Job creation is traditionally engineered by politicians desperate to get the country back to work and to be seen as stimulating the economy. From the job creation programs of the Great Depression to United States President Barack Obama’s American Jobs Act, employment schemes have a long, checkered history. Today, fostering meaningful employment for the masses remains as popular as ever with policymakers, and yet, the next great job creation scheme is unlikely to be issued as a top-down order.
Rather, it will emanate from a realm that most politicians have little dominion over and few powers to control: the Metaverse. That virtual world running parallel to our physical one is not constrained by national borders, nor is it the fiefdom of social media companies cynically commandeering its name.
The Metaverse comprises an interconnected series of virtual worlds in which humankind can recreate, interact and transact. As avatars, its users are free to flit between games, meeting spaces and markets, reenacting many of the tasks once constrained to meatspace.
The greatest promise the Metaverse holds, however, is not the ability for humans to don lurid skins and twerk as one in virtual concert halls. Rather, it is for these same people to obtain meaningful employment in worlds, realms and spaces across the Metaverse that will form the beating heart of Web3.
Movies: Technology is a double-edged sword, creating new opportunities while destroying others. Actors who’ve found their likeness being assumed by artificial intelligence and their intellectual property infringed know this only too well. But the very same tech that threatens their livelihoods can be utilized to enrich them within the Metaverse. Just imagine the capabilities presented by a world in which voice, television and movie actors can use their digitized doppelgangers to interact with fans and sell experiences that incorporate one-on-one time — without the celeb needing to leave the comfort of their Malibu mansion.
As the Metaverse materializes and its promise becomes a reality, the employment opportunities it offers will lift everyone from the mechanical turk, toiling for $2 per hour, to the rich and famous. Already, there are Metaverse stores you can visit with your avatar to order everything from fast food to medical marijuana — and then have it delivered to your real-world front door. In the near future, many of those earning from the Metaverse — such as delivery drivers and food producers — may have no inkling that they owe their livelihood to a world they have yet to discover.
Not all of us will play and interact in the Metaverse, but just like the internet itself, we will be more prosperous because of its existence. The sooner the Metaverse becomes a mass reality, the better we will all be.
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Johnny Lyu is the CEO of KuCoin, one of the largest cryptocurrency exchanges, which was launched in 2017. Before joining KuCoin, he had accumulated abundant experience in the e-commerce, auto and luxury industries.