-Bobby Suman, Fintech Finance
Goldman Sachs predicted that the metavers exist as a $8 Trillion Global Market Opportunities. In a report released by Citi Global Perspectives and Solutions (Citi GPS), the metaverse could even represent a total addressable market worth $13 trillion by 2030. The potential is clearly before our eyes and it’s up to us to separate the noise and signals, to really understand the possibilities of the metaverse. In a conversation with Ronit Ghose, Future of Finance at Citi, I was able to discover some of the most exciting possibilities about the metaverse, the misconceptions people have about it, and much more.
“The Next Generation of the Internet”
“Anything that can be done digitally will be influenced by the metaverse,” Ghose said. In the context of business, the way we work will be reshaped, just as Covid has changed the way we work. In any case, Covid was accelerating the adoption of the metaverse because “our patterns of behavior have completely changed so that we are fully prepared and ready for the metaverse.” Ghose spoke admirably as he explained how, while the younger generations may already be “metaverse-ready” when it comes to tech-savvy, the pandemic also prepared those less tech-savvy in the metaverse world, with Zoom, Microsoft Teams, bringing FaceTime to interact, making everyone ready for the web3 and metaverse 3D visuals on offer. “We may not have holograms beaming from our phones, but it will be a more intuitive, rich experience so that everything we do will be deeply touched by the metaverse.”
When we think of the next-generation Internet, another layer of regulatory principles also comes into play. Existing principles like content moderation and the like will no doubt run parallel in the metaverse, but are regulators ready? With all technological advancements, innovators usually move on and then regulation follows, because if you try to regulate something before it exists, you ruin any chance to grow. With that in mind, regulators may not be ready for the metaverse just yet, but it’s much smarter to work with the emerging technology as time comes and goes.
With all the attention the metaverse has been getting over the past year, it’s easy to cloud reality. “The biggest misconception is that so many people automatically assume it’s just VR. VR is important and has some great use cases, but the metaverse is about how each interface and each entry point gives me a 3D, immersive world,” explains Ghose. Additionally, the metaverse is misconstrued as purely about gaming or toys. in fact, the metaverse has several use cases, such as in enterprise, health services, and education, which Ghose is most excited about as a trend going forward. “It was difficult to get the kids interested in online learning. Having the ability to direct students to iconic bringing visual moments in history, be it the Battle of Hastings or the French Revolution, could really spark attention beyond traditional classroom practices.” Suppose you are studying Indian history and you are transported to the Declaration of Independence and taken to the midnight sermon, the whole class is transported to that moment in history where you will remember so much into a truly magical experience.”
Also on the health front, Ghose cited how patients who were geographically distant from their doctors could still receive medical experiences through the metaverse. In fact, the services could be delivered in a 3D, much more user-friendly, accessible way, where medical specialists, with the help of a doctor on site, can advise on treatments, exercises or even assist with surgery. “Ultimately, people miss the ubiquity and diversity of the use cases.”
Gaming may be big initially, but I think it will be more social. “In a positive and negative way, the internet is really good at connecting people with each other, with information, and this will just be the next step,” Ghose continues. “For older people, maybe Covid has enabled them to accept zoom and become more digitally savvy. But think about the joy that you bring when you can see them in 3D through a phone call, the joy and happiness it will bring people. The way to think about the metaverse is that it’s not physical it’s replacing it with digital, it’s merging the good stuff about physical with the digital”
Addressing the Negatives
There is no light without the dark. “Web2 issues surrounding privacy, content moderation, and data security are issues that we are all very familiar with. In a study conducted of 10,093 American adults in 2020, it was found that about 4 in 10 experience online harassment. Also in a broader sense, nearly two-thirds of all Americans experience online harassment. That’s a huge figure. What happens if someone abuses me in a hyper-realistic way in the metaverse? Or if a child sits on a forum where the abusers in a physical world are reproduced in a virtual world? How do we create safe spaces in the virtual world? For young people, a digital attack can be just as traumatic and shocking as a physical one. This is especially true because research from security.org shows: 21% of children between 10 and 18 years have been victims of cyberbullying, mainly through social networking channels. In a metaverse all about connectivity, how do we monitor that? It’s a gateway to amazing connectivity and knowledge, but it can also be a gateway to hell.” Ghose was honest in addressing these fully justified and realistic concerns, but gets back to that point with regulation. These are fears and problems that the metaverse will prepare for, but will constantly manage and reorganize with all the trends that the metaverse develops in its evolution.
Concerns about the environment?
While Ghose was honest when he said he’s not in a position to pass judgment on the metaverse from an environmental standpoint, I think it’s worth mentioning Hannah Duncan’s fears here. “Environmentalists are concerned. For the metaverse to work, Intel revealed that a 1,000-fold increase in energy is needed.” That stat alone is staggering to understand, given how many companies claim they are already doing in the race to Net Zero and the rise in energy prices. which many feel seriously tense. Duncan points out that “high-end gamers pump 2,000 pounds or 907 kg of CO2 emissions into the atmosphere every year, which I think is closer to the level of environmental damage that the metaverse Would we ever have the infrastructure to support this? Again, while so much hype has been created for the metaverse, we’re still in an extremely early stage of development – so time will tell.
To view more data on the topic, feel free to browse Citi .’s report here†