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Friends of the Metaverse – Season of Innovation 2023!

🎉 I am so honored to join Friends of the Metaverse® for the upcoming SEASON OF INNOVATION 2023, including:

🔶 Louis Rosenberg, Unanimous AI
🔶 David Palmer, Vodaphone Business
🔶 Mischa Dohler, Ericsson
🔶 Sasha Wallinger, Blockchain Style Lab
🔶 Sylvia Gallusser, Accenture
🔶 Alan Smithson 🚀, METAVRSE

Thank you so much Lisa M. Lum for the invitation and Sasha Wallinger for the recommendation! Looking forward to this exceptional event!

Stay tuned for more updates on the lineup!

Check out the rest of the confirmed speakers so far and get your ticket here 👇

https://www.eventbrite.com/e/season-of-innovation-2023-virtual-global-conference-tickets-626692733837

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Generative AI and the Future of Marketing

Last week, I was absolutely thrilled to dive into #GenerativeAI and the Future of #Marketing with my Accenture colleague and friend Yulia Barnakova at the Women of the Future virtual event – an awesome initiative by Anne-Marie Enns!

“Getting Ready for Generative AI and the Future of Marketing”:
The session explored how Generative AI is rapidly transforming content creation, curation and consumption, requiring new approaches to marketing and brand engagement.
The session featured an overview of the landscape, hands-on gen-AI demos and tricks, and an inclusive discussion on current use cases, future implications, and ethical considerations.
Participants walked away with practical ways to leverage genAI in their work and continuously learn amid the fast-changing landscape.

Generative AI and the Future of Retail

This month, I got a unique opportunity to be invited as a keynote speaker to launch the Microsoft “Elevating You” conference on the Future of Retail.

The masterclass was an opportunity to gain insights into the power and specificities of Generative AI within the realm of Artificial Intelligence. We investigated the ramifications of this ground-breaking technology for Retail, focused on a few game-changing applications, and zoomed out to get a sense of the revolution at play for Retail and beyond.

Sylvia Gallusser, Global Futurist at Silicon Humanism & Tech Innovation Strategist at Accenture

Sylvia is an inquirer of our future, conducting foresight projects on the future of health, well-aging, and social interaction, the future of work and life-long learning, as well as transformations in mobility and retail. She closely monitors the future of the mind and transhumanism, and investigates Artificial General Intelligence, Generative AI, and AI ethics.

As a renowned futurist, Sylvia focuses her research on mental health in the workplace and remote work environments, and on the home of the 2020s, developing a resilient housing framework. She is the Founder and CEO of Silicon Humanism, an initiative dedicated to exploring our human future(s) and preparing for it. She is involved in the future of our oceans and supports positive ocean tech startups as a mentor at Sustainable Ocean Alliance. Sylvia is the host of the “Ethics and Philosophy of Futures” think tank that she launched within the Association of Professional Futurists.

Sylvia is also a skilled Go-to-Metaverse Strategist, helping brands enter the metaverse and web3 strategically and ethically, and co-designing focused metaverse experiences. This is in her quality of Global Futurist and Tech Innovation Strategist that she joined the Metaverse Continuum Business Group. Sylvia started her career at Accenture in 2004, before leaving for a transatlantic career in diplomacy, and rejoining the company in 2022.

Sylvia has been advising 500+ tech companies on their strategy, business development, and funding for the past 18 years, notably as Head of Technology at Business France North America, General Manager at French Tech Hub, and Co-founder at big bang factory. 

Sylvia graduated from HEC Paris and settled in San Francisco in 2005, where she has developed a special interest in the Silicon Valley ecosystem. She is a published author of Speculative Fiction with Fast Future Publishing, regularly gives conferences and interviews as a distinguished female futurist, teaches MBA programs, and facilitates workshops on go-to-market strategy, competitive analysis, futures thinking, worldbuilding, and entrepreneurship.

When not shaping the future, Sylvia enjoys playing tennis, pickle ball, and running races. She is a talented pianist and violinist, painter, and writer. She is also fond of puzzles, board games, escape games, and TV series!

The 6-month Revolution of Generative AI

It has been an almost impossible exercise to capture all the trends and signals related to Generative AI these past 6 months, to encapsulate them in an exhaustive consistent narrative as the news is being created, and to relay them to you in a meaningful way.

Generative AI has become the pet peeve of the futurist – an overload of signals that will define the future, but almost impossible to unscramble given the level of time acceleration.

Hopefully this timeline helps to recap the most important episodes of the Gen AI revolution currently at play…

Generative AI: Prompt Mania!

I had great fun taking part in the latest episode of Silicon Carne covering #GenerativeAI and the #PromptMania with amazing host and serial entrepreneur Carlos Diaz and talented growth marketer and prompt concierge Guillaume Dumortier!

Listen to the episode below and collect the NFT here: https://siliconcarne.uncut.network/nft/34359763993

We discussed:
– Generative AI in the landscape of AI
– chatGPT and the democratization of AI
– Prompt engineering, the new dream job or a must-have skill
– The different levels of prompting
– The future of marketing
– The best prompt idas
– The failing prompts
– Plugins and APIs
– Consumer and business use cases
– Prompt injections
– chatbot hacking
– AI ethics
– Creative writing
and more!

Thank you so much for having me on the show, Carlos!

Human Progress and the Programmable World

Exciting news! 🎉 I am thrilled to announce that I will be joining the panel for the upcoming Human Progress and the “Programmable World” #InsightsLive Webinar, hosted by AIXR.

As the programmable world continues to revolutionize our lives, let’s dive in virtual worlds, extended reality, web3, generative AI, human/computer interfacing, and the future of the metaverse!

I am delighted to join web3 Futurist & Strategist Sasha Wallinger, Real World Metaverse expert James Lee Burgess FRSA, and our host XR Leader Vincent Steenhoek.

