The State Company for the Management of Innovation and Tourism Technologies (Sociedad Estatal para la Gestión de la Innovación y las Tecnologías Turísticas - SEGITTUR) and the company Turium presented the report "The metaverse and the soul: journey to the next challenge of Tourism", on 21 July in the city of Madrid. A multidisciplinary view of seven authors that delves into the next technological revolution.
This report highlights that a technological phenomenon is approaching that could transform the current reality when it comes to facing our world: the metaverse.
The authors of the report are the philosophy professor Fernando Broncano (Carlos III), the neuroscientists David Bueno and Diego Redolar (UAB), the anthropologist Pablo Mondragón, the technologist David Vivancos and the university professors of Video Game Design, David Alonso and Sergio Reyes (ESNE).
His reflections shape a study on how the use of metaverses and their impact on the tourism sector can affect human beings and society. According to research, by 2025, 25% of the population will spend more than one hour a day in the metaverse.
During the presentation, Turium's CEO, Germán Jiménez, explained that it was time to address this complex issue because of the media noise it is generating" and about the conclusions, he added: "The impact of the metaverse on the travel environment and its potential are still far from certain and predictable. But what is certain is that it will have a deep impact and will change the rules of the game: from the creation of the tourism product itself to the customer experience".
The president of SEGITTUR, Enrique Martínez, stressed that "The processes of using technology are proposed to us as inevitable and they are not; the effective implementation of the same arises from its assumption by society and this cannot be uncritical".
In this sense, he added that "All our actions have desired and undesired effects, it is the duty of promoters to talk about both realities, to check that the positive effects are being fulfilled and to anticipate and counteract the negative effects. Promises do not know the effects on the present and, curiously, never anticipate the negative effects.
In the presentation David Bueno, PhD in biology and director of the UB-EDU1st Chair of Neuroeducation at the University of Barcelona, laid the foundations of what the metaverse means for the human brain. For him, the positive side of the metaverse will be unlimited creativity and that it will do a lot for the ecology and the planet: "We won't consume so much in transport". On the negative side, the education expert is concerned about addictions: "We have to manage reward and quick, effortless gratification. That will be very difficult.
This was followed by the round table 'Closer to the Matrix', with the participation of David Vivancos, entrepreneur and Artificial Intelligence specialist, Rebeca Cordero, lecturer in Applied Sociology at the European University, Sergio Reyes, head of special actions in the area of Video Games at ESNE and PhD student on the metaverse, and José Ignacio Conde, Business Director at Bravent.
Sergio Reyes stressed that the metaverse is already here: "we already have a lot of young people spending a lot of hours playing online games". He also spoke of the architects who will make the construction and creation of these worlds and destinations possible, in which "we are already talking about digital children": for Reyes, these creators "will be the Goya's and Velázquez's of the future".
José Ignacio Conde wanted to stress that the metaverse "is not a passing technology that is going to disappear. McKinsey says that in 2022 more than 120 billion dollars will have been invested and in 2030 it will be 5 trillion dollars. There are device creators, content creators... many companies investing to make it more usable and simpler, the field of development is enormous and there are many facets in which to advance".
For Rebeca Cordero, "technological evolution until now affected one or two social aspects, the metaverse has a global dimension that affects everything". According to the sociologist, it also "deepens the relationship between the individual and the machine". She adds that "it is important to prevent behaviour so as not to endanger the individual and society".
In David Vivancos' opinion, the metaverse will not truly arrive "until we kill the mobile phone. It is too limited for this type of technology. When we see the smartphone start to disappear, it will be time for the metaverse". The technologist and entrepreneur predicts a decade of waiting.
All stressed that this new phenomenon needs to be prevented and regulated. "We need stability, growth and development to be a society. And this phenomenon is coming to us, which is controlled by companies with financial ends, whose regulation may serve other interests", warned Cordero. For Vivancos, it is complicated to limit: "How can we set rules and limits to the imagination?
The authors are responsible for the choice and presentation of the facts contained in this document and for the opinions expressed therein, which are not necessarily those of Tourism and Society Think Tank and do not commit the Organization, and should not be attributed to TSTT or its members.