Emerging Technologies

3 ways to ensure trust in a digital world

Trust must be the foundation of technologies such as extended reality and artificial intelligence.

Trust must be the foundation of technologies such as extended reality and artificial intelligence. Image: Copyright (c) 2024. GCV: World Economic Forum, Accenture, and Microsoft. All rights reserved.

Chieh Huang
President, Global Collaboration Village, World Economic Forum
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Emerging Technologies

This article is part of: World Economic Forum Annual Meeting
  • New and emerging technologies test people’s understanding of reality. Therefore, trust must be the foundation of how they develop.
  • The Global Collaboration Village brings together partners to exchange ideas with trust built through inclusivity, emotional engagement and available pathways to change.
  • Davos 2024, the Annual Meeting of the World Economic Forum, took place from 15–19 January in Davos, Switzerland.

The digital realm has become a “wild west” of uncertainty. With the advancement of powerful new technologies such as large language models and artificial intelligence (AI), is the concept of trust still a viable idea in the online world today?

It is no longer science fiction to think that one afternoon, you could be diving into a sparkling blue ocean in augmented reality, and by the evening, you’re lost in a maze of deepfakes and misinformation. In this new reality, trust, simultaneously a simple yet difficult-to-achieve idea, still must be the North Star guiding us through the binary wilderness we’re all traversing. Whether we’re talking metaverse, extended reality (XR) or AI, it is the glue that holds our digital realities together.

This truth is also why trust is the foundation of the Global Collaboration Village, a purpose-driven platform created by the World Economic Forum in partnership with Accenture and Microsoft to bring diverse global voices together in a virtual space to exchange ideas.

The year 2024 marks the start of the second full year of the village. Two years ago, it started as just an idea for an inclusive, immersive platform. This year, it has come to life as an open and operational reality of a place where diverse voices can exchange ideas and partner for impact. In this journey, we have identified three key lessons to ensure trust in the digital world.

Have you read?

1. Democratize access

Diverse voices are vital to creating a genuinely inclusive platform where the digital world becomes a trusted forum for different points of view.

The village aims to embody diversity across sectors, industries, geographies, generations and gender. This year at Davos 2024, this year’s Annual Meeting in Davos, Switzerland, more than 300 participants from all over the world, a number of them fully remote from, among other places, Brazil, Indonesia and Zimbabwe, will immersively explore various aspects of the village to engage in discussions about topics including climate tipping points, aquaculture, energy transition, decomplexifying global manufacturing supply chains, and the intersection of generative AI, art and activism.

2. Focus on enhancing the experience

Insights from the “Whose Metaverse?” case study, as detailed in the paper Social Implications of the Metaverse (2023), emphasize the vital role of emotional engagement in virtual environments. This study reveals that immersive learning methods are substantially more effective, enhancing learner confidence and skill application by 75% and 275% respectively, compared to traditional classroom settings. These findings highlight the significance of emotional connection and immersive experiences for users in virtual worlds, surpassing the importance of visual realism in these digital spaces.

Building on that idea, the village’s XR technology is focused on creating those emotional connections and building an immersive virtual environment that is more engaging and effective than standard video conferencing. In the village, decision makers engage in risk-free simulations and experiential learning in a safe, trusted environment.

The Advanced Manufacturing and Supply Chain Hub visualizes and simplifies complex manufacturing concepts.
The Advanced Manufacturing and Supply Chain Hub visualizes and simplifies complex manufacturing concepts. Image: Global Collaboration Village

3. Create avenues for positive, sustainable change

Cooperation – among private and public sectors and across and within borders and industries – is essential to addressing the interconnected and complex challenges facing our world. It’s what the Forum has specialized in for over 50 years.

Now, in the village, leaders actively shape and drive sustainable change in an innovation hub using advanced 3D tools. For example, the village’s Stakeholder Campus features pavilions from five Forum partners – Aramco, Arctic Basecamp,Interpol, SAP and Schneider Electric. Participants are coming together to exchange ideas and partner to advance impactful projects. They can trust that the collaboration occurring in these XR pavilions will continue and drive results in the real world.

Moving forward

In this context, Davos 2024 stands as a landmark event, marking the first instance where the metaverse is being utilized at this level of international engagement for fostering public-private cooperation.

That is more than just about deploying advanced tech. It’s about enhancing global voices. Consider someone in a remote part of the world who now gains a new platform for expression. This is innovation driving empowerment, using technology to broaden perspectives on global issues.

And it’s not only about dialogue; it’s about fostering deeper understanding. It’s transforming the adage of walking a mile in someone else’s shoes into a reality. This kind of empathy is where real transformation begins.

Immersion in XR makes the realities of climate tipping points immediate and undeniable, deepening empathy.
Immersion in XR makes the realities of climate tipping points immediate and undeniable, deepening empathy. Image: Global Collaboration Village
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The views expressed in this article are those of the author alone and not the World Economic Forum.

Related topics:
Emerging TechnologiesDavos AgendaArtificial Intelligence
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