We will discuss recent evolutions in the web3/metaverse space, the future of merging man and machine, and address ethical issues surrounding immersive technologies and human behaviors. 🌐💻🤖

Join us on Tuesday, May 9th at 7:00 PM BST / 11:00 AM PDT as we delve into the philosophical and psychological effects of immersive technology on humanity. 🤔💭

Don’t miss out on this thought-provoking discussion – secure your spot by registering at the link below. I can’t wait to see you there! 🎟️💻👀

➡️ Register – https://lnkd.in/gRRfr7sW

Generative AI and the Future of the Metaverse

By Sylvia Gallusser – Global Futurist @ Silicon Humanism, Tech Innovation Strategist @ Accenture

These past years, with the massive development of social media, personalization, and omnichannel strategies, marketing and creative teams have been under more pressure to create assets and deliver more campaigns, faster than ever before.

But creating high-quality content requires time, cost, and expertise.

In regards 3D content, for VR and AR applications, resource-consumption is even more exacerbated.

1 – NOW

In the last few months, user-friendly generative AI tools such chatGPT, Dall-E, Midjourney and a large ecosystem of emerging startups and corporate solutions have accelerated metaverse content creation. At CES, NVIDIA unveiled new generative AI technologies coming to Omniverse to help create virtual worlds faster and easier than ever…

In a movement of latent evolution and now revolution (see all these announcements in just a couple of weeks, and we cannot even keep up with those), generative AI is disrupting the content generation process by streamlining workflows, bringing down costs, while still raising content quality.

What we observe in the metaverse space, is that generative AI tools and creatives are working hand in hand to populate virtual worlds. And now, the recently launched GPT-4 is going to contribute to accelerate the development of the multimodal metaverse with further types of inputs.

2 – SOON

But the metaverse is not limited to Virtual Worlds. The Metaverse ambitions to be a continuum as Accenture has introduced it in its Tech Vision 2022: a continuum of reality (from AR to VR to MR) power converging technologies and capabilities (IoT, blockchain, digital twins, AI, 5G, etc.), a continuum of experiences covering our different identities all over our human journey (as a consumer, as a worker, as a social animal) and also a continuum of use cases all along the enterprise value chain.

For example, if we focus here on business use cases, the Metaverse is currently revolutionizing all components, from enterprise management, employee experience, supply chain, and operations, to payments, product design, marketing, and customer experience.

It started with brand activations in the metaverse (through NFT drop, immersive experience on gaming platforms, AR apps) and XR experimentation along digital twins in the industrial word (following in the footsteps of early adopter NASA decades ago!). But more and more use cases are being deployed and we expect the full value chain to go through the metaverse transformation, the same way we have seen the enterprise go through a full digital transformation of the last two decades.

What we notice is that for all this metaverse value chain, Generative AI is a game-changer. In just a short while, we have started to see many applications gain traction and we are expecting a lot more to come.

In terms of Customer Experience, many tools are already available and dramatically changing not only the task but the job itself. To name a few, we see conversational marketing, communication personalizers, marketing copywriters, AI personal shoppers, automated tagging for recommendations, AI customer agents, automated explainer videos, and this is just the tip of the iceberg.

In the realm of Product Design, you get AI-generated functional assets, creation of extended physical properties, generation of visual identity, branding, packaging, naming inspirations, verbal product design, AI-powered R&D ideation, assisted design, AI pair programmer, Auto-generated technical training environments, and more.

Enterprise Management and Employee Experience are now populated with synthetic recruiting agents, auto-generated learning maps and training content, AI work companion such as Microsoft’s Copilot, AI enterprise platform, AI-generated synthetic data, next-gen autonomous processes, and AI-powered leadership may come sooner than later.

All these components are going to extend the metaverse experience as well, as our reality continuum will be populated with such AI agents and AI assistants, while our collaboration is going to be augmented in two directions – thanks to AR/VR tools and now seamless AI-assistance.

3 – NEXT

As we consider how to innovate at the intersection of Generative AI and Metaverse, to fully embrace the potential of such synergies, we need to look forward at how the Metaverse is developing. And three main trends are developing:

  • A reality-blending Metaverse: New interfaces… Or no interfaces at all! Beyond VR headsets and phones, we start to witness the emergence of new reality-blending interfaces.
    • Planet-Scale AR alliance, the outdoors.
    • Smart buildings, smart homes, smart appliances.
    • Intelligent cars and mixed reality windscreens.
    • Interactive learning institutions, schools, museums.
    • EEG headsets, brain-computer interfaces (BCI), brain chips, body implants.
  • The Multi-modal Multisensory Metaverse. Following the rise of the internet of place and ownership, we expect to see the rise of the internet of senses. The next Internet might eventually be multimodal (adding inputs from a range of sources, text, image, video, sound, etc.) and multisensory (adding haptics, smell, and taste to the experience), creating even more immersive experiences.
  • A more pervasive Metaverse: New Items, Reality+, Identity+. Beyond settings, objects, and agents, we can expect Generative AI to enrich our Reality+ experience with new forms of creative assets.
    • Generated settings: props, landscapes, and objects bringing us even further in defying physical laws.
    • Generative avatars: from cartoonish to hyper-realistic to brand-sponsored, with new categories of behaviors.
    • Generative multisensory inputs: new sounds, smells, tastes.
    • New categories of intangibles: dreams, memories, skills, learnings, emotions… directly wired to our brain via next-gen interfaces such as EEG headsets or brain implants!
    • New molecules, new virus, new forms of life…?

This leads us to the necessity to be aware of the risks that can arise with such fundamental changes, to constantly challenge our inventions in regards to possible consequences, and to conduct research and development within a framework of ethical futures and responsible innovation.

Conclusion & Ethical Considerations

With even more immersion and intrusion in our physicality, with more multisensory confusion, with more AI-generated content, our conception of reality is completely shifting.

And deeper, our fundamental capacity to distinguish true from false gets altered.

  • How do we distinguish AI agents and true individuals when not all intentions are benevolent?
  • How do we preserve our mental health as our sense of reality and identity is sliding?
  • How do we protect our children from bullying, attacks, harassment, and abuse in this pervasive invasive Reality+?
  • How do we secure our privacy, as new types of biometrics and behavior data are being recorded, erased, and perhaps replaced? And potentially our dreams, thoughts, and intentions one day?
  • How do we safeguard what makes us human…?

