The world is becoming more and more unpredictable as we transition closer to the virtual world. This world is what Mark Zuckerberg, founder and CEO of Facebook, calls the metaverse or the metaphysical world. Instead of human interactions being realistic and tangible through physical contact, or imperceptible through digital communication, there will be now be a third way. Welcome to the metaverse that bridges the gap between the real world and the digital world. Although some may think that emerging technologies are more evident in western cultures, this is not the case with the metaverse. In fact, countries across the Middle East are engaging heavily with the new technology. Thus, questions like this emerge; What is this new life like? What implications does it have on our work and jobs ? Will people actually work in the metaverse? There are many questions, some of which may have answers and others that are still unknown, which is what this article seeks to clarify.
Jobs, Jobs and more Jobs
We have all heard it before, technology will replace humans and steal your jobs. This was the the fear many people had whenever new technology is announced, but now this stigma is shifting. Yes, new technology could make some jobs redundant but new roles will emerge with the metaverse. In fact it is expected that the metaverse will create a surge in jobs in Middle Eastern countries adopting the new technology.
The UAE maintains a leading position when it comes to technological advancements in the region and the case is no different with the metaverse. Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the Vice President and Prime Minister of the United Arab Emirates, has announced earlier the formation of a committee to prepare the Dubai metaverse Strategy. According to a statement released by the committee, their goal is to develop metaverse technologies that will improve the efficiency of resident surgeons by 230 percent and increase the productivity of engineers by 30 percent, in addition to supporting 42,000 jobs to become virtual. Through this strategy, the metaverse will contribute to 1 percent of the country’s GDP. .
It seems like businesses in Dubai have been successful in leveraging on the metaverse in order to generate new business and economic opportunities. But what exactly are these new opportunities? The metaverse provides a wider and diverse access to talent. There are no borders and restrictions, people will be able to work in places that they couldn’t afford nor access. Picture this, you are a content creator, singer or dancer from the region and now you have access to the whole world, everyone can experience your performance or art. We are already seeing more and more sectors tapping into the metaverse. Starting with real estate, Union Square House, a real estate brokerage in Dubai, which is set to launch the first metaverse mansion in the MENA region in 2022. Such projects creates new opportunities for creativity and bring together architects, software and AI engineers. Events and meetings are also affected by the metaverse technology. You will now be able to attend meetings and events from the comfort of your coach. This has been demonstrated through the Investopia summit, the world’s first economic press conference in the metaverse, where media representatives from around the region participated using augmented and virtual reality. These online interactive experience is likely to bring your team close together and create a more fun, immersive and productive work experience.
In the fashion arena, the metaverse world opens new opportunities for businesses. Instead of viewing items through a phone screen, the metaverse offers a completely interactive way to experience products using more senses. The UAE ready-to-wear fashion house BRIAR PRESTIDGE launched a collection for the first ever Metaverse Fashion Week. Similar experiences unlock a new world for fashion and retail business to drive their sales and expand.
How plausible is the metaverse
We may have established that the metaverse is inevitable but how feasible is it and what are it’s drawbacks when it comes to employment in the region. We must admit that a mainstream metaverse world that is applied throughout the whole region, will undoubtedly take years of infrastructure development and billions of dollars to become a reality. Just this year, Saudi Arabia alone invested almost $6.4 billion in blockchain and metaverse technology. Is it possible that such huge investments could be used to create more sustainable jobs in our real world. We merely ask this questions because Mark Zuckerberg’s metaverse business lost more than $10 billion last year. It will be interesting to see when will the spending spree on the metaverse stop…if it stops.
With the metaverse there could be a threats to privacy and ownership rights that need to be addressed. Imagine the amount of data that companies will have on you as an employee in the metaverse. If mishandled, this data can be used for intrusive online advertisements, identity theft. In this manner, there will be no sense of job security for those working on the metaverse. The metaverse blurs the gap between real and virtual worlds, although this could be acceptable for certain jobs, how applicable is it for others like emergency workers. In the UAE Police officials have taken trainings in the metaverse, where they tackled threatening scenarios. Undoubtedly, such simulations are helpful when it comes to training but how plausible is the metaverse when it comes to crisis workers who risk their life. It is still unclear how such jobs fit in the metaverse world and what risks does it bring with it?
Weigh it all up
Surely the metaverse is still developing and has a long way to go before it’s fully optimized and people start working in it. Yes, there are still some concerns when it comes to the metaverse and how plausible it is when it comes to secure jobs. Yet, these unclear drawbacks are likely to vanish gradually over time as the technology becomes fully optimized. Finally, the choice is always in the hands of the people, not the technology…for now.