The new era of the internet is coming. The metaverse is an immersive, interoperable and synchronous digital world that will change how we interact, work and play.
The World Economic Forum has assembled a global, multi-sector working group of over 150 experts to co-design and guide this initiative. The hope is that this will lead to cross-sector global cooperation and the creation of a human-first metaverse. The metaverse has the potential to be a game-changer, but it must be developed in a way that is inclusive, equitable and safe for everyone.
The World Economic Forum is the latest testing ground for the metaverse, with a virtual version of the alpine town of Davos being tested during the ongoing summit. The virtual village has been designed and functioned to look like a real Swiss Town except that here the people convening in co-working spaces, attending conferences in government buildings, and browsing museums will be doing so as avatars.
The World Economic Forum, to drive participation in the project, has urged companies to set up virtual shop fronts and participate in dialogues and discussions on major ongoing issues. The virtual village has been created in partnership with Microsoft and Accenture as part of the future of public-private cooperation.
WEF Chairman Klaus Schwab, speaking about the project while discussing his metaverse experience, stated,
“I got so fast accustomed to it; for me, it’s the next big phase of the development into the virtual world.”
“With the Global Collaboration Village, we are creating the first public purpose-oriented application of the metaverse technology, building a true global village in the virtual space. “The metaverse will influence the way people, governments, companies, and society at large think, work, interact, and communicate for the purpose of collectively addressing issues on the global agenda. The Global Collaboration Village will be an extension of the World Economic Forum’s public-private platforms and in-person meetings and will provide a more open, more sustained, and more comprehensive process for coming together.”
The World Economic Forum’s Global collaboration Village is the latest attempt to recreate real places in the metaverse. We have already seen previous attempts when the capital of South Korea, Seoul, announced the “Metaverse Seoul” which could feature tax services, youth counselling, and tourism hotspots. The island nation of Tuvalu also became the first country to create a digital version of itself.
Schwab stated that he hopes the Global Collaboration Village would be beneficial for several projects, citing the example of how ocean environmentalists could create simulations of the ocean and demonstrate how to restore coral reefs or how mangroves could help fight against rising sea levels.