As the global Web3 ecosystem continues to evolve at an astonishing rate, so do the various use cases associated with this niche. A surprising novelty is that a senior Singaporean government minister has recently noted that legal marriage proceedings, court litigation, and government services could one day be conducted using Metaverse platforms.
While delivering a keynote speech at Singapore’s TechLaw Fest 2022 late last month, the country’s second Justice Minister, Edwin Tong, was quoted as saying that he would not be surprised if, in the future, intimate events such as weddings as well as legal disputes “could take place within the Metaverse”, adding that:
“It would not be unthinkable that, in addition to marriage registration, other government services could soon be accessible online through the Metaverse. There is no reason why the same could not be done with legal services. The pandemic has already shown us that even conflict resolution, which was previously considered a physical and high-touch process […] can be done online.
Explaining his position, Tong used a hypothetical example of litigation involving a construction site accident, which he believed could be viewed in a 3D environment using augmented reality technology, allowing the accident to be better reimagined. “One can get into the actual tunnel or oil containment facility to see the litigation“, he added.
In Tong’s opinion, a hybrid perspective like this could make the conflict resolution process extremely comfortable and efficient for governments around the globe.
Could digital court proceedings become the norm?
According to Joseph Collement, General Counsel of cryptocurrency exchange and wallet developer Bitcoin.com, dematerializing government services that require in-person assistance is the most coherent next step for nations around the world, especially as the world moves from an analog to a digital age in this post-covid era. He added:
“Today, roughly one-third of legal agreements worldwide are signed electronically. So it’s no wonder modern nations like Singapore are adopting inclusive technologies like the Metaverse for government services. The same thinking should apply to certain civil court cases, which are still subject to extreme delays due to backlogs. While justice is delayed, the parties involved often suffer.”
A similar opinion is shared by Alexander Firsov, director of Web3.0 at Sensorium, a Metaversa platform powered by artificial intelligence. He told Cointelegraph that, As a space dedicated to bridging the gap between the real world and digital experiences, it stands to reason that the Metaverse will one day transform into a medium in which legal proceedings can take place..
In your opinion, By adopting immersive technologies, virtual legal proceedings will not differ much from real-life events. In fact, he believes that the use of photorealistic avatars can bring a degree of humanization and presence that online meetings cannot. Lastly, Firsov pointed out that court systems around the world are notoriously slow and costly, and that the Metaverse can help address these inefficienciesadding that:
“The Metaverse can have a positive impact on the work of law enforcement and other legal entities on issues such as cooperation, record keeping, and data transmission.as it has the ability to improve important processes through the use of emerging technologies such as blockchain.”
Not everyone is convinced of the idea
Dimitry Mihaylov, an AI scientist, UN expert contractor, and associate professor at the National University of Singapore, told Cointelegraph that the first problem when talking about digitally facilitated legal procedures is that of legislation based on intellectual property (PI), as geographical borders are not a factor in the proceedings that take place in the Metaverse, at least for now. He explained that:
“When a patent is obtained, it is only valid within a certain territory. However, with the metaverse, it will be used by people all over the world. People can accidentally break laws by using a patent in the Metaverse that is outside their legalization area. This is where the competent authorities have to determine who the owner of the intellectual property is and under what jurisdiction it falls.”
the second questionin your opinion, has to do with data collection and ownership. This is because the major tech conglomerates have been abusing their customer data for a long time and therefore it will be important that regulations regarding the storage and use of legal data in the Metaverse be developed before any legal proceedings can take place over it.
Collement believes that a physical courtroom has characteristics that cannot be reproduced in the Metaverse.. For example, questioning a witness before the jury to attack her credibility is an important strategy in certain cases. Even with advanced video conferencing, the jury can miss some important clues and details of a witness’s questioning. He added that:
“I’m not sure the Metaverse is ready to host trials. Uncertainty remains as to the applicability of sentences held in the Metaverse in countries that are members of the Hague Conventionbut have not yet issued any guidance or law in relation to these virtual procedures.”
Furthermore, Mihaylov pointed out that the issue of copyright is highly relevant in this regard as it protects digital works in many countries. He explained that nowadays companies like Google are extremely quick with their copyright actions and block any site that infringes their rights. “Copyright covers over 100 countries, and is very close to the model the Metaverse should use. But it doesn’t yet have enforcement, and no such precedent has emerged so far,” he added.
Are the masses willing to accept lawsuits in the Metaverse?
Mattan Erder, associate general counsel at public blockchain infrastructure provider Orbs, told Cointelegraph that, As it is, it’s really a matter of whether people are really willing to believe that the outcome of what’s going on in the Metaverse is real, especially from a legal perspective.. In his opinion, most people are quite far from a reality in which they can see judgments that decide the future of an individual, and he added that:
“I think we still have some time before these things are real. However, the longer people live in the Metaverse, the closer we get to a mind shift. There are a number of elements that need further development before it’s really It’s possible that these kinds of basic social institutions exist there.
In Erder’s opinion, the situation discussed here is one that is almost exclusively dealt with by governments. So it makes sense for the masses not to jump ahead and think that any of these changes are coming anytime soon. He considers that legal systems have a clear preference when it comes to wanting the physical presence of all those involved in a trial, and added that:
“Most people believe that being in the same room with someone, such as a witness, and looking them in the eye, seeing their gestures, etc., is important in assessing their credibility.. Democracies grant defendants the right to confront witnesses and evidence against them directly, and litigants have the right to confront each other and the judge/jury.”
Finally, a key factor in getting people and governments to buy into legal proceedings and marriages based on the Metaverse is their definition of reality. In this sense, Erder considers that As the Metaverse becomes an integral part of people’s lives, the things that happen in it will start to matter to them.. “The metaverse will become a microcosm of human society, where there will be a natural need for things like conflict resolution,” she concluded.
The future looks “ready for the Metaverse”
The South Korean government recently announced that it had taken steps to bolster its ambitions in the Metaverse., reserving 177 million dollars from its coffers. The country intends to create a platform for its citizens that allows access to a wide range of government services in a fully digital way.
In July, the Metaverse infrastructure company, Condense closed a round of seed funding to continue the development of a 3D live streaming technology. The technology behind the company’s digital offering uses “state-of-the-art computer vision, machine learning and proprietary streaming infrastructure to capture and embed live 3D video (Video 3.0)”. In the short term, the company hopes to bring this unique live video experience to various Metaverse mobile games and apps, as well as other platforms built with Unity or the Unreal Engine.
Earlier this year, the metaversa platform Decentraland had the honor of celebrating the world’s first wedding in the Metaverse, which was attended by more than 2,000 guests. The proceedings were administered and formalized by the Rose Law Group law firm.
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