Rima Abdul Malak, Minister of Culture, and Jean-Noël Barrot, Minister Delegate in charge of the Digital Transition and Telecommunications received, on October 24, the exploratory report on the development of metaverses. This calls for the definition of a real French and European metaverse policy, presents a series of proposals hoping to bring together experts, private and public actors, researchers and citizens to discuss them.
The metaverses bring major outlets, from industry to health, including training and the economy, and represent an undeniable opportunity for France and Europe.
By a mission letter, on 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 implementation in place of an exploratory mission on the development of metaverses.
This was produced by Camille François, researcher at Columbia University and director of a cutting-edge augmented reality company, Adrien Basdevant, lawyer specializing in new technologies law and member of the National Digital Council and Rémi Ronfard, Inria research director and associate researcher at the School of Decorative Arts.
Opening the debate on metaverses
Projects in the metaverse are multiplying, however the terms used refer to different uses, technologies, players and issues. The exploratory mission therefore focused on ” provide keys to understanding to clarify the debate, seize emerging opportunities, better understand the risks posed by metaverses and bring together French actors around a common horizon”.
To this end, the co-missioned interviewed more than 80 personalities from various backgrounds: virtual reality and blockchain entrepreneurs, cultural actors, artists, video game professionals, researchers in social sciences, artificial intelligence and computer science. . These consultations led them to formulate a series of proposals and to call for discussion.
The 10 proposals for a French and European metaverse policy
To define this policy, the report proposes ten action levers aimed at developing the technological infrastructure, supporting innovation, focusing on uses, orchestrating regulation and taking into account societal and environmental issues:
- Seize the opportunity of the metaverse to regain leading 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 metaverses
- Develop a rigorous analysis of metaverse value chains in order to best guide strategic investment areas and limit the risks of loss of sovereignty or value leakage
- Seize the opportunity of the organization of the 2024 Olympics in Paris to bring together French players from the metaverse around concrete projects, particularly in terms of culture, enhancement of the territory and heritage
- Encourage public authorities to bring out common and essential services allowing the advent of a plurality of interoperable metaverses
- Use public procurement to meet the objectives of cultural and technological sovereignty by supporting hybrid couplings between French technological structures and cultural institutions
- Reinvest the bodies 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 metaverses 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, on the model of Ircam, which would be both a computer research laboratory dedicated to immersive arts, a place of coordination between researchers and artists for the creation of innovative immersive works in metaverse and an expertise counter for all the cultural institutions concerned
- Explore eco-responsible solutions and develop a system for measuring the environmental impact of Metaverse infrastructures
Rima Abdul Malak, Minister of Culture, says:
“This report of the exploratory mission on metaverses embraces 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 rely on these recommendations to support these new uses and implement an ambitious strategy to support creation, innovation and the dissemination of works in these digital spaces. The Ministry of Culture will also see to the defense of our values in these new territories: freedom of expression and creation, access to culture for all, protection of copyright. »
Jean-Noel Barrot adds:
“This report is an important step in the development of metaverses in France and offers concrete action levers that can be activated by French technological, cultural and industrial players. Metaverses will be decisive for the future of digital and Web3, for which France must play the leading roles at the global level by relying on know-how, world industrial leaders and an exemplary entrepreneurial spirit. »
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