The potential impacts of the metaverse on human behavior are yet unknown, but behavioral economics can help us explore the possibilities.
- The metaverse will likely have sweeping consequences for human behavior.
- To understand these impacts, we can learn from behavioral economics and recent tech experience.
- The metaverse will create new opportunities for improving behavior and mental health, and interacting with consumers.
Through much of World War 2, the B-17 Flying Fortress was bedeviled with crashes, often as the planes came in to land. The incidents puzzled investigators and, with no signs of mechanical failure, were typically attributed to pilot error. But why were so many pilots in this one type of plane making similar mistakes? The mystery would finally be solved after the war, when two US Armed Forces psychologists realized that the switches controlling the wing flaps and the landing gear were identically shaped and located next to each other. This simple design decision had made it all too easy for a busy pilot in a darkened cockpit to lower the wing flaps instead of the landing gear — with disastrous, often fatal, results.
This finding is regarded as a watershed moment in the history of design. It is also evidence of a basic principle: the design of any human-facing technology can profoundly shape human behavior. This interaction has certainly been at play with several technologies in our more recent past, from people’s fears about being surreptitiously recorded, to the ways in which the design of social media platforms and smartphones has helped make them devastatingly addictive.
The metaverse promises to be the most radical reinvention of human-facing technology in a generation. It will spawn entirely new human-machine interfaces, sensory experiences, social dynamics and market constructs. The design of the metaverse will therefore have sweeping implications for human behavior. Much will depend on the choices made by executives, engineers and designers.
This article is part of the EY Metaverse series. In this third article, we investigate how the metaverse might impact human behavior. In considering the behavioral implications of the metaverse, business leaders should consider several dimensions, which this article explores in four sections:
- Avoiding the mistakes of the recent past
- New tools for improving behaviors and health
- Consumer behavior in the metaverse
- Moving forward: some principles for leaders
By Nicola Morini Bianzino
Read the full article at https://www.ey.com/en_us/digital/how-will-the-metaverse-change-our-behavior-as-it-reshapes-experiences.