Ethics Guardrails for Mobile Media as 5G Rolls Out: What Are the Questions

By Mónica Cordero | Investigate Midwest

The deployment of the 5G network with the adoption of augmented reality and the first ventures into what may be the metaverse or, really, a kind of virtual social interaction represent new possibilities for journalism but also challenges upholding basic principles of journalism as accuracy.

One such challenge for journalists is reporting on events in virtual worlds.

“If you were us journalists attending virtually, how do you know if you’re looking at any real people, where the people are from or if the people are potential voters?” said Jeremy Gilbert, a researcher at the Medill School of Journalism, Media, Integrated Marketing Communications at Northwestern University.

“So I think these are some of the questions that we want you to start thinking about and wrestling with.”

Elite Truong, vice president of product strategy at the American Press Institute, said there is a lot of bias in play because people who engineer technology are not necessarily neutral. 

“So that also has another layer of accountability there: that journalists will certainly also investigate but also have to be literate enough – like, understanding enough – to investigate,” she said.

Subbu Vincent, director of the Journalism and Media Ethics Program at Santa Clara University, said the idea of what reality is, and how people don’t experience reality, at the same time, is going to be up for grabs, with this hybrid approach where users can enter and exit the metaverse.

As an example, Vincent mentioned the fidelity that an avatar  – an icon or figure that represents a specific person in video games or internet forums – can have to the person in the real world who has the AI license to use it.

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