In 2045, the Oasis metaverse has become “the world’s most important economic resource.” This entirely virtual universe – and global competition – straight out of the science fiction book Ready Player One by Ernest Cline enables people to escape from a real world that has sunk into chaos: energy crisis, climate change, economic stagnation, social issues and overpopulation… Does this remind you of anything? Less apocalyptic, the immersive universes of the most advanced virtual reality platforms promise us parallel worlds with hyper-realistic designs, available through a headset or glasses. Set up with unique environments, they will allow our avatars or holograms to socialize, buy, consume, monetize, play and love; in short, to remake our life or even earn a living while being able to interact with reality.
Visiting virtually every corner of your future house before buying it or having it built, for example, will be as natural as going to a virtual supermarket and having it delivered to your home in real life. Advertisements will, of course, also be part of the experience. This virtual world should bring in billions of real dollars: McKinsey predicted that their annual economic potential could generate up to $5,000 billion worldwide by the end of the current decade – equal to the revenue of Japan, the third largest economy in the world today, the consultants claimed. Other, more realistic studies predicted several hundred billion dollars in annual revenue within five to eight years. After the cloud, artificial intelligence and blockchain (a technology designed to ensure transaction security), immersive virtual reality is digital society’s latest craze.
The risk of virtual colonization
Once again, the American internet giants are leading the way in virtualizing the world. Facebook has set the pace by renaming itself Meta in the fall of 2021 and injecting $10 billion – per year until 2030! – to try to be the first to launch a global metaverse. Its compatriots, Microsoft, Epic Games and Roblox, to name but a few, have already thrown themselves into the fray. Asian companies like HTC Vive have also joined the competition. Europe, on the other hand, risks being virtually colonized again due to a lack of combatants. Despite being the French software leader and a European champion in the sector, Dassault Systèmes has remained discreet in the face of this revolution, which its CEO, Bernard Charlès, recently deemed “a marketing description of what has been done.” The French flagship of the CAC 40 exchange has been offering virtual reality solutions for a long time with its digital twins capable of simulating the human body before a medical operation or designing an entire aircraft in immersive 3D before it is even manufactured.
You have 74.94% of this article left to read. The rest is for subscribers only.
Read the full article here