NEW DELHI : Paul Daugherty is Accenture’s group managing director for technology and chief technology officer. He also leads Accenture’s Cloud First initiative and has incubated new ventures such as blockchain, extended reality (XR), and quantum computing.
In an interview, Daugherty, a computer engineering graduate from the University of Michigan, talks about Accenture’s understanding of the Metaverse and Web3, and how artificial intelligence (AI), quantum computing, the Metaverse, and the Web3 are shaping the world. work. Edited excerpts:
Has the pace of AI adoption increased after covid?
According to our research, before covid, digital leaders who adopted new technologies like Cloud AI outperformed others faster by a factor of 2. When we did this same research after covid, we found that these digital leaders who make up the top 10% had widened the gap to 5x. We saw another category of LeapFrog (gers): an additional 15% of companies that were innovating quickly to adapt new technologies like AI. About 63% of businesses started adopting AI for the first time during covid, leading to a lot of innovation. Yet only around 10% of organizations are actually adopting AI at scale. So there is still plenty of room to cover.
What is Accenture’s vision for the metaverse, which you dubbed the Metaverse Continuum in your Tech Vision 2022 report, and what role does AI play in it?
There are all kinds of definitions of metaverse, and some of them are crazy – of alternate worlds and realities and things. Many of these definitions are very consumer-focused. What we’re doing with the metaverse continuum speaks to a very ingrained business definition. We believe the Metaverse will impact every part of every business, and businesses need to start taking action now.
We should talk about what’s happening with the future of the Internet, which you’ve called Web3, which enables this new capability and seeks to create worlds that connect the virtual and the real. We say Metaverse Continuum because we believe it’s not just about the consumer; it’s about the worker, and it’s about an extended continuum of the roles we play as people across the business. It is a continuum not only of the virtual, but also of the real.
We talked about how you use AI to create experiences in the metaverse to create digital twins to create digital humans like we do for museums when we create smart guides.
A lot of people think the metaverse is only about games and headsets, and I think that’s going to mislead people into missing the opportunity.
But people and companies talk about metaverse and Web3 in the same breath, making it seem like they are interchangeable terms. What does Accenture think?
Sometimes Web3 is used in an almost political context by some members of the crypto community. I don’t use Web3 in this sense. Web3 is the new feature set that enables, in a sense, the Internet of Place – shared virtual spaces to collaborate and the Internet of Property – the ability to use blockchain and other technologies to reverse ownership and create differentiated, protected digital identities for the things and products people use.
Given all of these complexities, what should be the approach for companies looking to adopt Web3 that have a presence in the metaverse?
I think the challenge for every business is that every new technology adds but doesn’t take away something from the past. With the metaverse, you have to think big because you have to integrate, consider the possibilities. But then start small in a targeted way to figure out how to apply it.
So think big, start small, scale fast is the approach I would recommend from a business perspective. We’ve made a grand entrance into our own corporate metaverse called the Nth Floor. It refers to the virtual environments we have created to bring Accenture employees together to meet, collaborate and learn.
Thus, 150,000 of our employees will be integrated with a virtual reality headset over the next year. The results we are getting are amazing. People are engaging in new ways. They share experiences they would not have had before.
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