Metaverse technologies face criticisms and skepticism regarding how they affect human health. Of course, health experts also criticize other innovations.
For instance, some say social media platforms promote loneliness and illicit content. Also, there are reports that people might become addicted to video games.
Further, nutritionists have questioned specific ways of preserving food. There are even concerns that people who drive cars and never take walks or exercise might be prone to obesity.
The above are health concerns regarding existing technologies. As you might know, the metaverse is an emerging industry, and most innovations believed to power it are also emerging. Accordingly, it is wise to consider how the metaverse and metaverse technologies might affect our health.
Will the metaverse improve or impair human health? Can metaverse technologies reduce the life-threatening activities we perform daily? Will it contribute to mental health issues? Can the metaverse lead to extended life expectancy that health researchers are working hard to deliver?
As you know, there are two sides to most matters. Thus, this article will discuss why metaverse technologies may improve or impair the general health of humans.
Metaverse technologies and your health
Health concerns about metaverse technologies include cybersickness (motion sickness) in VR, obesity due to inactivity, eye defects, etc.
Common cybersickness symptoms include fatigue, headache, disorientation, sweating, etc. Some studies list the following as the causes of motion sickness:
- Slow refresh rate: If the images’ refresh rate is not high enough, there will be a disagreement between what the brain wants to process and what the screen displays.
- The disparity in motion occurs when the eyes and ears transmit different information to the brain. For instance, your vision tells your brain that you are running, but no such information comes from the ears. Situations like that lead to cyber sickness.
- Poor animations: if a VR environment has poor graphics, onscreen animations will not match your head movements. As a result, there will be a disagreement in the information your brain receives, triggering motion sickness.
- Excessive use: wearing a virtual reality headset for hours at a stretch may leave you with headaches and discomfort. Therefore, new VR headset users can build tolerance and prevent cybersickness by using it for shorter periods throughout the day.
Sitting down and obesity
In the metaverse, you can switch from your workplace to a gaming arena with friends or even an augmented reality visit to your family. With these possibilities, it is easy to forget you have been sitting all day.
Regular inactivity over long periods can lead to serious health problems like obesity, cardiovascular diseases, and restricted blood flow. Although some metaverse platforms are creating virtual gyms, this might not be enough to curb the concerns with inactivity.
Thus, metaverse builders must consider these health concerns and design metaverse technologies to make them convenient for extended use.
Further, users should prioritize virtual exercise routines and ensure they move about their physical environment when using the metaverse for long hours.
How metaverse technologies can reduce life-threatening activities
Attending multiple events in your virtual self and from your home can help lower stress. Likewise, it can reduce the daily risks you take to do your job.
Generally, metaverse technologies can significantly reduce the number of accidents that happen yearly. While we might fall or burn our skin indoors, humans are prone to more fatal accidents during outdoor activities.
Consider the following accidents and how the metaverse can reduce them:
Accidents during training
Unexpected things happen during training and practical classes. Although most are minor happenings, some are fatal accidents that can be life-threatening. How can metaverse technologies reduce them?
Practical classes involving dangerous chemicals and weapons may be safer in the metaverse. Instructors can create simulated copies of training instruments and virtual environments where students cannot spill chemicals. Moreover, training fighters or amateur military personnel virtually will reduce potential accidents.
Traffic and Car accidents
Currently, remote work and Zoom meetings have reduced the number of persons who ply the busy roads to work daily. While this number might not be significant, the metaverse can increase it.
Some organizations demand all their workers be physically present even if the job doesn’t require it. Their reasons may range from efficiency to supervision. Accordingly, immersive working environments in the metaverse might be a solution.
In metaverse offices, managers can supervise workers closely. Also, it is easier to verify how many hours of work someone has done. Professionals that can work from the metaverse include accountants, lawyers, researchers, teachers, developers, and many more.
Using metaverse technologies for those jobs will help reduce the number of people plying the road daily. In addition, such persons will face lesser risks of road accidents.
Metaverse technologies also make immersive virtual meetings and events possible. There have been countless cases of people involved in fatal car crashes on their way to weddings and other occasions.
So, bringing those occasions to the metaverse might be one way to reduce such cases.
Accidents during recreation
People can sustain injuries during fun times with their families or friends. On the other hand, when recreation is located in the metaverse, it becomes safer.
There is no debate whether virtual recreation will be fun because metaverse technologies allow you to touch and feel other people. Moreover, metaverse builders like Meta are creating simulated versions of parks, beaches, oceans, basketball courts, etc., in the metaverse.
Can metaverse technologies increase life expectancy?
Undoubtedly, certain things we do determines how much risk we encounter daily. As earlier mentioned, replacing physical activities with simulated metaverse versions helps to reduce the risks we take daily. Therefore, the metaverse can contribute to life expectancy by lowering our life-threatening activities.
Moreso, metaverse technologies that allow people to work efficiently from home make jobs more accessible and give workers more free time. In effect, they help to lower the amount of stress we all face every day.
According to a study by Yale University, excessive stress leads to unexpected and untimely death. Consequently, adopting metaverse technologies as we adopted machines that simplify house chores might also increase life expectancy.
The facts about ways the metaverse and its technologies can impair or benefit human health are essential. Consequently, regulators should ensure that metaverse builders create products that will improve our daily life and not worsen it.