We already live in a virtual world. And while some think it's a mere flight of fancy, the metaverse is quickly becoming a reality.
What is the Metaverse?
Virtual reality has quickly become a household term. However, what exactly is this virtual world? It is often called the metaverse or a computer-generated representation of our real one. It's basically what happens when the internet meets virtual reality; all of our online interactions suddenly become real and physical location no longer matters. In other words, it is the evolution of the internet where the digital environment reflects the physical environment.
Advocates of the metaverse want to make it possible for anyone to move from one city to another with a few clicks, work from any location in the world, and collaborate with colleagues as easily as they would collaborate with their friends. This blurs the line between the real world and the digital one, and it could have enormous consequences for our economies.
What is Community?
When thinking of what a community is, the word often conjures up images of large, bustling metropolises or quaint little villages in the countryside. While these types conflict with one another, they express two opposing ideas of what a community is: big or small. It seems that the definition of "community" has changed according to each individual's perspective.
The main function a community provides for its members is social support; it offers warmth and familiarity to those who are tired and sad by offering everyone someone close by to care for them. With this in mind, it would be reasonable to assume that communities exist exclusively in urban areas due to how easily an individual can find people who know them when they live there.
Overall, a small community can be defined as a group of people who are closely tied to each other through geographical location, shared history, common interests or social norms.
The Metaverse and Smaller Communities
The Metaverse is not just another platform for games, it will have multiple impacts on the economy world wide. It will provide a whole new dimension in which communities in different locations can work together, via remote workers working digitally around the world. This will allow them to grow and prosper through their own revolutionary ideas!
This post looks at how this could happen by examining why it would be beneficial for small communities to take part in this great revolution from just one location and the possible impacts of the metaverse on a small community create an economy with remote workers.
Smaller communities are struggling in the internet age
Many rural communities have suffered due to the decline in manufacturing, which has forced a lot of rural workers to find work elsewhere. This means that for many small communities their only hope for economic growth is in creating a service industry, which is an industry that provides services rather than goods; it includes industries such as education and health care as well as tourism and entertainment. Smaller communities have been struggling to keep their economies sustainable as more and more people move away from traditional means of employment and small businesses are closing their doors as they can't compete with larger companies who have cheaper rates for supplies and production.
Job Creation in the Metaverse
There are many pros for having a metaverse operating in your community, including being able to create jobs where they might not have been before. With the metaverse being able to support remote workers who are not required to visit each other's location, those people can work from anywhere they choose while still contributing their work and talent towards their community.
The metaverse will add value to your community by being able to support these remote workers. In turn, your community should also be able to continue growing because of the value provided by the metaverse. The metaverse allows for more jobs to be available in the economy world wide because of this flexibility that it offers. Does this mean that all jobs can be performed remotely? Of course not. But the option of being able to work remotely will increase the job security of many workers, and help people get jobs they wouldn't have otherwise been able to get.
The Metaverse will contribute to economic growth of smaller communities because it allows for their remote workers to work from any location in the world-wide economy.
Although we know little about the metaverse (or perhaps, because we know little about it) many thinkers have weighed in on its potential impact. For example, famed economist and professor Robert Reich predicts that technologies like virtual reality will create the "freelance economy", where low-skilled workers perform their jobs from home: "This is a new kind of decentralization and democratization of economic life".
It may seem like an obvious question, but the first thing one must ask is what would the metaverse do? In order to answer this question, it is important to consider why it was created. One reason is that individuals who used to work in a centralized location are now increasingly working remotely. They may have done this because of the flexibility and freedom it gives them in where they can work. Traditionally, however, this approach has its downfalls – such as not getting optimal collaboration with coworkers or not being able to have face-to-face interactions with customers. By allowing the use of virtual reality, it can provide the same benefits of working remotely to those who are physically in the centralized location.
This technology will allow remote workers to be fully independent, which is especially beneficial in a global economy. The use of this decentralized platform allows people to work where they want and spend as much time as they want, whether that time be spent at home or on the road.
Economic Sustainability in the Metaverse
A lot of people think that the metaverse can't help small communities with their economic sustainability, but what if it opens up opportunities for new industries and new businesses? Smaller communities are constantly looking for ways to revive their economies or find ways to sustain themselves. If they can create a business in the metaverse they can make a large network of virtual employees and suppliers who will support their small businesses with their skills and labor. The metaverse has a lot of potential for economic sustainability, particularly for smaller communities that are often underserved.
Communities have always had a hard time prospering through the growth of specific industries within them, this is because they are limited to what resources they can use locally. The metaverse will allow communities to prosper with their own resources created outside of their region. This can be done by allowing them access to their own workers that live outside of their community in other locations. This is great for isolated communities as it allows them to not only have access to extra help but also gives remote workers an extra source of income they wouldn't normally get form work within their region only.
People are moving back to their small town homes from bigger cities
Remote workers will be able to move back from bigger cities and work globally, gaining economic opportunities and boosting local economies. An article published in the New York Times detailed a trend in Silicon Valley where young professionals are moving back to their hometowns and moving in together to live and work. Various reasons have been given for this movement, but I think it can be described as a desire for the social and economic benefits of a small town combined with the freedom of big city access. This is great for the individual, as there is less competition for housing. The best parts of living in a city? Affordable housing and dining options. The best parts of living in a smaller town? Cheaper cost of living and lower traffic. Companies like Apple, Google and Facebook have recently announced that they will offer their employees the option of working at home, or "co-location" as they put it.
Remote Canadian Regions with Remote Work Programs
The Canadian city of Thunder Bay, Ontario and the province of Newfoundland and Labrador are both short on talent, job prospects, high-quality entrepreneurs and an overall drop in GDP and population growth. Both are remote locations that have been fighting for years to generate economic growth despite the fact that most shoppers prefer to shop online. But that hasn't stopped them from exploring innovative solutions to improve their situations.
Thunder Bay recently implemented a program called "Small City, Big Possibilities" that would make it easier for skilled people living in bigger cities to relocate or work remotely as part of a larger effort to increase economic stability in their area. In the same vein, Newfoundland has a program that provides incentives for professionals or entrepreneurs living outside of that region who agree to come back home and work from there. These programs could be very well placed into the virtual workforce that is rapidly growing over the coming years, making them well suited for those looking for more remote work opportunities. Both areas have beautiful natural ecosystems, clean air and time to think for remote workers to flourish in this digital age. Also, they get to unwind and spend more time with their family and the sounds of nature and long winters can be therapeutic and can help create transcendent moments that last a lifetime.
What work will look like in the Metaverse?
Checkout the video below to get a sense of work in the Metaverse:
Wrap things up
The metaverse will create jobs in these small communities, and while many of those jobs may be designed to service clientele around the globe, having an economy ready and a plan in a place as opposed to none is always better.
The Metaverse will contribute to economic growth of a smaller communities because it will allow remote workers to work and contribute to their local economies. These economic benefits are possible because these remote workers can have access to all necessary information they need for completing their tasks. They will not have to deal with any geographical location limitations!
Let me know what you think in the comments!