This article was published by The European Sting and world economic forum.
Author: Johnny Wood, Writer, Forum Agenda, Robin Pomeroy, Podcast Editor, World Economic Forum
- The metaverse has the potential to improve access and delivery of healthcare, education, and more.
- But developers need to ensure that what they are building is socially valuable and accessible to everyone, regardless of where they live.
- New World Economic ForumSocial Impact of the Metaverse and Privacy and Safety in the Metaverse The report explores several related challenges.
A turbocharged internet, the next generation of the digital world, or a distant dream that may never fully come true.
We are talking about the metaverse. The Metaverse is a collection of shared digital spaces for real-time interaction and activity, a continuum that blends the digital and physical worlds.
Whatever way you look at it, the fascination with creating this virtual new world continues to attract research, development and investment.of Metaverse value projected to reach $1 trillion over the next three yearsAccording to an Accenture study.
On the Radio Davos podcast, host Robin Pomeroy discusses these issues with HTC Vice President Parley Chen, exploring practical uses for this emerging technology and how it can change lives.
How can technology move the metaverse beyond gaming platforms?
The potential of the Metaverse goes far beyond today’s gaming platforms, leveraging virtual reality (VR) to transport people into virtual spaces and create experiences that make them believe they are actually there. But it relies on many new technologies to push the boundaries of what is possible.
With VR headsets on, people can travel to places like the pyramids of Egypt, visit Notre Dame Cathedral before it was destroyed by fire, or go back in time and see first-hand what life was like.
“A rich and life-changing variety of content must all be created, in which AI plays a key role. And blockchain, as the underlying infrastructure technology, must provide a layer of trust for transactions, identity, and ownership.
“It is important not to be blinded by the hype, because it is usually very dangerous. It can bring capital feverish attention and expectations, and then we can crash pretty hard and have a huge impact on startups, founders and companies in the ecosystem.
“So we have integrated all of these different cutting-edge technologies to maintain our vision of what we want to build. Consumers don’t necessarily need to know every nook and cranny, but the core challenge is how do we bring these technologies together to give people a richer and more meaningful digital experience.
“Take the smartphone age, whose digital experiences are now delivered to billions of people primarily on flat screens in the palm of our hands. As we evolve to the next stage of personal computing platforms, it will be a more intuitive, spatial and immersive experience. That is what I call spatial computing, or XR (augmented reality).”
Ensuring social value is an important part of our efforts to develop a Metaverse for everyone. Image: WEF
Could the metaverse make us healthier?
Beyond entertainment, the Metaverse may transform fields such as medicine and education, and help solve social problems.
At the same time, there are also challenges such as ensuring equitable access and adoption of these new technologies and developing a sustainable, equitable and inclusive metaverse. And we need to ensure that all users, wherever they are, whoever they are, can benefit from that economic impact.
“In today’s medical practice, doctors often make decisions based on 2D images that they need to build in three dimensions in their minds before performing critical surgeries,” says Cheng.
“With this immersive interface of artificial intelligence tools, we can do this exponentially more efficiently.
“Doctors can now study the brain and heart with their patients to better understand their condition and plan ways to increase the chances of successful surgery.
“Using a 3D model converted from an actual MRI or CT scan allows you to immerse yourself in the anatomy. You understand where the tumors and arteries are and what incision points are appropriate to improve patient outcomes.
“Other applications include delivering physical or mental wellness therapy via virtual reality headsets in the comfort of the patient’s own home rather than in the clinician’s office.
Can Immersive Education Improve Learning?
Immersive media also help people learn, absorb, and retain information more effectively. Being there and seeing things in person can be a huge learning advantage for students compared to learning from resources such as textbooks and videos.
“Many companies are starting to use virtual reality to train their employees, whether it’s procedure-based, hard-skills or soft-skills,” Cheng said.
“There are many things that simulation can add an additional layer of content understanding, retention and engagement to.
