- The metaverse will be positive for business, according to most respondents to an Accenture survey.
- It will be “breakthrough” or “transformational”, 42% say.
- This reimagining of the internet is one of four tech trends identified by Accenture.
- The metaverse will be worth more than $1 trillion in annual revenues, according to JP Morgan.
- Many companies are already embracing it, including Disney, Gucci and Warner Bros.
The metaverse: while some of us are still coming to terms with the idea that we’re likely to spend increasing amounts of time in a 3D version of the internet, companies are already scrambling to define the space, carve out their niche, and even snap up virtual real estate.
The shift to the metaverse is likely to have a positive business impact, according to 71% of respondents to an Accenture survey, and 42% say it will be “breakthrough” or “transformational.”
The metaverse will infiltrate every sector in the coming years, culminating in a market opportunity worth more than $1 trillion in annual revenues, according to JP Morgan. Mark Zuckerberg’s Meta says the metaverse will be “the biggest opportunity for modern business since the creation of the internet”. He has outlined plans to spend more than $10 billion on developing virtual reality software and hardware.
“While we are at the early days of the metaverse, it will advance very quickly,” Accenture’s Chief Executive Officer Julie Sweet and Chief Technology Officer Paul Daugherty say in the report. “If companies don’t act now, they’ll find themselves operating in worlds designed by, and for, someone else.”
The business of the metaverse
Advances in technology are becoming more reliable than economic, political or social trends in informing businesses’ long-term strategy, say almost all the global executives surveyed.
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Disney has patented metaverse technology for its theme parks. Meanwhile, Warner Bros hosted a party in Roblox to celebrate its musical film, In the Heights, and Gucci has constructed a garden experience in the metaverse.
And there’s a reason these companies are all piling in: money. A digital version of Gucci’s Dionysus Bag created for the Roblox marketplace sold for over $4,000 – more than the price of the real version.
How is the World Economic Forum ensuring that artificial intelligence is developed to benefit all stakeholders?
Artificial intelligence (AI) is impacting all aspects of society — homes, businesses, schools and even public spaces. But as the technology rapidly advances, multistakeholder collaboration is required to optimize accountability, transparency, privacy and impartiality.
The World Economic Forum's Platform for Shaping the Future of Technology Governance: Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning is bringing together diverse perspectives to drive innovation and create trust.
- One area of work that is well-positioned to take advantage of AI is Human Resources — including hiring, retaining talent, training, benefits and employee satisfaction. The Forum has created a toolkit Human-Centred Artificial Intelligence for Human Resources to promote positive and ethical human-centred use of AI for organizations, workers and society.
- Children and young people today grow up in an increasingly digital age in which technology pervades every aspect of their lives. From robotic toys and social media to the classroom and home, AI is part of life. By developing AI standards for children, the Forum is working with a range of stakeholders to create actionable guidelines to educate, empower and protect children and youth in the age of AI.
- The potential dangers of AI could also impact wider society. To mitigate the risks, the Forum is bringing together over 100 companies, governments, civil society organizations and academic institutions in the Global AI Action Alliance to accelerate the adoption of responsible AI in the global public interest.
- AI is one of the most important technologies for business. To ensure C-suite executives understand its possibilities and risks, the Forum created the Empowering AI Leadership: AI C-Suite Toolkit, which provides practical tools to help them comprehend AI’s impact on their roles and make informed decisions on AI strategy, projects and implementations.
- Shaping the way AI is integrated into procurement processes in the public sector will help define best practice which can be applied throughout the private sector. The Forum has created a set of recommendations designed to encourage wide adoption, which will evolve with insights from a range of trials.
- The Centre for the Fourth Industrial Revolution Rwanda worked with the Ministry of Information, Communication Technology and Innovation to promote the adoption of new technologies in the country, driving innovation on data policy and AI – particularly in healthcare.
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AI and other tech trends
The reimagining of the internet in this way is one of four major tech trends identified in Accenture's report. The others are augmented reality taking hold, the rising risk of malicious AI use – in particular to create deep fakes or to spread disinformation – and “next generation” computing, like quantum computing.
Vail Ski Resort in the US state of Colorado is another example cited by the report as offering a vision of what’s to come. The resort has built a digital twin mirroring the physical mountain, with details of snowfall and years of weather data. This, alongside investments in remote monitoring and automatic snow machines, helps the resort’s managers to increase the predictability of skiing conditions and could eventually let them extend the typical season.
The metaverse and related innovations are transforming the fundamentals of the virtual world, the Accenture report says.
“Now is the time for companies to decide the role that they will play,” it adds. “If they want to be part of the wave, or merely watch how it plays out.”