I love exploring those topics with our visionary teams. Join us in this foresight effort.

Contact me: Sylvia Gallusser

Do we need Chief Metaverse Officers?

Will 2023 see the rise of the Chief Metaverse Officer…?

A Chief Metaverse Officer is typically responsible for the development and maintenance of a company’s presence along the metaverse continuum – from virtual worlds and digital twins to AR-powered activations, immersive experiences, and extended reality.

As the Metaverse has begun to grow, larger organizations with more complex metaverse operations have begun hiring dedicated professionals who are responsible for overseeing all aspects of the organization’s metaverse presence. However the role of the Chief Metaverse Officer remains a controversial one… or is it just the naming?

I am very much looking forward to debating with Jay Short, Daniel Colaianni, and Vasilapostolos Ouranis about the role of the Chief Metaverse Officer. Together we will address the following:

– What is actually a Chief Metaverse Officer?
– How does a day in the life of a Chief Metaverse Officer look like?
– Is the role a long-term position or will it eventually branch out as Metaverse expands?
– What are career paths to becoming a Chief Metaverse Office?
– Is there a true need for the role or has it been established as a way for companies to promote their work in the Metaverse?

Join us for another exciting Great Debate with AIXR – The Academy of International Extended Reality on January 17 at 11am (PST). The event is online and free.

Looking Back at 2023 (…from Year 2033!) 

The Burgeoning Reality Continuum

A future-backward perspective by Sylvia Gallusser, Global Futurist @Silicon Humanism, Metaverse Business Strategist @Accenture

When I look back to the year 2023, I can think of a distinctive emerging trend that really caught my attention.

Disclaimer — I might be biased here as my focus is on technology and I am both a futurist and a technology strategist.

I would say that one of the biggest evolutions brought by the early 2020s is what we called “the metaverse” and more generally Extended Reality and a new generation of Internet powered by artificial intelligence, 5G/6G, edge computing, as well as blockchain and web3 technologies.

Early experimentations

By the early 2020s, the word “metaverse” had become sort of a buzz word, as speculative fiction, mostly dystopic had come up with this idea of a virtual world, in which individuals could adopt new identities and be whoever they want to be, play all day long in VR headsets, earn virtual goods in gravity-defying environments, all this on a background of climate crisis and social chaos leading people to search for escape in the virtual.

There had been many early experimentations with 3D rendering, virtual reality, digital twins, and the rise of virtual worlds.

1. Thomas Furness who was known as the grandfather of VR had developed advanced cockpits for fighter aircraft while commissioned in the Air Force in the 70s and 80s. He was also a founder of the Virtual World Society and candidly dreamt that this technology would one day solve our deepest societal problems.

2. NASA had already pioneered the use of digital twin technology during its space exploration missions of the 1960s. NASA had notably developed a digital twin to assess and simulate conditions on board Apollo 13.

3. The first consumer virtual world Second Life had been launched in 2003 and still counted 70 million registered accounts early 2023.

The 2020s renaissance

But three factors accelerated the development of a more mature form of metaverse in the mid-2020s and brought us a new version of the internet.

1. The pandemic had been a catalyst, bringing most activities that we used to conduct in real life to the virtual realm. In 2020, as billions of people retreated to their homes under lockdown and shelter-in-place policies, they had no choice but work from home, learn from home, shop and consume from home, socialize from home, entertain and leisure from their living rooms, consult physicians and therapists from their desktop, love each other from a distance, and depart online. Naturally, distant technology usage (such as web conferencing systems, streaming services and virtual reality applications) exploded over that time. But on top of technology, those times were also very creative times, where people would return to hobbies, felt the need to express themselves, and produced lots of artwork and virtual applications.

2. The gaming industry had been an immense driver and the phenomenon had been also amplified with the pandemic — 2 billion users joined Roblox over the pandemic years. (In April 2021, Roblox hit a milestone of 202 million monthly active users). Around the same time, Fortnite counted 400 million registered players. But most importantly, these players were not passive, many of them were actively creating digital assets, avatars, accessories, marking the beginning of the creator economy. This trend was very quickly leveraged by fashion brands who started launching activations on those gaming platforms and address new communities in addition to their traditional audiences.

3. The third decisive element was the strategy of one major tech player which had enormous consequences. Facebook, a well-known social media company with 3 billion monthly active users (at a time where the world population reached 8 billion), had decided to invest heavily in the metaverse. After acquiring Oculus — a startup leading in immersive virtual reality technology — for $2 billion, the company launched its own metaverse platform and changed its name to Meta. The move was controversial, it brought a lot of confusion around the naming of the metaverse — other players in the field (Snap, Google, Apple, Ubisoft) would not openly call their own initiatives metaverse even though they dealt with bringing extended reality experiences to their audience. Moreover, the amount of the investment led to an impressive debt and a series of layoffs, that other players in the industry engaged in as well.

Acceleration

The interesting part of the story is that despite such backlash, the renaming of the tech giant to Meta triggered a wave of investment in the metaverse from myriads of companies: collections of NFTs were minted and dropped, XR applications were launched, in-game activations triggered increased brand awareness. There was an atmosphere of FOMO (fear of missing out) — everyone wanted to be part of the adventure and jumped on the bandwagon.

Another major metaverse growth factor was the role played by companies from adjacent industries. The metaverse was not just pushed by the tech and gaming industry. Players from consumer goods, fashion, entertainment, music, travel, beverages, the quick service restaurant industry, developed not only brand activations in the metaverse but their own platform. It was a decisive moment when Nike purchased RTFKT, created a metaverse division, and launched its .Swoosh platform which contributed to power the creator economy. From there it made sense that each and every company, institution, community could become a major metaverse builder.

And it was one of the most exciting aspects of those times. It was a very creative time, marketing departments felt new energy, artists released their creativity, individuals felt like they belong and were part of something bigger. Hopes in more diversity and equality were carried out through those new technologies.

