European Visionaries From Metaverse Arrive At Cannes Next

    Published on:

    05/19/2023 – Cannes 2023: Expert Group Explores Long-Term Thinking, Convergence of Physical and Virtual Worlds, Transformative Power of Generative AI

    This article is also available in English.

    The metaverse concept has generated immense curiosity and debate among industry experts, generating enthusiasm and skepticism alike. At Cannes Next, part of the Marché du Film, European metaverse visionaries joined a panel discussion to highlight the potential of this emerging technology to reshape the world of entertainment.

    Sophie Vitvedo, a futurist and senior adviser at the Copenhagen Institute for the Future, set the mood for the panel by emphasizing the importance of long-term thinking. She emphasized that various industries, including media and film, tend to focus on short-term gains rather than envisioning future possibilities. Hvitved urged the audience to consider the transformative potential of generative AI, which has already exploded beyond the present. Recognizing that the Metaverse has the potential to revolutionize storytelling, communication and media interaction, he stressed the need to explore the Metaverse with a serious and ambitious mindset.

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    ZOAN CEO Mikka Rosendahl highlighted the continued interest and investment in the Metaverse from major brands. He acknowledged the initial hype surrounding the concept and its aftermath, but emphasized that the Metaverse is by no means dead. Rosendahl highlighted the growing popularity of gamified experiences among younger generations and the growing demand for immersive entertainment. They discussed his ZOAN work with global brands such as Nike and Meta, and expressed a clear interest in building Metaverse experiences and preparing for the future. Rosendahl also touched on virtual entertainment, historical modeling, and the creation of dynamic virtual worlds, demonstrating the diversity of opportunities within the metaverse.

    Julie Sislerova, New Business Development at Brainz Immersive, presented the concept of mixed reality as the logical next step for immersive experiences. She touched on the power of virtual reality (VR) to take users into new worlds, but emphasized the possibility of merging physical and digital elements. Sislerova demonstrated a mixed reality game called She’s Trek Craft that turns the real world surroundings into a virtual race track. This demonstration showed the possibility of blending physical and digital objects to deliver an immersive experience beyond the limits of VR headsets. He stressed the importance of the fusion of the physical and digital worlds in the Metaverse, viewing it as a key development in storytelling and user engagement.

    Ansi Koumulainen, project director at Finnish innovation fund Sitra, pointed out key aspects of immersion and persistence within the metaverse. He explained that while traditional Metaverse experiences involve plunging into virtual worlds for short periods of time, the future lies in persistent worlds that continue to evolve even when users are not actively participating. Komlainen highlighted games as an example of a persistent metaverse experience, where users can be immersed in a continuous and dynamic environment. This perspective highlighted the potential of the Metaverse to provide enduring and immersive experiences beyond isolated moments, contributing to more democratic and inclusive forms of entertainment.

    As the panel discussion progressed, moderator AC Coppens drew attention to the impending arrival of XR glasses, which are expected to be a catalyst for increasing the range and quality of the Metaverse experience. Panelists agreed that early versions of his XR glasses may not be revolutionary, but they definitely raise the bar on content and storytelling abilities. Coppens and participants emphasized the fact that the Metaverse is not a single company or technology, but a collaborative effort involving many stakeholders, including artists, developers, policy makers and users. He emphasized the importance of fostering an open and inclusive ecosystem that fosters innovation, creativity and diverse perspectives.

    Based on this idea, Hvitved proposed the concept of a “metaverse sandbox” where creators can experiment, collaborate and iterate on their ideas. This sandbox environment provides a space for artists, developers, and users to create and shape the future of the Metaverse. Panelists envisioned an organically evolving metaverse based on collective input and experimentation, and expressed optimism about the potential of such an approach.

    Komlainen raised the need for ethical considerations and responsible design principles in the development of the Metaverse. They expressed concern about potential adverse effects such as addiction, invasion of privacy and inequality. Panelists agreed that a proactive approach is needed to address these challenges and ensure that the Metaverse benefits society as a whole.

    The role of artificial intelligence (AI) in the metaverse was also discussed. Hvitved noted the transformative power of his Generative AI in creating dynamic and personalized experiences for users. She said AI algorithms can analyze user data and preferences to generate content tailored to individual interests, enabling a more immersive and engaging experience.

    Rosendahl expanded on this idea by discussing the possibilities of AI-powered virtual characters and avatars within the Metaverse. He explained how AI algorithms can blur the lines between reality and fiction by enabling virtual characters to interact with and respond intelligently to users. This level of interactivity enhances storytelling and creates a deeper connection between the user and the virtual experience.

    Finally, panelists also considered economic aspects of the metaverse. He acknowledged the potential for new business models and revenue streams such as virtual real estate, digital goods and virtual events. However, he cautioned against a purely profit-seeking approach, stressing the importance of maintaining a balance between commercial interests and the completeness of the metaverse experience.

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