Post-pandemic societies: time for the Metaverse?

12, May

By Martin Padulla for staffingamericalatina It is normal to be a bit lost in times of paradigm transition. The ...

By Martin Padulla for staffingamericalatina

It is normal to be a bit lost in times of paradigm transition. The future seems to be developing at an unprecedented speed while the decision-makers of nation-states seem, in general terms, to be far removed from it. The extreme point, perhaps, is to propitiate a war of the last century in the middle of the 21st century. Bringing back the past at the cost of human lives is, without a doubt, a real tragedy and a great crime.
Statistics indicate that we are emerging from the unprecedented phenomenon of COVID19, the first pandemic 4.0. The first truly global social phenomenon in a globalized world.

The pandemic taught us to work differently. Millions of people around the World experienced a reinvention forced by circumstances. This year, with digital transformation accelerating, many are working a more planned reinvention.
The increased speed of digital transformation is explained, among other factors, by an announcement made in late October of last year. In a video lasting just under an hour and twenty minutes, Mark Zuckerberg presented something that seemed, at the time, to be seriously disruptive.

Watching the video closely, I couldn’t help but be reminded of David Letterman’s interview with a young Bill Gates in the mid-1990s. The American late talk show star was skeptical (and even mocking) of Gates’ explanations of what the Internet was all about. Many reactions to the Facebook founder’s presentation were similar to those of Letterman in that interview

Zuckerberg presented a virtual but immersive ecosystem. A way of connecting that until today was unimaginable or only circumscribed to the world of online games. Something that seems to be transforming our experiences. A kind of alternative reality, a parallel universe that he called Metaverse. The next great evolutionary leap of the Internet.
What does this have to do with the world of work? As it stands, these hitherto unimaginable ways of connecting will bring as many opportunities as those offered by the real physical world. Some think it could even be more opportunities, since that world has to be built. Many new professional profiles that do not exist today will be needed. Profiles related to the world of virtual reality, augmented reality, cryptocurrencies, blockchain, 3 D design, gaming; a new 100% digital economy with high impact on the real world.

Being in the virtual experience and not just seeing it, implies a total change in the rules of the game. If the Fourth Industrial Revolution was the one in which digitalization was going to change the way we produce, live and relate to each other, the Metaverse seems to be the environment in which, or through which, this is going to happen.
Is it far away? We are still a long way from being able to connect all of us to the Metaverse; however, many companies are working on the infrastructure of this virtual universe and are generating hundreds of thousands of job opportunities.

The extended reality glasses that are already on the market allow digital immersion. Virtual land parcels have been sold for several million dollars in Decentraland or The Sandbox. The latter made 65,000 virtual land transactions last year for a total of USD 350 million.

Obviously for our region the challenges are enormous if it does not want to “miss the train”. 5G is the key to all this. According to Gartner, by 2026, 25% of the world will spend at least one hour per day in the Metaverse. What percentage of Latin Americans will do so will depend on multiple factors. What seems clear is that the transformations that are essential for our region are urgent. The speed required is increasing. There is no time to debate the past; among other things because in a very short time it will be possible to take a history class in the place where the events occurred and at the exact moment.

When Zuckerberg says “I believe that Metaverse is the next chapter for the Internet” he is going beyond the goals of a company. What he is doing is a true statement of intent. Showing a path that goes beyond the fate of Meta, the new identity of his group of companies.
What really matters is the concept, which seems to show a new form of socialization.
The work of the future and the learning of the future will not be selfish or mechanical, it will be collaborative and hybrid, immersive in a reality that goes beyond what we know.

If we think that today’s jobs don’t connect to skills, the challenge is daunting. Half of the available talent will need reskilling by 2025 regardless of the possible impact of the Metaverse by that year. It is natural that close to 100% of those reading this think they are in the other half…natural but not convenient.
Truly exploring all forms of learning and various forms of flexible work will allow us to develop our careers. Remaining anchored in a last century concept of work and education will guarantee exclusion and lack of development.

We are witnessing the beginning of a new paradigm. The region must embrace the post-pandemic agenda; all social actors must work actively to take advantage of the opportunities it brings. There are many and it is worth doing the impossible to capitalize on the benefits.
The concept of what we now call the Metaverse is the true global game changer. It is up to us to make this change inclusive and sustainable.