Use cases as major growth factor

Nonetheless, beyond the hype, it took a while for purposeful use cases to develop. The metaverse was bringing a lot of potential, but it required strong strategic thinking for companies to really embrace what such new technology could bring in terms of value for the customer and the business.

The metaverse turned out to be much more than just another marketing tool. It could enhance the employee experience, especially learning, onboarding, worker-assistance, coaching. In the health industry, it could support patients with distant treatment, check-up, follow-up, physical therapy, counseling, prevention, and awareness. Healthcare providers were able to create more authentic and immersive relationships. In the education system, teachers reached out to children in more memorable ways, though it took a while for public schools to be adequately equipped.

In the corporate world, the metaverse proved to be a fantastic tool to improve enterprise processes, factory operations, supply chains. We could translate a fast-food restaurant’s drive-in operations, an electric car charging station, hospital patient management or airport traffic into a digital twin to improve operations and anticipate maintenance. That was truly fascinating, and I was exceptionally lucky to be part of such projects at Accenture by then.

Towards metaverse 2.0

Today it makes sense that we connect in multimodal-multisensory ways, but before this first version of the metaverse, the internet was still mostly flat, based on text, image, and video.

1. The first internet in the 1990s had been based on data (gathering and organizing information around search).

2. The second generation of the internet had focused on people with the rise of social networks from 2003–2005 on.

3. The third generation included objects and offered more interactivity with IoT (internet of things).

4. Following that, the metaverse was about to bring an internet of places (with geospatial computing, 3D representation, replicas of the world and augmentation with overlayed content) as well as an internet of ownership (brought by web3, decentralized blockchain-based protocols and technology, a tokenization of the transactions, and creator platforms).

5. And now in the 2030s, we advance one step further with an internet of senses, that goes beyond sight, vision, and sound, to include haptics, aromas, neurofeedback. Most materials have become connected and have flexible form factors. Multisensory experiences are part of our daily routine. Reality and Virtual have blended into a large continuum of experiences. After a massive backlash of completely locked-in VR experiences, the convergence of augmented reality (from our phone) and virtual reality (those 3D immersive worlds that could be accessed from VR headsets) has brought an integrated spectrum of reality, or Reality+ as the philosopher David Chalmer (and Matrix) had anticipated.

To my mind, what was particularly enthralling is that this new version of the internet, the metaverse and its multi-modal-multisensory ultimate version, really came to life with use cases, with concrete applications and the desire to solve real-life issues — when the metaverse stopped being the creation of a small elite to be adopted by a larger audience all over the world.

After all, a pandemic, gaming, and a big player’s renaming were not enough to make a change. The true drivers were the invention of meaningful use cases and the participation of all to this immense and global effort. I really remember the early 2020s as years of immense human suffering, a giant and scary unknown, disruptive technological advancement, and fantastic creative energy stemming from all this incredible human resilience.

You can read the full article in the IMCI Magazine, January-February 2023 issue – https://www.flipsnack.com/imcimagazine/imci-magazine-jan-feb-2023.html

A Metaverse Christmas?

Despite the cost-of-living crisis, the Meta Quest series performs well when it comes to tech gifts this Holiday season after recent price drops around Black Friday and the launch of the latest Quest Pro. If this series of device opens the door of the more and more mainstream “metaverse”, parents are being urged to familiarize themselves with the potential risks of virtual reality (VR) ahead of Christmas.

This past week, The Safety Metaverse Week led by the XR Safety Initiative, organized a full program of conference to explore and prepare for the challenges of these new immersive technologies, from Human Rights in the Metaverse to Child Safety, Communities and Safe Spaces, Immersive Healthcare, and closing with Policy, Trust and Governance. The panels are available in replay on the XRSI YouTube channel.

In a recent episode of Informing Choices, Futurists Sylvia Gallusser and Steve Wells imagined how Christmas and Holiday celebrations might look like in 2040: How will we celebrate Christmas in 2040? Will we still have a traditional dinner at home with family or share virtual activities in the metaverse with friends and celebrities? What gifts will be popular and how will they get delivered? And how will Santa look like in 2040 – more diverse, rebranded, sponsored, holographic…?

In the episode, we start by scanning over two futures-thinking related concepts (the Advent’s “waiting/looking forward” time, and Charles Dickens’ “Ghost of Christmas Yet To Come”).

We then introduce four alternative scenarios of Christmas:

1- Outsourced Christmas (Growth Scenario)
2- Escape Christmas (Decline Scenario)
3- Snowbound Christmas (Constraint Scenario)
4- Choose Your Own Christmas (Transformation Scenario)

Let’s engage on how traditions and celebrations are impacted by the changes we identify in the future of the home, the future of family and social interaction, the future of consumption and retail, the future of spirituality, and the emergence of the metaverse.

Introducing the Metaverse – the need for use cases solving real-life problems!

This past month, I have been busy giving conferences, presentations, podcasts, pitches, and client demos, with a common goal: educate about the metaverse, open possibilities, raise awareness about risks, and overall prepare for the future. 

I have to admit, the best part is when you actually give a taste of the metaverse. When you give it to see, to hear, to feel, to sense… When users are effectively presented with immersive experiences, they start imagining real-life use cases, and this is when the true potential of the metaverse begins to grow roots!

Let’s forget a bit about best-selling metaverse dystopias and think about how extended reality can best serve concrete use cases – from collaborating with international teams on designing new vehicles, to sharing a concert with loved ones living on the other side of the world, to reviving lost memories and healing thanks to VR physical therapy.

What use cases are you most excited about?

An Ethical Metaverse

The ethical implications of the Metaverse are far-reaching and complex. We certainly shouldn’t underestimate them, but also not turn them into showstoppers as we build the next generation of the Internet. Considering risks, potential harms, and unintended consequences is the first step in creating a responsible metaverse!

I’m very much looking forward to exploring the topic of Metaverse Ethics and Responsible Innovation this Tuesday October 11 with Aaron PulkkaElijah Claude and Felix Hartmann under the thought leadership of my brilliant colleague Nick Rosa!

