Public Conference

Lost in “Metaverse’’? On the Intertwining of Real and Digital Worlds

Kaisersaal, Futterstraße 15/16, 99084 Erfurt


Using virtual reality glasses to dive into digital worlds as an avatar – according to the visionaries, this is only the beginning. The “metaverse” is supposed to revolutionise the internet: Digital worlds are intended to be permanent, synchronous and immersive. So far, the “metaverse” has not yet entered our everyday lives, but in certain niches, it is already creating a new digital reality – not only in gaming.

The intertwining of digital and real worlds opens new spaces for individual development and social and political participation. At the same time, technical innovations raise far-reaching questions, such as on the fundamental understanding of reality, the status of the person and property, the reach and enforcement of norms, the handling of manipulation and abuse, or longer-term psychological and social consequences. As the underlying technologies and platforms are dominated by large tech companies, economic power is also an important issue.

At its conference, the German Ethics Council approaches the topic in several steps. First, the opportunities that the “metaverse” offers – for developers, users and different sectors, from economy to arts to politics – will be demonstrated. The conference will then focus on two critical areas: To begin with, the consequences that can arise from an entanglement with digital worlds for the psyche, social life and society will be discussed. The conference will conclude with philosophical perspectives on questions of identity, the legal system and moral norms.

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