The Metavers, a critical medium-term defense and security issue

On October 28, the president of Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg, announced the launch of a huge program aimed at making his company, renamed "Meta" on this occasion, the world pillar in the field of metavers. Although, strictly speaking, there were no specific announcements during this press conference, neither in terms of project nor in terms of timetable, this ambition clearly marks the start of a next step in the evolution of the link that everyone can have with digital technology. As such, the Metavers bring, in terms of defense, many opportunities for those who will know how to seize them, but also new threats, much more significant than those to which the Armies and the services dedicated to the protection against threats. digital faces today.

What is a Metavers?

If the use of the word Metaverse is relatively new, the term itself having appeared in 1992 in a novel by Neal Stephenson, the concept it covers is not. It is, in fact, an entirely digital global social universe, within which individuals interact through various interfaces. In this sense, social networks, but also dating sites or even multiplayer games and in particular persistent universes, meet this definition. The modern term, however, assumes an evolution of the interfaces themselves, with the use of virtual reality headsets or augmented reality glasses, so as to increase the immersive aspect of these universes.

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Augmented reality glasses allow digital images to be superimposed on the visible environment, so as to “enrich the content”.

For a company like Meta (Aka Facebook), the stakes are naturally high, since the loyalty and cognitive efficiency of these virtual universes for those who survey them will, according to all projections, be much higher than those of existing systems today. oday, with an increasingly tenuous boundary between digital and reality, particularly in perception itself. Indeed, by switching from a screen to a virtual reality headset, the number of senses put to use by the brain is considerably increased, so as to recreate a perception in conformity with that to which it has been trained since birth. In fact, the cognitive load of a person surveying a Metaverse will be disproportionate to that of a person participating in a social network, or in a multiplayer video game.

Cognitive load of the brain and its effects

Already today, the current systems, although much more limited from the cognitive point of view, generate effects that could not be more sensitive in modern society. Thus, an American study concluded that nearly 40% of couples who had formed in 2019 had found their origin on social networks or dating sites. Similarly, the effects of social networks on the radicalization of individuals, whether political or religious, have also given rise to numerous studies. And we saw a glaring example of this on January 6, 2021 during the assault led by supporters of Donald Trump on the Capitol. A recent American study concluded that nearly a third of Americans subscribed to at least one of the fundamental beliefs of the Qanon movement, while only another third of Americans rejected this belief system outright. The phenomenon even generates extreme situations, such as the Nolife suffering from cyberaddiction, in particular to the persistent universes of video games, or even the Japanese Otaku, who voluntarily exclude themselves from real society to live only in cyber universes.

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Games like World of Warcraft have increased the phenomenon of No-life, these people who privilege their virtual existence to their real physical existence, with sometimes very pronounced social effects.

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