This #InsightsLive Webinar will investigate the good, the bad, and the ugly sides of Metaverse ethics.

We will cover questions such as:

> How much information should be made available to others in the Metaverse?
> What are the implications of sharing personal information in a virtual world?
> Should people be allowed to remain anonymous in the Metaverse?
> What are the limits of free speech in the Metaverse?
> Should there be any restrictions on the type of speech that is allowed in the virtual world?
> Who owns the virtual property in the Metaverse?
> What are the implications of restricting access to the virtual world?
> What should we be hopeful about within Metaverse Ethics?
> What can this ethical debate teach us about the future of the Metaverse and immersive technology?

Thank you so much to AIXR – The Academy of International Extended Reality for setting up the stage for this crucial debate and for inviting me to the roundtable!

The Metaverse Revolution – and our attachment to physical books!

A Must-Read! Matthew Ball‘s “The Metaverse And How it Will Revolutionize Everything” has become the go-to book for all things metaverse. Not a day goes by, without the colorful book cover brightening my LinkedIn feed! (Thought it was my turn to pay it forward).

And what an exquisite paradox that one of the #1 references to guide us into this new territory is… a physical book! – that we can actually touch and feel, in an IRL environment, leading to vibrant human conversations about our future, here at #Accenture and beyond!

Matthew Ball attempts to define emerging concepts that are often used interchangeably – #Metaverse and #Web3.

“Web3 refers to a somewhat vaguely defined future version of the internet built around independent developers and users, rather than lumbering aggregator platforms such as Google, Apple, Microsoft, Amazon, and Facebook. It is a more decentralized version of today’s internet that many believe is best enabled by (or at least most likely through) blockchains. This is where the first point of conflation begins.
Both the Metaverse and Web3 are ‘successor states’ to the internet as we know it today, but their definitions are quite different. Web3 does not directly require any 3D, real-time rendered, or synchronous experiences, while the Metaverse does not require decentralization, distributed databases, blockchains, or a relative shift of online power or value from platforms to users. (…)
The Metaverse and Web3 may nevertheless arise in tandem. Large technological transitions often lead to societal change because they typically provide a greater voice to individual consumers and enable new companies (and thus individual leaders) to emerge – many of which tap into widespread dissatisfaction with the present to pioneer a different future. (…)
The principles of Web3 are likely critical to establishing a thriving Metaverse.”

So where do you sit on the #MetaverseContinuum? From reality to virtual and back, in integrated fashion; From 2D to 3D, seamlessly; From reader and consumer, to builder and creator, and across business, technology, and society…

The Phygital Vertigo

After 3 years – a global pandemic, life as an entrepreneur, work-from-home – I went back to a corporate workplace last week to discover Accenture‘s gorgeous 5-floor office within the Salesforce tower in San Francisco.

I had the impression to enter the “workplace of the future”, with transparency, biophilia, community, and sustainability at the core. The design of the place is incredibly well-thought, the technology revolutionary, the views vertiginous…!

But the vertigo goes beyond the height. After having been onboarded through Accenture‘s metaverse enterprise platform #TheNthFloor, I now felt like I was extending reality by penetrating the physical version of the virtual office!

Is it how we are going to feel in a future where we start by experiencing metaversial worlds before discovering them for real?

What if we lived in a world where virtual reality was not the extension of the physical world – what if we actually flipped the relationship the other way around?

from: “physical reality > virtual reality > extended reality”
to: “virtual reality > physical reality > extended reality”

So much to envision in how this would change industries like travel, entertainment, education, food, dating… What are your thoughts?

Joining the Metaverse Continuum @Accenture

Dear friends and colleagues, I am elated to share that I’ve (re)joined Accenture as Metaverse Lead Business Strategist within the Metaverse Continuum Business Group (MCBG).

I had the exceptional opportunity to kick-off my career at Accenture Paris 18 years ago before starting my North-American journey. I am thrilled to reconnect with my roots and be a part of such an amazing company, dedicated to building the future with human ingenuity and ethics in mind!

A huge thank you to all for the support along the way, especially to my fantastic friends and family!

[FUTURE OF METAVERSE] How Will The Metaverse Evolve Our Human Experience?

If you are curious to explore “How the Metaverse will evolve our Human Experience“, have a look at the presentation Metaverse Futurist Sylvia Gallusser gave at APF’s Global Virtual Conference dedicated to the “Futures of Human Experience.”

  • First we introduced the Metaverse beyond Meta, acknowledging the role Meta has played into galvanizing the ecosystem, but also detailing the different layers of the Metaverse Engine, aka the Building Blocks of the Metaverse.
  • We zoomed on Go-to-Metaverse Strategy with a few Metaverse Brand Activations that are inspiring for brands willing to develop an Omnichannel Strategy and reaching a GenZ audience, such as Coca Cola, Nike, and Gucci.
  • We then focused on the many Metaverse Activation Levers to evolve our Human Experience, from Embodiment, Universality, and Self Expression, to Prosperity, and Empathy.
  • We discussed the necessity and ambition to build an Ethical Framework and define a Governance for the Metaverse, with a focus on Safety, Privacy, Equality, Diversity, Mental Health, and Cognitive Biases.
  • We finally introduced great Strategic Foresight frameworks to think about Future Scenarios of the Metaverse, wondering about driving dimensions such as Convergent/Separate and Open/Proprietary, and the conditions for a Mindful Metaverse.

The replay of all the talks are available on APF EXPLORING NEXT event platform.

Thank you so much APF for hosting such conversations!

[METAVERSE ETHICS] Extended Reality (XR) and the Erosion of Anonymity and Privacy

The IEEE Global Initiative published an enlightening report on Ethics of Extended Reality (XR).

