Rima Abdul Malak, Minister of Culture, and Jean-Noël Barrot, Deputy Minister in charge of the Digital Transition and Telecommunications, received today the exploratory report on the development of metaworms produced by Camille François, researcher at Columbia University and director of a leading augmented reality company; Adrien Basdevant, lawyer specialized in new technology law and member of the National Digital Council; and Rémi Ronfard, Inria Research Director and Research Associate at the School of Decorative Arts.
A TAKE NOTE REPORT TO OPEN THE DEBATE
By a mission letter dated February 14, 2022, the Minister of Economy, Finance and Recovery, the Minister of Culture as well as the Secretary of State in charge of the Digital Transition and Electronic Communications had wished the establishment of an exploratory mission on the development of metavers.
From avatars to digital twins, from crypto-assets to virtual reality headsets, metaverse development is a major opportunity. As virtual world projects multiply, the terms used refer to different uses, technologies, actors and issues. The mission on metavers has therefore focused on providing keys to understanding to clarify the debate, seize emerging opportunities, better understand the risks posed by metavers and bring together French actors around a common horizon.
More than 80 personalities were consulted: virtual reality and blockchain entrepreneurs, cultural actors, artists, video game professionals, researchers in social sciences, artificial intelligence and computer science.
Through this first report on the subject, the co-applicants formulate a series of proposals and call for experts, private and public actors, researchers and citizens to come together to discuss them.
10 PROPOSALS FOR A FRENCH AND EUROPEAN VISION OF METAVERS
The report calls for a true French and European metaverse policy. It proposes ten action levers aimed at developing technological infrastructure, supporting innovation, focusing on uses, orchestrating regulation and taking into account societal and environmental issues.
These proposals include:
- Seize the opportunity of metavers to regain leadership positions in global digital services, in France and on the European continent
- Launch now the work of adapting European texts (RGDP, Digital Services Act, Digital Markets Act) to the challenges of metavers
- Develop a rigorous analysis of metaverse value chains to best guide strategic investment areas and limit the risks of loss of sovereignty or loss of value
- Seize the opportunity of organizing the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris to bring together the French metavers stakeholders around concrete projects, particularly in the cultural, territorial and heritage development fields
- Bringing the public authority to bring out the common and essential services allowing the advent of a plurality of interoperable metavers
- Using public procurement to meet the objectives of cultural and technological sovereignty by supporting hybrid arrangements between French technological structures and cultural institutions
- Reinvest the bodies responsible for negotiating technical standards to ensure that France and the main French players actively participate in discussions on the interoperability of immersion technologies
- Support interdisciplinary research initiatives to simultaneously develop experimental metavers guided by societal needs (culture, health, education, environment) and the means to assess their socio-technical risks through empirical studies
- Create a research and coordination institute, modelled on the Ircam, which would be both a research laboratory in computer science dedicated to immersive arts, a place of coordination between researchers and artists for the creation of innovative immersive works in metavers and a counter of expertise for all the cultural institutions concerned
- Explore environmentally responsible solutions and develop a system to measure the environmental impact of the Metavers infrastructure
Metavers are expected to provide major opportunities, from industry to health, training and the economy. Because they can contribute to the democratization of new forms of cultural expressions and online creative tools, they represent an undeniable opportunity. For France and for Europe, the development of metavers must allow the emergence of new world leaders in the uses of digital technology and strengthen French cultural influence.
Rima Abdul Malak, Minister of Culture: This report of the exploratory mission on metaverse covers all the issues related to the development of these new digital spaces and shows the extent to which creators are called upon to play a pioneering role in determining their full potential. The Ministry of Culture will build on these recommendations to support these new uses and carry out an ambitious strategy to support the creation, innovation and dissemination of works in these digital spaces. The Ministry of Culture will also defend our values in these new territories: freedom of expression and creation, access to culture for all, protection of copyright.”
Jean-Noël Barrot, Deputy Minister for Digital Transition and Telecommunications: This report is an important step in the development of metavers in France and offers concrete and actionable levers to French technological, cultural and industrial actors. Metavers will be decisive for the future of digital and Web3, for which France must play the leading role at the global level by relying on know-how, global industrial leaders and an exemplary entrepreneurial spirit.”
Camille François, executive director of a leading augmented reality company and teacher at Columbia University, co-commissioned: “Although the word “metavers” has recently come to the attention of the world, it refers to various technologies and uses that precede it, with innumerable French actors: researchers, entrepreneurs, institutions… Our mission has focused on showcasing the wealth of this ecosystem and calls on us to seize opportunities for metaverse development to build new global digital leaders in France and Europe.”
Adrien Basdevant, lawyer and member of the National Digital Council, co-commissioned: Metavers are great spaces for innovation. They must promote everyone’s creativity while ensuring the protection of users. This report underlines the need to deploy a strategy that reaffirms our model of society by supporting a metaverse development aligned with our French and European values, while respecting both climate requirements, public health and social licence.”
Rémi Ronfard, Research Director at Inria and Scientific Director of the ANIMA team, co-commissioned: The development of immersive technologies on the web can be a formidable tool for democratizing culture and promoting online creation. As such, metavers represent an opportunity for France, which the public authorities and in particular public research must seize.”
The full report is available at the following address.