China continues its push to build around its metaverse roadmap to advance its various industries. This is in line with the giant Asian nation’s Three-Year Action Plan launched last year, which aims to position it at the forefront of this emerging technology. Recently, it formed a working group to bring this dream to reality. Meanwhile, Interpol just released a new white paper exploring the new opportunities and challenges unlocked by this rising industry.
China’s New Metaverse Working Group
According to a report by the Global Times, China just organized a 60-person working group consisting of individuals from its homegrown companies, universities, and institutions. Among the big names joining this endeavor are Huawei, Tencent, Baidu, and Ant Group.
The team will be responsible for the creation and revision of industry standards for the metaverse. The new framework will focus on the research on the integration of the tech that merges the digital and physical worlds to enhance the manufacturing and communications sector. It will also center on the combination of the metaverse with artificial intelligence and blockchain for the generation of “digital humans” for virtual assistance, entertainment, and virtual avatars.
Tech industry analyst Liu Dingding believes that the fusion of metaverse and digital humans can bring about reduced cost and higher productivity in businesses. Meanwhile, Chinese firm CCID Consulting forecasts the key role of the metaverse in boosting the industrial, cultural tourism, education, and other sectors this year. It estimates that the market for this could grow to 180 billion yuan ($25.02 billion in prevailing exchange rates) by 2026 while the AI industry could bloom into 1.73 trillion yuan ($240.45 billion) by 2035 in China.
China’s large-scale foray into the metaverse realm was demonstrated during the lighting ceremony of the 19th Asian Games in Hangzhou, Zhejiang, last year and at the presentation of virtual celebrities of the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympic Games.
The Metaverse Elsewhere
A wider application of the metaverse is also about to be employed by Interpol. Based on its new white paper, the law enforcement organization composed of 196 member countries is planning to utilize the technology for training, investigation, and forensic purposes.
The international law enforcement agency expects the industry to grow to $13 trillion by 2030. However, it expects that the new opportunities unlocked would also be coupled with new threats to security and other ethical concerns.
Given these, the paper likewise explores ways of policing the platform to ensure the safety of users. Among the foreseen crimes that will likely be common in the metaverse are non-fungible token (NFT) fraud, cyber-physical attacks, identity theft, stealing digital assets, stalking, sexual harassment, and grooming of children.
With these developments, the metaverse is not dead after all as some naysayers say. As shown with the great strides of China, there’s more to expect from this thriving industry. Meanwhile, there are also legitimate threats that should be considered along the way, and this is where the consideration of Interpol’s new white paper comes in.