Here are the main insights:

  • More and more, devices will pack sophisticated hardware to sense the world around them:
    • LiDAR sensing, camera arrays, microphone arrays, directional microphones.
    • Simultaneous Localization and Mapping (SLAM) algorithms allow XR devices to position themselves in the world and render experiences from the user perspective.
    • Worldscraping: Planet-Scale AR consortium by Niantic, AR APIs and services from Microsoft (Mixed Reality ToolKit), Apple (ARKit), and Google (ARCore) contain capabilities for topological mapping, scene understanding, classification, world positioning, and geometry generation/capture.
  • At the XR user level: 
    • Movements and physical actions: Optical and inertial tracking of head/body/limb movements, EMG neuromotor input, sensing of facial expressions, auditory sensing of speech and nonspeech activity.
    • Neural activity: EEG for brain-computer interfaces
    • Context: Location tracking, Simultaneous Localization and Mapping (SLAM), and machine learning-driven analysis of optical data
    • Physiology: Eye/gaze tracking, HRV sensing, and other biometrics 
  • Combined with cloud computing and machine learning, both the benefits and drawbacks of this technology will be unleashed on a societal scale. 
    • Machine learning algorithms and AI-driven approaches can be trained and employed to predict/infer information about identity, behavior, activity, internal state, and make decisions based on computed data.
    • Decision-making behaviors could be constructed based on the availability of XR requisite sensing: brain activity, optical tracking (body language, facial expressions, micro gestures), contextual information (instrumenting everyday actions and behavior), physiological sensing (arousal, fatigue) can lead to a detailed multi-sensory model of a user’s mental state and personality. 
    • Such algorithms are offered to developers as services that can trivially enhance the capability of an application to process sensed data (Microsoft Cognitiv Services, Apple’s CoreML, Amazon’s AWS-driven AI/ML services, Google Cloud).
    • The algorithms are subject to significant issues such as algorithmic bias and false positives.
  • It might instigate digital harms for both users and bystanders, from violations of anonymity, privacy, and identity to mass distributed surveillance and behavior nudging.
    • Bystander privacy: XR applications and platforms will be able to instrument the actions, attitudes, and emotions not just of the wearer, but of all those within their sight or within the sensing range of their equipment and its networks. It includes identity recognition (violating the right to anonymity) but also physical and mental privacy (heart rate monitoring, audio capture, etc.)
    • Differential privacy focuses on the problem of sharing data about a group publicly but withholding information about individuals, such that any single individual’s data is not enough to adjust the data set in a manner that would allow their identity to be inferred.
    • Mental privacy: in biometric psychography, biometric data is used to identify a person’s interests. As a consequence, mental privacy is eroded as well, from low-level brain activity data to inferred behavior and intent.
    • Surveillance: The natural limits of human memory ensured a degree of privacy. Persistent, ubiquitous recording by electronic devices, XR applications and platform owners, however, can collect perfect memories in a centralized database to be potentially used by corporate and state actors, enabling cybersurveillance (in VR), and surveillance/sousveillance (AR).
    • Manipulation: User behaviors or thoughts could be anticipated and manipulated to the benefit and desire of a third party (the XR platform, apps on the platform, governments), which undermines the right to agency, or reverse engineering fixed action patterns. It could reinforce existing bias toward “othered” groups or manipulate how we think about a politician or political party. 
    • Super-sensory attacks: Supersensory capabilities (super-hearing, supersight) and memories can help to overcome impairment but also support sophisticated shoulder-surfing attacks.
    • Future use: if this data has been captured by said third parties, further processing and insight into users lives and behaviors might be generated far into the future, constantly refining a digital twin of their identity.
  • Neuro-rights refer to human rights set within neuro-technologies, aiming to enshrine protections regarding identity, agency, mental privacy, exposure to algorithmic bias, and access to augmented intelligence/mental augmentation.

Reco #1: XR stakeholders should actively develop and/or support efforts to standardize differential privacy and/or other privacy protocols that provide for the protection of individual identities and data.

Reco #2: XR platforms should seek to adopt voluntary proposals such as neuro-rights to help ensure that the mental privacy of users is not violated.

Reco #3: XR platforms should disclose (in plain language) and give users agency over what personal data is being captured, how this data is processed and to what ends, and for how long it (and its processed outputs) is retained.

Reco #4: Individuals should have the right to decide how their identity (or representations such as digital twins or augmented appearance) is perceived and appropriated by others in XR.

Reco #5: Where some aspect of bystander data is legally permissible to be captured and processed, bystanders should be made aware that this capture is occurring and should have the capacity to revoke implicit or assumed consent for capture.

Reco #6: Platforms should refrain from enabling the persistent pseudo-anonymous identification or tracking of bystanders and their associated data. Where there is a risk that requested sensor streams enable such tracking and violation of bystander privacy, such streams should be obfuscated by default (making bystanders unrecognizable). 

Reco #7: The right to privacy should be extended to protecting real-time surveillance of homes, businesses, and public spaces.

Reco #8: Capture and processing of non-personal real-time data regarding public and private spaces needs to be regulated in the same way that personal data is through GDPR.

Reco #9: Where there is a risk of infringing on the privacy of others, any augmented intelligence or perception application should require the consent of the sensed others or provide mechanics such that others in the environment are made aware of, or can automatically opt-out of, such activity.

Reco #10: Where there is a genuine need for powerful augmented perception approach that introduces a privacy concern (such as impairment), use of this capability should be sufficiently visible to bystanders that it cannot trivially be misused/abused.

Reco #11: XR Platforms need to adopt rigorous control over what sensor APIs applications can utilize, and how said data is protected from unintended or unanticipated processing. Where risky requests for access occur (e.g., requesting data that, in composite, could enable additional biometric processing), these risks should be mitigated against (e.g., informing users, denying access).

Reco #12: Users should be given the tools they need to retain agency over their device, its sensing activity, and client applications using this data. This includes requiring informed consent for risky sensor data and providing continual awareness and feedback regarding device activity.

Reco #13: Companies should strive to adopt leading guidelines regarding XR privacy protections and standards and enforce those standards on their app stores and platforms.

Reco #14: Industry, legislators, and researchers need to define an Extended Reality Privacy Rights Framework that can inform future legislation and provide voluntary standards for XR privacy protections as a stopgap.

Reco #15: Given there will be shortcomings in legislation and guidelines, the rights of victims of digital harms and privacy violations should also be addressed.

