“Good and Scary at the Same Time”—Exploring Citizens’ Perceptions of a Prospective Metaverse

Michel Hohendanner, Chiara Ullstein, Gudrun Socher, Jens Grossklags

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


If a metaverse as a seamless convergence of our digital and physical world is realized, whose values and philosophies are going to be reflected? Currently, metaverse development is placed in the hands of industry, narrowing perspectives of the essential human conditions for healthy, pluralistic societies. With our work, we broaden this view by exploring citizens’ imaginations and perceptions of a prospective metaverse through cross-cultural discourse. In our group-based study performed in mid-2023 in Germany, we confronted 276 multinational participants with selected narratives about fictitious metaverse use cases created by laypeople in Japan to elicit value discussions. Our survey approach encourages joint reflections about future technological development. The analysis reveals how participants discuss relations between technology and values such as health, knowledge, equality, autonomy, security, and privacy from negative as well as positive perspectives. We highlight participants’ perceptions of potential harms and benefits of the metaverse, and present themes that are at the forefront of citizens’ minds when reflecting on the metaverse as a socio-technical construct. Finally, we discuss implications for ethical technology development.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-10
Number of pages10
JournalIEEE Pervasive Computing
StateAccepted/In press - 2024


  • Cultural differences
  • Design methodology
  • Encoding
  • Ethics
  • Metaverse
  • Stakeholders
  • Surveys


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