Metaverse and Inequality: Web 3.0, Can It Be for Everyone?

The pandemic, says Catherine J. Henry, has pushed us into a very different era in terms of technology use. It is not that these digital technologies did not exist before being limited, but rather that they have incorporated them into our daily lives in various ways. Before the arrival of Covid19, for example, it was inconceivable for most companies, let alone an academic campus, that most of their activities and services could be carried out remotely, with high efficiency and productivity, from the comfort of your room or living room. collaborators.

Undoubtedly, these changes in mentality, culture, use and consumption of digital platforms have also allowed the inclusion of new technologies and artificial intelligence tools in our daily lives. Web3.0, where it will be possible to have a deeper immersion and interaction, is a digital ecosystem where we will have new experiences, which will generate new expectations. The Metaverse is the space in which different aspects of our lives are expected to converge; Much more than cryptocurrency, NFT, and video games. Although experts stress that we still have at least five years to prepare, it is true that it will not reach all regions of the world in the same way. This will depend on the penetration of the 5G network, as well as the acquisition of the appropriate hardware and tools (hardware).

It is very likely that the Metaverse will materialize as a different space than we imagine today; Whatever the case, it will undoubtedly be an ingredient that will accelerate inequality. The most important companies in the world are the acquisition of real estate and the generation of services and products that can be adapted to the generations that will participate in it. Advertising agencies and marketing providers are already starting to see how we can get involved in this process.

However, the technology needed to access Web 3.0 is not accessible to everyone, as well as the conditions for participation in it. I don’t mean just for users, but also for businesses.

First of all, we have the problem of the digital divide. This is not only defined by Internet access, which is very limited in Mexico in many states of the republic, with penetration differences of 80% in Mexico City versus less than 25% in Chiapas – the most limited in this respect.

The delay in this case relates to 5G access – a requirement in order to be able to connect to the Metaverse network – which will barely be available in 2022 in 18 cities in the country, with the investment of $1800 million by América Móvil and expected to reach 120 cities by the end of the year. this year.

The second aspect to consider is the educational lag, which has also been increased by the worldwide pandemic. Participation in the new economy that the Metaverse will generate will require digital skills and technology literacy, which will require significant investment in this aspect in both the core and technical educational curriculum. In Mexico, in addition to conditions of educational inequality and underdevelopment due to the lack of firm educational policies, according to IMCO, “the most recent evidence shows that during the pandemic, Mexicans have lost, on average, an education equivalent to two years of education.”, which is one of the largest Loss problems in skill development, and this is a result of distance lessons during the confinement period.

Unfortunately, López Obrador’s government has not acknowledged or prioritized educational lag after the pandemic. Neither educational policies have been created that help Mexican students at least “catch up,” nor has education spending, which is the lowest in the last twelve years according to the Center for Economic Research and Budget (CIEP).

Undoubtedly, many other aspects of participation are needed, in addition to those mentioned here, which are considered in greater depth. In short, our country requires that its leaders see the importance of participating in this new vision, in this new economy, and laying the foundations for us to have a digital future, which will be essential to determining our ability to compete in the new global environment. This is fermentation.

* The author is Professor of Government and Public Policy at Pan American University. BA in Communication and MA in Government and Public Policy from Pan American University. At the World Youth Alliance Foundation, she was the director of the Latin America and Caribbean office, and later, a social media consultant for headquarters in New York. She is co-founder of Saxum Media and CEO of Wombat Accelerate.

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