[METAVERSE STRATEGY] Go-to-Metaverse Strategies & Metaverse Brand Activation

Listen to Futurist and Metaverse Strategist Sylvia Gallusser’s latest podcast episode in the New Abnormal.

The New Abnormal,Sylvia Gallusser ‘Go-to-Metaverse Strategies & Metaverse Brand Activation’

Link to the episode

[FUTURE OF METAVERSE] Why You Need A Go-to-Metaverse Strategy!

What is a go-to-metaverse strategy?

Every business needs to define its go-to-market strategy, when it penetrates a new territory, usually characterized by a new market environment – an addressable market, possibly new customer behaviors and needs, local competitors, suppliers, potential partners, specific regulations, and further entry barriers (Porter’s forces). A go-to-market approach will allow the company to identify its strengths, weaknesses, as well as the opportunities and threats in this new market (SWOT analysis), and define a clear positioning for the company. Market validation will ensure product-market fit in this new territory.

Similarly go-to-metaverse strategy describes the need for a plan as a brand aims to enter the metaverse. 

There is still some debate around an exact definition of the metaverse. We focus here on the metaverse as persistent, immersive, 3D virtual worlds enriched by web3 technology and features (cryptocurrencies, NFTs, DAO…)

The metaverse can be respectively seen as a new technological tool, a new medium, a new social media platform, or a new distribution channel. Hereby we are prone to assimilate the metaverse as a new market or a new conquerable territory. This new territory characterized by a set of market specificities – an audience of GenZ-Millennials and their “avatar” counterparts; new behaviors as early adopters explore social interaction, identification, creation, collaboration, monetization; new players on all layers of the metaverse; new business models derived from token-based economics and direct-to-avatar revenue streams; emerging regulations and ethics to safeguard safety, privacy, and mental health. Considering all these dimensions will contribute to building the foundations of a go-to-metaverse strategy.

Why would you need a go-to-metaverse strategy?

As a brand, you might want to consider the following arguments as to why to engage with the metaverse.

  1. Similarly to a new market, the metaverse opens new business strategy options. Entering the metaverse can offer an instant opportunity, such as a platform to launch a new product or promote an event, a digital campaign turned 3D, or a short-term partnership with another brand. But actively inhabiting the metaverse can also enable extending an online store, replicating a full physical store, developing an aggressive customer acquisition strategy, becoming the core piece of an omnichannel strategy, or even evolving the core business. It should here be noted that deciding not to enter the metaverse for the time being is a perfectly valid strategic option.
  2. Investing in the metaverse is costly, therefore you will want to build a go-to-metaverse plan not to burn resources in the initiative by blindly replicating what other players do. Too often brands are led by their competitors’ PR and loosely copy-paste their initiative with an in-house brand coating, which does not always serve well a long-term strategy and drags costs along the way. We recommend to tailor the metaverse experience to the overall brand strategy and to adapt it to the audience. Ask yourself: what do you want to achieve by entering the metaverse?
  3. The metaverse ecosystem is still in the process of being built. As the boundaries and game rules are still being defined, you will need to identify the strategic players in the field, competitors, potential partners, possible new entrants, as well as the role you want your brand to play in future scenarios. 
  4. A strategic foresight approach gives us agency. As we plan ahead, we need to define an action plan, a timeline, a budget, resources, partnerships, key objectives, risk assessment. Envisioning possible metaverse futures related to your business (e.g. future of fitness in the metaverse, future of entertainment, future of food services…) and identifying opportunity areas in those futures are foresight tools we use to help you backcast and build a full-scale go-to-metaverse action plan.

Go-to-metaverse strategy and metaverse activation: What is the difference?

Go-to-metaverse strategy covers the overall approach, the foundations, the directions, and the business planning as to how to engage with your audience in this new market environment. 

Metaverse activations are concrete actions that you will conduct in the metaverse, from launching a limited-time campaign to fully building a 3D branded world.

For example, Gucci has extended its omnichannel strategy to this new medium, through a set of metaverse activations: In 2020 Gucci created in-game items to equip avatars in Tennis Clash, The Sims, Animal Crossing; they later launched a SDK for users to create personalized avatars; they have developed brand activations on multiple platforms, from Pokemon Go (in partnership with The North Face), to Roblox (with their Gucci Garden), and The Sandbox (where they have acquired a plot of land). On all those platforms, in all those instances, they convey their brand identity through their signature graphics and design.

We here introduce the concept of Metaverse activation levers, which are an intermediary step for you to derive implementations of your strategy, and reciprocally to connect your metaverse activations to your overall go-to-metaverse strategy.

Metaverse activation levers range from educating on a topic, raising brand awareness, creating fan engagement, and launching new products, to offering promotions, constituting a new channel for physical distribution, or even transforming the core business. 

For example Steve Aoki’s Aok1verse acts on the levers of fan engagement, launching new titles, offering promotions and perks, as well as transforming the core business of doing music by including the fans in the creation process. 

Depending on the set of levers activated, we identify five types of go-to-metaverse strategies:

  • Evolving the core business (fan engagement + product launch + promotion + business transformation): Snoop Dog, Ubisoft, Disney, Atari, Ikea
  • Launching and promoting new products (fan engagement + promotion + product launch): Chipotle, Adidas, Warner Music Group, Coca-Cola, Wendy’s
  • Engaging fans and bringing new audiences in (brand awareness + fan engagement): Nike, Gucci, Heineken, Nerf, Barbie, Burberry
  • Raising awareness (educating + brand awareness): Lego, Carrefour, Hyundai, P&G
  • Augmenting physical distribution (promotion + distribution): McDonald’s, Panera, Walmart, Tiger Beer.

Note that we expect more strategies to emerge in the upcoming months and years.

Metaverse Activation Levers and Go-to-Metaverse Strategies – Benchmark

You might want to start thinking about your own objectives and strategy, as you reflect on the possibilities offered by the metaverse through all those levers.

How to create your next metaverse activation?

Given the specificity of the metaverse as a territory under construction, we have built a methodology at the intersection of business strategy and strategic foresight. 

