Achieving Diversity, inclusivity and equality (DEI) in the metaverse
Ok, the paste is out of the tube, the metaverse is here, too big to be ignored. This brings me down to the thought, tech seems to be everywhere when the mainstream is talking about it, but, Is it everywhere? , who really uses it, and who was it created for? is it designed for certain groups of people? For a longest time ever, the world has been in an active conflict between different diverse groups; Racial conflicts, gender conflicts, religious conflicts the list goes on. Now that the metaverse seems to be a replica of the physical world in the digital world are we going to carry along these biased-fueled conflicts that have been evident in Web 2 as well? Most likely yes, if we don’t address these underlying issues as early as now when the metaverse is at its infant stage.
DEI has become increasingly relevant and now sounds like buzzwords and PR but their importance can not be overstated. Let’s define what DEI means as well as explore its benefits in the metaverse. I asked ChatGpt to do what it does best in this particular case
- Marginalization refers to the process of pushing a particular group or group to the edge of society by limiting their access to resources, opportunities, and power.
- Inclusivity is the practice of creating an environment where everyone is welcome, valued, and supported, regardless of their background, identity, or differences.
- Diversity refers to the variety of differences between individuals, including but not limited to race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, religion, and abilities.
- Equality refers to the idea that all individuals should have equal rights, opportunities, and treatment, regardless of their background or differences.
How to achieve DIE in the metaverse
Awareness and acknowledgment of current biases we have- Being biased is part of human nature, we are all prone to always lean on one side that we have grown up in. We tend to favor the side that we are conditioned to believe is our side. Acknowledging our current biases towards diverse groups is the first stepping stone to achieving DIE, after the acknowledgments, we need to employ empathy towards marginalized and diverse groups, as well as work towards implementing DIE goals in organizations
Building with all humans in mind. The majority of tech builders and companies get so obsessed with their ideas to the extent of assuming the consumers will think about the product as them. Building through the lens of diversity will serve justice to DIE, so the next time you are building squeeze in some space for other diverse iterations of the ideas in mind. An instance of building with all humans in mind is creating avatars with wearables that include all races, genders, languages, and cultures. I would feel more included when I walk into the metaverse and find a Maasai wrap wearable in a metaverse platform
Hiring and involving people from Diverse and underrepresented communities in decision-making processes-Research indicates that companies with greater diverse employees are 70% more likely to capture diverse markets. Isn’t that the dream for many companies, to capture wider markets than their competitors? More so diversity advances better decision-making, research has proven that diverse teams are better at decision-making by 87% than their counterparts
Education– most importantly investing in emerging tech education. The majority of people from marginalized groups may not have the information about the metaverse, does that mean leaving them out? of course not, I see this as an opportunity to have more educators in the space. If you do not know what role to play in the metaverse at least look into meta-education, there’s a sea of individuals who are willing and open to learning about it all over the world.
Investing in the right infrastructures- The metaverse is free but the means to access it will cost you. One of the key elements of the metaverse is proper infrastructure. XR tools like VR sets are still expensive for an average household to let’s not become oblivious to some parts of the world where access to the internet and electricity is close imaginary. Hailing from Africa, I understand the drawbacks of being left behind, the world is now a global village yet others in my continent have never seen the world beyond their rural villages. The right infrastructure calls for key stakeholders, policymakers, and communities to build together. I appreciate the move of African countries in getting into partnerships with America and big tech companies to build more internet infrastructure and electricity connectivity eg. Starlink by Elon Musk
I understand the drawbacks of being left behind ,the world is now a global village yet others in my continent have never seen the world beyond their rural villages.Lynn Gitau
Following these major steps to achieving DIE would be a good start to building an inclusive, humanity-centered metaverse for all. Can you imagine our avatars protesting Black Lives Matter in the metaverse, crazy scenario right? I am looking forward to a metaverse where there will be no such protests, social injustices, or biased-centered spaces and all these can be achieved if we take personal responsibility to become better humans in our virtual worlds.