The governments of the United Arab Emirates, South Korea are among the first wave of national governments to invest in state-sponsored metaverse platforms.
The metaverse was one of the main topics of discussion at the World Economic Forum (WEF) 2022 in June. Experts predict that Metaverse will be useful in various fields, including medical and rescue operations, where it is sometimes impossible for people to perform tasks in person, and where a virtual reality setup can be precious
But many national governments are going even further and are already considering offering metaverse cities, with some advocates even asking the United Nations to regulate them. During the World Economic Forum, the Minister of State for Artificial Intelligence of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Omar Sultan Al Olama, warned of the possibility of “cyber-murder”, an act of almost fatal violence directed against the another person’s avatar. Minister Al Olama said that cyber-killing can be a traumatic experience for users, who perceive the violence perpetrated against their virtual persona as an extension of themselves.
As a result, the minister promoted the establishment of international standards of behavior and safety to prohibit users from committing murder in the metaverse, regardless of where the users live. In response, many human rights activists called the proposal hypocritical and a covert attempt by the UAE to censor dissenting speech. “The purpose of this statement is not to fight crime, but an introduction to the metaverse censorship. They use spyware under the pretext of fighting terrorism, said the director of the Emirates Detainees’ Rights Center Hamad Alshamsi. This proposal could be create negative externalities by diverting the limited resources of the international community from solving more immediate and tangible problems.
The United Arab Emirates
On September 29, the United Arab Emirates’ Ministry of Economy announced via Twitter that it has established the first state-sponsored “metaverse office” to host official meetings and sign agreement statements.
In a panel session at the Dubai Metaverse Forum, HE Abdulla bin Touq Al Marri, Minister of Economy: The UAE is a global hub for new economic opportunities and future technologies.
– Ministry of Economy – UAE (@Economyae) September 29, 2022
The ministry describes the Metaverse desktop as “an immersive environment where people can walk around, earn their tokens, interact with others, and enjoy services. [du ministère de l’Économie]”. Most recently this month, the United Arab Emirates launched Sharjaverse, the world’s first publicly accessible, government-backed metaverse city that will support the local tourism industry. Sharjah is the second most populous emirate in the United Arab Emirates with approximately 1.8 million inhabitants. While Sharjah is less well known than Dubai, Sharjaverse makes the city accessible to people around the world through virtual reality. Sharjaverse was designed by Multiverse Labs in collaboration with Sharjah Commerce & Tourism Development Authority (SCTDA). The city includes a “Virtual Transaction Center” where users can interact with customer service agents to process official documents from state departments and receive information about Sharjah’s Department of Planning. and survey.
State officials expect that this new platform will help improve the country’s digital economy and the local tourism industry. Sharjahverse virtual tourism will provide unprecedented access to almost any location, personalized customer experience and enhanced entertainment, said SCTDA President Khalid Jasim Al Midfa in an interview with Tech Wire Asia . In addition, to help measure the growth of the Metaverse economy, UAE Minister Omar Al Olama announced at the Dubai Metaverse Assembly that the government is developing a new metric, called “Metaverse Gross Product.” “. This product can make billions of dollars in returns from Dubai without people physically in the emirate but experiencing it in the metaverse. The sectors to which the standard will be applied will include tourism, education, retail, real estate, and government. The Dubai Metaverse strategy aims to create 40,000 jobs and add $4 billion to the emirate’s economy over the next five years.
Under South Korea’s Digital New Deal program, the government has pledged approximately $177.1 million to fund metaverse development projects. One of the goals of this initiative is to allow South Koreans to use their digital avatar as a passport to receive state services and resources. On September 15, South Korea’s Ministry of Science and ICT (MSIT) and the National Data Policy Committee issued a press release saying they will draft metaverse-specific regulatory changes. These changes are expected to address issues such as how to protect minors in South Korea from online sexual harassment – for example, in 2021, South Korean authorities reported that a A 30-year-old man from South Korea faked his age and attracted minors. the metaverse to send them inappropriate images in exchange for metaverse gifts. To address these security risks, the vice president of the Korea Communications Commission recently began discussions with Meta on how to protect minors online.
South Korea’s MSIT recently released a set of ethical guidelines that emphasize three pillars: promoting user expression, safe enjoyment, and sustainable development. MSIT estimates that South Korea’s expansion into the metaverse will cost $140 million.
The Chinese government is investing in the development of a state-sanctioned metaverse platform. Chinese local authorities in provinces such as Shanghai, Hangzhou, Wuhan, and Hefei have proposed the integration and development of the metaverse to accelerate and promote digital growth and industry in their government work reports. However, some officials of the People’s Bank of China fear that the metaverse and cryptocurrencies could lead to an increase in crime and money laundering schemes. The director of the anti-money laundering unit of the People’s Bank of China, Gou Wenjun, offered to monitor NFTs and the metaverse during the state summit on financial security in 2021. Efforts to carefully develop a so-called Chinaverse platform continues. The International Data Corporation estimates that by 2025, about 37 million Chinese online users will have a virtual identity to browse.
In the future
It is difficult to project oneself in this type of project piloted by governments that are not known to have succeeded in their transformation to Web2. We published a few months ago, 2 visions that give a glimpse of the future of the metaverse of private companies 🙂 One is an interview with the creator of Second Life, a metaverse created in 2003 with a vision of the metaverse that is very different from Facebook’s strategy on the subject. The second shows the challenges and in particular with the required amount of calculation!
Going forward, the expected value of the Metaverse market could reach $758.6 billion by 2026, according to a 2022 business study by Ernst & Young. Why do these states build a metaverse, I doubt it is to develop humanity but in most part to control the more use of their citizens, which will be power 10 compared to the uses of Web2. Thierry Breton, European Commissioner for the Internal Market, also presented a three-step plan around the continent’s metaverse ambitions, while announcing the launch of a VR and AR coalition to encourage investment in the sector but have an ethical vision to protect fundamental rights. .