A metaverse activation is the result of bringing together four components:

  1. Go-to-metaverse strategy: reviewing and understanding all strategic options in the realm of the metaverse, investigating metaverse activation levers, connecting strategic goals and activation levers.
  2. Brand strategy: prioritizing your brand strategic goals, expliciting your brand’s identity, story, and values, gathering your current digital assets.
  3. Technology adoption: understanding the different metaverse platforms, as well as web3 capabilities, features, business models, questioning what is available, what is feasible, what is viable.
  4. Futures envisioning: envisioning the future of your industry in the metaverse, projecting your brand’s customer journey in the metaverse, imagining a day in the life of your customers, identifying areas of opportunities for your brand in such futures, as well as including ethics in designing your future metaverse activations.

How to find your brand-metaverse fit?

Iterations among those four inputs will guide you towards finding your brand-metaverse fit. Our in-house methodological framework and workshop facilitation can help you through this ideation process and the crafting of your first metaverse activations.

Contact us.

Sources:

https://demodern.com/projects/ikea-vr-showroom
https://www.adidas.com/us/blog/825513-into-the-metaverse-lets-go
https://www.epicgames.com/fortnite/en-US/news/astronomical
https://www.theverge.com/2020/11/16/21570454/lil-nas-x-roblox-concert-33-million-views
https://wwd.com/business-news/markets/tommy-hilfiger-features-fall-2020-collection-on-animal-crossing-new-horizons-1234684169/
https://wwd.com/business-news/media/tommy-hilfiger-to-participate-in-decentraland-metaverse-fashion-week-1235138608/”
https://blog.roblox.com/2021/05/gucci-garden-experience/
https://venturebeat.com/2021/05/26/metaverse-team-launches-nerf-strike-fps-game-for-roblox/
https://roblox.fandom.com/wiki/In_the_Heights_Block_Party
https://www.carrefour.fr/jeux-consoles/fortnite-the-healthy-map
https://venturebeat.com/2021/08/04/mythical-launches-burberry-nfts-in-blankos-block-party-2/
https://www.epicgames.com/fortnite/en-US/news/high-digital-fashion-drops-into-fortnite-with-balenciaga
https://www.epicgames.com/fortnite/en-US/news/fortnite-presents-the-rift-tour-featuring-ariana-grande
https://www.carscoops.com/2021/09/hyundai-launches-metaverse-space-on-roblox-video-game-platform/
https://www.epicgames.com/fortnite/en-US/news/high-digital-fashion-drops-into-fortnite-with-balenciagaa
https://brandingforum.org/featured/chipotle-take-their-marketing-into-the-metaverse/
https://digiday.com/marketing/how-nascar-is-getting-in-on-the-race-to-develop-a-brand-identity-for-the-metaverse/
https://tigerstreetfood.my/
https://news.nike.com/news/five-things-to-know-roblox
https://www.highsnobiety.com/p/givenchy-chito-nft/
https://ktla.com/5-live/budweiser-joins-the-metaverse/
https://www.sandbox.game/en/snoopdogg/
https://roblox.fandom.com/wiki/Ralph_Lauren:_The_Winter_Escape
https://www.marketingdive.com/news/pg-takes-first-step-into-the-metaverse-with-beautysphere/616712/
https://www.essence.com/fashion/barbie-balmain-nfts/
https://www.playtoearn.online/2022/02/10/ubisofts-rabbids-invade-the-sandbox/
https://www.chainstoreage.com/miller-lite-brings-bar-promotion-metaverse
https://dollyparton.com/press/dolly-parton-launches-dollyverse/20227
https://www.psfk.com/2022/03/atari-builds-a-las-vegas-style-casino-in-the-metaverse.html
https://mashable.com/article/heineken-metaverse-beer-decentraland
https://chainstoreage.com/pacsun-lets-customers-open-metaverse-shops-popular-gaming-platform
https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/welcome-to-the-wendyverse-wendys-opening-first-restaurant-in-virtual-reality-301513961.html
https://www.restaurantbusinessonline.com/marketing/chipotle-takes-another-trip-metaverse-its-new-burrito-builder
https://www.vogue.com/article/zara-metaverse-collection

https://www.cnbc.com/2022/01/16/walmart-is-quietly-preparing-to-enter-the-metaverse.html
https://www.wmg.com/news/sandbox-partners-warner-music-group-create-music-themed-world-metaverse-36116
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https://www.xrtoday.com/mixed-reality/uspto-awards-disney-virtual-world-metaverse-patent/

[METAVERSE] The Future of Beauty and Virtual Living

What an enthralling conversation we had with Gina Clifford on the first episode of the newly-launched The OmniFuture podcast dedicated to Virtual Living!

> We scanned over centuries of beauty representation before projecting ourselves into the future of beauty and fashion.

> We wondered what could be the next step of our human relationship to beauty, and how technology is molding our beauty artifacts and representations. What does meta-beauty encompass?

> We discussed the growing role of social media, avatars, digital artifacts, NFTs and the metaverse, as we spend more and more time in virtual worlds.

> We covered ethics, diversity, go-to-metaverse strategy, and more…

“Beauty has gone from translating in exterior artifacts (figurines, jewelry, clothes) to being applied to the surface of the body (makeup, tan, face powder, eyeliner, tatoos) to becoming interior (through plastic surgery and cosmetic prosthesis). So what could come after? Virtual is the answer. We now are trying to transcend the body itself to have beauty artifacts apply even closer to our identity, our true self, our soul… you name it! As if we wanted to gain full control over our physical and virtual representations. As if we wanted to absorb and completely merge with our chosen aesthetics. This transcendence of beauty takes the form of augmented and virtual beauty enabled through AR/VR technology and the ecosystem which is now being built around it – with Web3 and the metaverse.”

Listen to the podcast on your favorite platform!

https://www.theomnifuture.com/episodes/s1-e1-beauty-the-metaverse-with-sylvia-gallusser

The OmniFuture podcast is an audio production by Howard Fields and Grey Swan Guild.