Lately, many are intrigued by the Ministry of Digital Affairs’ Plurality Section. Does it manage alternate societies from different timelines, much like the plotline of a sci-fi narrative?
Such imagination is indeed creative. But, just as the moda is not a vehicle regulatory body, the Plurality Section is not a Time Variance Authority from the fictional world. Its purpose is to facilitate interoperability between different metaverses and pave the way for innovative applications.
Today’s known metaverses, extended through digital technologies like augmented reality and virtual reality, allow individuals to embody avatars in virtually constructed worlds. Yet, these virtual worlds are often confined to specific digital platforms, stifling innovation.
How can we overcome these barriers and achieve direct connectivity? In our daily lives, we are already implementing the principles of plurality. Take mobile phone numbers, for instance. They not only allow calls across carriers but also enable users to port their numbers to preferred service providers, amplifying choices without the hassle of re-establishing contacts.
Yet, most large-scale cross-border digital platforms do not offer this flexibility. Accounts are restricted to their native platforms. It is akin to a phone that only permits intra-network calls. To connect with someone on a different platform, one must create accounts everywhere, analogous to possessing multiple business cards with non-synchronized information.
Such constraints inadvertently stifle innovation. All accounts, being platform-dependent, can only share within that ecosystem. Moreover, platforms control all data interactions under each account, posing risks to privacy and data security.
To communicate freely without platform interference, end-to-end encryption can be employed. Only the actual participating endpoints can view each other’s messages, ensuring interactions are not intercepted nor logged. This embodies the core concept of Plurality: Everyone has the freedom to securely connect through diverse channels.
So, what can the Plurality Section achieve? Precedents exist. Years ago, real-time online messaging enabled cross-platform communication. Email was among the earliest applications allowing free communication across different domains.
Using the right tools to communicate and share, building consensus, and propagating innovation — this vision resonates with the Declaration for the Future of the Internet, and truly embodies Taiwan’s pursuit of Plurality.
By investing in peer-to-peer, polycentered and decentralized architectures that reflect local needs in innovative applications, the moda is striving to free the future and deliver resilience for all.