Joint Chair in Competition Law, Professor Nicolas Petit, and Law researchers Francisco de Abreu Duarte and Yeliz Figen Döker have launched a Metaverse RegLab, exploring this virtual reality and the regulatory challenges that might arise from it.
The initiative comes in the context of Professor Petit's traditional course on “Law & Technology”, where a key foundation is that technological literacy influences law and policy preferences. From this premise, the Metaverse RegLab explores the law and regulatory challenges that might arise from the development of the Metaverse by giving researchers the opportunity to engage directly with technology. In this first year, the Metaverse RegLab will focus on areas such as intellectual property, content moderation and free speech, and competition law.
The introductory session of the course presented the basic features of the Metaverse, which is a medium that connects physical and virtual realities and is expected to change the way we communicate. During this first session, participants learned about the technology and took note of what is to come in future sessions.
"Augmented learning or just an improved PowerPoint lecture? Our Metaverse RegLab suggests there is no better way to teach law and technology than to experience the technology," highlighted Professor Petit.
The main objective of the course is to gain firsthand insights into how experience with technology might shape the need for law and regulation. "The Metaverse RegLab is an excellent example of what law and tech should be about," said Abreu Duarte. "It is a space to understand technology, experiment, and push the boundaries of the regulatory discussion."
In underlining the importance of a course on the Metaverse in relation to law and tech, Abreu Duarte added, "we think that debating if and how to regulate technology without a solid understanding of its inner workings makes little sense. The EUI Metaverse RegLab can help achieve the goal of creating a welcoming space for further research in this field, a starting point similar to the Internet studies in the 1990s."
Döker also shares the importance of such a course in our world today and its relevance in academia. "At a time when the boundaries between the virtual and physical worlds are blurring, the EUI’s Metaverse RegLab sets an urgent and necessary example," said Döker. "In this context, the Metaverse experience we had in our first session was the first of its kind, taking place in a virtual world we created for legal scholars to unlock the gates of a ‘true’ extended reality."
The next session will take place on 15 March and will focus on Competition Policy.