Transformation Blueprint: The Metaverse, Artificial Intelligence, Quantum Computing, And Beyond

The Metaverse, AI, And Quantum Computing Are Here

The volume, velocity, and complexity of change thrust upon us leave little room to avoid transformation. The only constant is change and transforming ourselves, and our organizations are the only way to withstand such change. In this article series titled “Transformation Blueprint,” we explore the various levers of transformation available for an organization and offer practical tips and tools on how to activate them. This article provides short definitions of the metaverse, Artificial Intelligence (AI), and quantum computing (QC), and discusses why the understanding and exploration of these and similar technologies can be critical to your transformation efforts.

What Is The Metaverse?

The metaverse is a three-dimensional Virtual Reality (VR) environment where people using avatars can interact, decide, learn, and transact in various contexts and challenges. The term was first coined in “Snow Crash,” a book written by Neil Stephenson, where the protagonist switches roles back and forth from the real world to the metaverse, where he delivers pizza in the former and is a prince in the latter. The etymology of the term “metaverse” consists of the word “meta,” which means “after” or “beyond” in Greek, and “verse,” which means “world” in Latin.

While the metaverse is rapidly evolving at the writing of this article, analysts at Citi estimate that by 2030 the metaverse will grow to a $13-billion market with 5 billion users. The metaverse can expand your transformation efforts by testing ideas into practice, iterating, and improving, all in the metaverse environment before implementing them in the actual world. Innovation cells in the US Navy have been using digital twins and exploring training and learning for sailors in the metaverse for several years. According to Accenture, the metaverse is the next evolution of the internet and will rapidly evolve capabilities, use cases, technologies, and learning experiences. [1]

What Is Artificial Intelligence?

Also, according to Accenture, Artificial Intelligence is a conglomeration of various diverse technologies which work together to help machines think, decide, and act similarly to humans. [2] Statista estimated that the total global corporate investment in AI would reach $94 billion in 2021 and be expected to continue to grow at an exponential rate. [3]

Two critical elements around AI include people and data. Within your organization, there are three broad groups of people that engage with AI. The first group is leadership, who make decisions based on AI; they need to understand the basics of how AI works and the value it offers to the business so that they can make sound business and resource allocation decisions around AI. The second group is the programmers and data analysts who collect, clean, and manage the data and build AI functionality and algorithms across the organization and must know AI at the most depth. The third group consists of the users of AI, the employees located within the organization across the business units that develop and deliver products and services using AI, and the customers, that are outside the organization and benefit from the AI-driven products and services.

Michael Lyman at Accenture asserts that, to effectively transform your organization by incorporating AI, you have to ensure that data and analytics are openly accessible and available across your organization, as well as closely tied to the performance and strategic goals of your organization. The key starting point is data, and good data is clean data. You have to ensure that the data is sourced, cleaned, normalized, managed, governed, and used correctly and safely before you can start experimenting, let alone scaling AI transformation efforts. The Pareto rule applies here as well, whereby 20% of your data can drive about 80% of the organization’s business value. Hence, it is critical to primarily focus on that particular 20% of the data, and AI can help your organization optimize that 20% and deliver performance results.

What Is Quantum Computing?

Quantum computing uses the laws of quantum physics to conduct immensely large calculations and solve intractable problems. While regular computers run calculations based on the bit being a zero or one, quantum bits can be zero and one both at the same time, which facilitates unfathomable computational power. According to McKinsey,  $4.1 billion of private and $31 billion of public funding globally were committed in 2021 and continue to grow. [4]

According to McKinsey, there are two emerging areas of quantum, including quantum sensing (QS) and quantum communications (QComms). [5] Quantum sensing leverages quantum computers to conduct hypersensitivity measurements such as electromagnetic fields, gravity, and time, among others. Quantum communications also leverage quantum computing to transfer quantum information.

Currently, there are no QC commercial products. The QC business revolves around hardware production, consulting, and public/private research efforts. Research by McKinsey also demonstrates that two key industries that will benefit the most in the longer term from QC are finance and life sciences, whereas, in the medium term, other industries such as chemicals, pharmaceuticals, and automotive are expected to benefit from QC. Quantum computers are super-powerful, resemble upside-down chandeliers, and must be operated in extremely cold and exceptionally electromagnetically clean environments. These QC operational requirements limit quantum computing to a few organizations and countries globally. As more universities begin to offer master’s and doctoral degrees in quantum computing, talent will also increase globally. At this time, you and your transformation team will need to understand the basics of quantum computing and stay abreast of QC technology’s impact on businesses across the various sectors.

Conclusion

Technological changes are taking place at an exponential pace, with new technologies such as the metaverse, AI, and quantum computing continuously maturing faster and faster. At this juncture, it would be essential to offer learning opportunities to your organization to ensure that all employees have a basic understanding of such technologies. As you and your team embark on your transformation efforts, it would be essential to gain even a basic knowledge of such technologies and stay abreast of their evolution so that you can ensure your organization will be able to adopt and adapt them when the technologies further mature and make sense for your organization to explore further in the next decade.

References:

[1] Technology Trends 2022

[2] What is Artificial Intelligence (AI) & Why is it Important?

[3] Global total corporate artificial intelligence (AI) investment from 2015 to 2021

[4] The Rise of Quantum Computing

[5] Quantum Technology Monitor

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