Fieldfisher became the first law firm to open a virtual office on Second Life, back in 2007. Real transactions take place on the platform. In its virtual courts, disputes sometimes spill over into real-life courtrooms.
Since then, many other virtual world platforms have appeared. However none of them came from the most well-known group of social networking platforms ever. None of them have the same financial resources or R&D capabilities.
How the ‘rule of law’ in the real world will interface with that in the metaverse.
The question of how the ‘rule of law’ in the real world will interact with that in the metaverse must be at the most fundamental level. Who asks about openness, privacy, safety, social inclusion, and technology getting ahead of the “slower pace” of regulation.
We are assured that these are all “vitally important” and “fundamental building blocks,” albeit a little blithely. They have to be, right? Let’s take that for granted, at least for the purposes of this conversation.
After the Covid-19 lockdown, we’ve all grown accustomed to working remotely. Collaborating to the extent possible via video-conferencing and other collaborative tools. Meetings that use virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR), or a combination of the two (mixed reality) could take what we have now to a whole new level.
With convincing facial features and realistic clothing, today’s avatars are becoming far more lifelike. They show their feelings. They can communicate in a variety of languages. Meeting rooms can be customized to fit almost any need. Of course, a well-branded boardroom is one option, but how about a forest clearing, a Bahamas beach, or even outer space?
VR/AR can similarly transform work-from-home
Work-from-home can also be transformed by VR/AR, even for those who share a kitchen table in a shared flat. It allows hybrid collaboration to benefit both parties. It has the potential to completely change the way we learn.
Despite Google’s ten-dollar cardboard VR kit on Amazon, it’s difficult to imagine virtual reality without those large, expensive headsets. The development of more comfortable, lighter, and elegant headsets is a common goal in the industry. Zuckerberg and others envision a future in which headsets are no more than slightly clunky sunglasses. Perhaps without the ‘clunky’ in the future. Also, it’s more affordable.
The internal combustion engine’s impact on society could not have been predicted at the time of its invention. Similarly, underestimating the impact of today’s emerging technologies is dangerous. Is Meta’s future going to be the one that emerges, or will it be something completely different? That will have to wait and see.
What is clear is that the metaverse as described would result in law firms and legal services that are very different from what we are used to.