifying relevant studies, developing inclusion and exclusion criteria, extracting data from selected articles, conducting qualitative analysis, and synthesizing the findings. The review focused on peer-reviewed articles published in English between 2015 and 2021, and the analysis was conducted using the PRISMA-ScR method.
Through this scoping review, we identified 69 research articles that cover various aspects of the metaverse, including technology applications, usability, user acceptance, technology development, ethics, culture, society, and theoretical and conceptual frameworks.
The analysis revealed a significant increase in metaverse-related publications in 2022 compared to previous years. However, there is a notable lack of research in the areas of ethics, culture, and society, indicating a need for more comprehensive frameworks and guidelines.
The findings highlighted the growing interest in the metaverse and its applications, particularly in healthcare, education, smart cities, and tourism.
Our research paper: A review of ethical implications for designing the metaverseHowever, the limited research on ethics, culture, and society calls for further investigation to ensure the design of safe, inclusive, and secure digital environments.
The study also emphasized the need to develop new disciplines, such as Metavethics, to address the ethical implications of the metaverse.
The scoping review provided valuable insights into the current state of metaverse research, revealing key themes and areas of focus while also highlighting gaps in knowledge.
Based on these findings, at the Metavethics Institute, we are collaborating with multiple partners to expand the scope of this research by involving more researchers and delving deeper into the ethical, cultural, and societal implications of the metaverse.
Are you interested in becoming a Metavethicist?