“This is a great learning platform for learners of all ages, but when kids use VR, everything feels very natural to them.
“Teachers, educators and businesses can easily create customizable and repeatable learning materials to accelerate learning and achieve better outcomes.”
How does the World Economic Forum contribute to the Metaverse?
The World Economic Forum explores the potential of the Metaverse in a number of ways, with a focus on governance and value creation and the development of its own Metaverse. Global Collaboration Village.
our Define and build a metaverse initiative aims to guide the development of a secure, interoperable and economically viable Metaverse by bringing together stakeholders from different sectors such as government, academia, business and civil society.
This is done through two interrelated tracks: Metaverse Governance and Value Creation. Both tracks employ an ethical and forward-thinking approach, working together to balance governance with economic and social opportunity.
our Defining and building the metaverse Initiative.
Global Collaboration Village is the first global purpose-driven metaverse platform. Led by the forum and partnering with Microsoft and Accenture, it aims to strengthen more sustainable public-private partnerships and drive action to drive impact at scale.
Inclusively and responsibly designed, the Global Collaboration Village is a creative place to imagine alternative futures, explore ideas and systems transparently and safely, and imagine what the future of multi-stakeholder collaboration might look like.
For more information, Global Collaboration Village
Will the Metaverse become accessible to everyone?
As with many technologies, the development of the Metaverse is fraught with societal challenges.
The digital divide between the world’s technology haves and have-nots risks widening, for example, with billions of people without connectivity and the digital tools they need unable to access the metaverse and its applications.
“Consumer electronics will evolve very quickly, and the cost of components will drop rapidly,” Chen predicts.
“Originating as an elitist new gadget, smartphones are now central to everyone’s lives and livelihoods, even in low-income countries.
“It is therefore important to push the boundaries of these new technologies, which are always accompanied by concerns of unintended social consequences and impacts.
“VR headsets are expensive because they use a lot of processing on the headset or on the device. If that can be offloaded to the cloud, the edge, or other computing devices, the displays in front of us should be significantly cheaper, lighter, and more comfortable to wear.
“Since such devices can still be expensive to access today, it is also important to develop bridges to browser-enabled 3D experiences to make them accessible to more people.”
Should we be optimistic about the future or anxious?
With so much uncertainty surrounding the development of the Metaverse, what should parents, teachers, and others consider when introducing these technologies into their homes and classrooms?
We have been here before. While the early days of the Internet were hopeful, some are pessimistic about some aspects of today’s online and social media impact.
So, does the metaverse cause optimism or anxiety?
“When you design your business model around attention, attention and content, or create content that algorithmically reaches your target audience, social media and content consumption behavior becomes a certain way, which is not good for parents or society at large,” Cheng warns.
“With the benefit of this kind of hindsight, we can design this future more carefully. People need to consume immersive digital experiences because they improve their lives and make them profitable, not because they provide better data to sell more products and services.”
“That’s why for us, the metaverse, or what we’ll call it in the future, needs to be open and transparent. We need a very healthy business model that rewards creators.
“We need to support the right founders to build with the right intentions and vision. And we, as an industry, need to unite with all stakeholders to agree on how to handle data privacy, safety and ethics frameworks.
“It’s all about the right vision, what we build, who we support, and how we put in place the right values and frameworks so that this future is what we want for our children.” – Parley Chen, Vice President, Business Development and Content Partnerships, HTC
“Energized by the development of generative AI, anyone can be a creator. We feel this is very important because this metaverse concept and digital future requires everyone to participate. We really want to be built by people for people.”
“I believe that with the right parameters, frameworks and tools, children can be empowered to build a better future for themselves.”
Click the link below to listen to the full episode and learn more about the risks and benefits of developing the Metaverse.
The World Economic Forum works with public and private sector stakeholders to provide strategic guidance for the global economy. Developing a secure, interoperable and economically sustainable metaverse.