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Embracing the metaverse


American author Neal Stephenson is credited for coining the term metaverse that he used in his 1992 book, Snow Crash, to describe a virtual world where people interact with one another through avatars. 


Thirty years since, the metaverse is now part of our reality. The Covid-19 pandemic certainly fast tracked its development, particularly as businesses had to shift to remote work, which signaled that virtual workspaces might just work.

 

Workplace in the metaverse


In 2022, networking systems, services, and software company Ciena commissioned a global study to assess the readiness of business professionals in engaging in the virtual world. Among the 15,000 respondents from 15 countries were Filipino business professionals who have started to uncover the benefits of the metaverse. 


Almost all, or 99 percent, of Filipino business professionals who were surveyed recognize the value of virtual meetings; while 94 percent said they would feel comfortable conducting more formal work meetings in a virtual space like the metaverse. Moreover, 89 percent said they would prefer work meetings in the metaverse over existing video conferencing tools.


According to Ciena ASEAN’s Regional Managing Director Dion Leung, it is clear that Filipino business professionals are comfortable with virtual meetings. Since hybrid work arrangements continue to be a strategy for many businesses, enhanced reality platforms will certainly be part of the future of work.


However, this readiness to embrace metaverse will be faced with challenges, particularly on digital infrastructure and connectivity. Thus, Leung stressed on the need for service providers to ensure a robust underlying network, along with adaptive technologies that can keep up with the ultra-low latency and high bandwidth demands of the metaverse. 

 

Learning in the metaverse


Likewise, during the pandemic, students had to learn either through printout modules or via online classes. Today, the metaverse becomes not only the platform but also the intention of learning. 


There are already Web3 education platforms that utilize blockchain technology and the learn-to-earn concept, such as Proof of Learn Inc.’s Metacrafters, a part game, part learning platform where student developers have to learn Web3 or decentralized apps that run on blockchain. But these are for developers, those who are already knowledgeable about Web2. What we also need is to ensure that all our citizens are equipped with digital skills so that no one will be left behind.


The metaverse has been described by many as the next iteration of the internet, which only means, embracing it is inevitable. Thus, it would be beneficial for us if we embrace it early.


Filipino students should have the necessary skills to understand these new and emerging technologies which will be their working partners in the future. Computer programming skills are now essential for students to learn. In the United Kingdom, students are taught coding as early as six years old. It will be to our advantage if we start adjusting our curriculum to introduce coding in primary and secondary school. 


We must arm our young students with digital skills necessary for them to thrive in a rapidly evolving digital environment. This will be our children’s foundation for a future where they can fully grasp and effectively utilize all these emerging technology, such as artificial intelligence, the metaverse technology, and their evolutions.

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