‘The next age of the Internet is coming’ — Virtualization Review


Davos 2023 tackles the metaverse: ‘The next era of the Internet is coming’

“The next era of the Internet is coming,” says a new report from the World Economic Forum’s (WEF) annual meeting, dubbed Davos 2023 for its location in the Swiss resort region.

The WEF brings together leaders from government, business and other “civil society” institutions to discuss the state of the world and discuss priorities for the coming year. The group says the meeting provides a platform to engage in constructive, forward-looking dialogues and help find solutions through public-private sector collaboration. It is regarded as an important gathering of people from all walks of life – technology, politics, entertainment, journalism, economics, academics and more – coming together to implement future initiatives.

This year’s meeting, which ends tomorrow (January 20), featured advanced technology. After showcasing Web3 predictions and a cryptocurrency rebound, the forum tackled the metaverse, described as “an immersive, interoperable and synchronous digital world that will transform the way we interact, work and play with each other”.

This description is contained in a report titled Interoperability in the Metaverse, published on January 18 with a companion report, Demystifying the Consumer Metaverse.

Both reports form the preliminary results of WEF’s “Defining and Building the Metaverse” initiative launched last May. At the time, the WEF said it “brings together leading voices from the private sector, civil society, academia and policy to define the parameters of a cost-effective, interoperable, secure and inclusive metaverse, focusing on two key areas: governance and economic. and social value creation”.

Interaction in the Metaverse
The interoperability report stems from a governance track written in collaboration with Accenture that focuses on providing relevant guidance to empower metaverse stakeholders to lead responsibly, mitigating potential socio-economic harms. The report noted concerns about interoperability:

  • information circulating through interoperable infrastructures
  • participants move themselves, their assets and their creativity between platforms and experiences
  • practices are protected through barriers such as collaboration and content moderation

In addition, the report states that interoperability in the metaverse can offer great opportunities and value for frictionless experiences, development and economies. On the other hand, these “potential socio-economic damages” include bad things like identity fraud and transaction fraud.

As the chart below shows, interoperability is one of the four metaverse value levers.

Value layers in the Metaverse
[Click on image for larger view.] Value layers in the Metaverse (source: WEF).

The report states that the interoperability value arm can be used by stakeholders to:

  • Improve access to participate, work and play in digital experiences and digital markets
  • Enable social, privacy, security, and financial network effects
  • Extend (real-life) experiences in new ways to deliver value to end users

“Interoperability design choices must be balanced to create flexible systems that also consider privacy, security, safety, and identity needs,” the report states. “Interoperability may not always be a desirable state. Although not inherently contradictory, an action that maximizes only one value — such as interoperability — may do so at the expense of achieving other goals. For example, over-indexing in interoperability. a value such as without balancing security may expose children to unwanted content and create an imbalance between desired levels of security and privacy.

“Given the delicate interplay of design choices and value levers for engagement, standards, guidelines, best practices, and other tools must be timely and not created independently. Stakeholders—providers, creators, civil society, and participants—are equally integral. — both formally and informally, collaborate to co-develop best practices and standards for human-first interactions to maximize the potential of the metaverse at scale.”

As another graphic shows, interoperability is also a key core concept of the computing metaverse, along with Web3, augmented reality (XR), and others:

Metaverse Basic Concepts
[Click on image for larger view.] Metaverse Basic Concepts (source: WEF).

Regarding overall governance, which generated the report, the WEF said that these items would be useful to consider when designing a future governance framework:

  • An interoperable metaverse must be human first to prioritize the well-being of all stakeholders
  • Interoperability design must take into account existing privacy, security and child safety frameworks to maintain the necessary balance.
  • Metaverse literacy is indispensable for enabling safe, interactive experiences
  • Interaction design choices should be meaningful and timely
  • Technical information sharing, stakeholder engagement and management across practices depend on multi-stakeholder collaboration
  • Social contracts and participant expectations vary across experiences
  • Interaction is nuanced, multidimensional, and a spectrum that must be respected

The WEF said the report is not intended to be a comprehensive view of the metaverse, but will instead be combined with other briefing papers to help develop a white paper on metaverse governance.

“While adapting existing regulations and building new policies may be necessary to adapt to new and unexpected challenges, continued collaboration and further research in policy, standards and other forms between metaverse stakeholders, including providers, creators, civil society and participants, is needed. Leadership is a key first step toward progress in building a human-first meta-universe,” the report concluded. “Businesses, governments, academia, and civil society need to collaborate to create appropriate standards that support metaverse interoperability, encourage innovation, and support a human-first approach. More work needs to be done, but understanding the foundation that will drive interoperability and its potential can open it up.” , is an important first step.”

Unraveling the Mystery of the Consumer Metaverse
Also co-authored with Accenture, this report focuses on consumer applications, presenting various use cases for consumer-facing organizations and applications in the metaverse.

This report deciphers the metaverse — particularly the confusing “web3” and “Web 3.0” components — and discusses value creation, economic models, and future value horizons.

“The Metaverse is expected to have a broad impact on consumer attitudes and behaviors, influencing how, where and when they want to play, learn, earn and socialize in their existing or newly created augmented and virtual realities.” the report says. “As a result, organizations will need to redefine their brand image, change their relationship with consumers, and change the way they monetize their products and services to create true consumer value. They will likely shift from offering products and services to becoming participants and providers of a metaverse, meaning for their customers.” and delivering engaging experiences and building communities to create satisfaction.”

As for those who confuse the terms Web3 and Web 3.0, the report says that Web 3.0 describes the third phase of the Internet, which is an evolution toward distributed systems to create a more secure, transparent, and open Internet experience that enables direct interaction between users and their users. unmediated peers.

Web 3.0
[Click on image for larger view.] Web 3.0 (source: WEF).

At the same time, web3 shows how decentralization is achieved in this context, described as an emerging portfolio of decentralized technologies, including: blockchain and its applications – working together with protocols and standards to determine the origin, authenticity and value of data.

Key insights from the report provided by the WEF include:

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