If you’re looking for it, head to 3.1 Genesis Plaza in Decentraland, one of the trendy metaverse around. Will, the first homeless man in the metaverse, alerts us to the isolation of the most dangerous “IRL”, in real life. He appeared on March 31. The day of the end of winter break in France. To counteract the continuation of rent evictions but also the loneliness of nearly 7 million people in France, the Entourage association has decided to mark its occasion. Metaverse homeless. True spokesperson for the most dangerous.
“We want to recreate social relationships and this virtual character seems like a good idea. as a means of interpellation“, explained Jean-Marc Potdevin, president and co-founder of the Entourage network, at WE DEMAIN. Entourage, a community with 150,000 loyal citizens, is therefore questioning this future society, this Web3, where virtual social relationships become king.He invites each of us to take care of the most dangerous, in real life, through this unique operation.
A virtual character from the metaverse with real roots
Concrete, Will was created with the agency TBWA \ Paris. This is the origin of this idea and it works pro bono with Entourage since 2015. This first homeless person in the metaverse has been thriving in a few days in Decentraland. “Obviously we couldn’t buy a parcel of 23,000 m2 of land available in Decentraland because Will was homeless.explanation by Jean-Marc Potdevin. He wanders around but he always passes by Genesis Plazawhich is the central area of this metaverse managed by a foundation. There are slots where he is there to chat. ”
I am Will, the first man #SansAbriDuMetavers. I am here to remind you that in France, more than 300,000 homeless people live in the most complete separation and are deprived of social relationships.
– Entourage (@R_Entourage) March 31, 2022
The Entourage association also plans cross-interviews with real-life people in the future. With truly homeless people, members of the Entourage network, people from the metaverse … Even the candidates for the 2022 presidential election if they accept the invitation. On this topic, Emmanuel Macron also discussed the idea of a European metaverse and created a space in the Minecraft campaign. Will he dare to trade Will?
An SDF created by the homeless themselves
A virtual character, but who stays as close as possible to real homeless people. Willingly, the goal is not to be caricatural but to show real experiences. So the Will was made with the help of the Comité de la Rue d’Entourage. This collective made up of people who are now or previously homeless has helped give Will depth. “The vice-president of the committee even imitated the way a homeless person stands, with their shoulders bowed slightly, how they move to make themselves as invisible as possible”determines the president of the association.
Far from clichés, Will portrays the mostly homeless. “Of the 300,000 homeless people in France, 295,000 are like you and me. We need to break down prejudices“, insisted Jean-Marc Potdevin. Age, sex, skin color, dress, choice of first name … every detail is thought to reflect the truth as much as possible. “To the point that those involved in making Will ended up with reservations, for fear of seeing the character attacked in the metaverse.e, ”he explained. Fortunately, this scenario is not feasible because the metaverse is implementing measures to avoid these situations.
Changing perspectives and interacting with the homeless
According to Entourage, 71% of the homeless have a smartphone or tablet. “A lot of them use social networks but that doesn’t leave them alone, added Mr. Potdevin. They are often ignored in real life. To change this, a change of perspective is necessary. They are no longer considered people in need but as neighbors, people who have as much to offer us as we have to offer them, through discussions and social exchanges.
To develop a real connection at the most risk, not on social networks but in real life, Entourage has created an application. The “Entourage Solidarity Network” (on the Internet, iOS and Android) makes it possible to connect with neighbors who support the homeless but also to deconstruct prejudices (alcohol, begging, Rome, etc.) through video content. The goal, in the endthan in re-create friendship networks, in real life, through friendship events mixing homeless, vulnerable and social people.
More connected… and more isolated behind our screens
Studies, like Gartner’s, predict that a quarter of the population will spend at least an hour per day in the metaverse by 2026. But WHAT the rest of the population and the preservation of social relations?
This is exactly the current paradox: we weren’t very connected yet and even then we were never alone behind our screens. A conflicting danger that may be further emphasized with the development of the metaverse, this virtual and immersive world, is considered the future version of the Internet.
This social bond of danger is even a real life line for the most dangerous. The association reminds us: 4 million French people have less than 3 conversations per year. And an Entourage report, published in 2020, pointed out that 72% of homeless people surrounded say they want to start new projects (keep up their pace, become a volunteer, find a job, etc.). The importance of taking an interest in social relationships is greater than ever.
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