Written by Sarah Vloothuis

Senior Corporate Communications Manager

People have strong opinions on the metaverse, don’t they? Some believe it’s a fad, others think it’s the future. It’s in fashion… then it’s out of fashion. It’s an exciting new world filled with opportunity – but fraught with danger and like the Wild West. There are even a few who won’t speak its name, despite the development of metaverse technologies continuing apace. What we do know, however, is that whatever it ends up being called and however it finally looks, it’s coming. But we might not even realise it until it’s arrived.

What do I mean by that? Well, it feels to me that the metaverse is being created in millions of pieces. Plenty of different businesses and people are working on their own parts, which will eventually come together to realise a metaverse that can be fully or semi-immersive (depending on your opinion). Some are focused on Virtual Reality, others on Augmented Reality. And like any vast-scale building project, there’s a whole swathe of organisations dedicated to building the foundations – governance, security and economy, for example. All the big stuff we take for granted in real life

VR is probably the one tool in the metaverse armoury that’s divided thought leaders the most. On the one hand, some think it to be expensive and cumbersome, miles away from where it needs to be. On the other? It’s money-saving and exciting, brilliant for transporting people to places and experiences they couldn’t readily go to. Given the highly visual nature of the metaverse, it’s obvious that we are one of the brands that is really excited. Our film industry customers are already using our Dual Fisheye lens to create VR experiences that save a fortune on location scouting, as well as using it to create incredible pieces of art. Then there are all the extremely cool solutions that our colleagues at Canon USA took to CES 2023 and our R&D labs around the world, responsible for registering thousands of patents every year. It’s mind-blowing stuff.

But it’s got to be more than just designing solutions, no matter how metaverse-friendly they are. Kyosei – living and working together for the common good – is fundamental to the way we Canon people think about our work and it really couldn’t be a more appropriate philosophy for now, when we are contemplating a future that could be so fundamentally different. After all, when we go about our daily lives, do we take note of every brand we interact with? Of course not, we’d never get anything done. But do we rely on the same brands to get us through our days? Absolutely

In obvious and not-so-obvious ways, we play a big part in our customer’s lives, so it made sense to start exploring how the world we share might change and what this means for us all. The results, (which you can find on Canon VIEW) are called ‘Meta-Morphosis’ because that’s precisely what’s happening right now – a profound change from one point of history to the next. In these articles we’ve examined what it means to be physically safe in a virtual world, what is meant by “the connective tissue of the metaverse” and whether you’re already using the tech that it refers to (which is what I meant when I said we may not even realise that it’s arrived). We also wonder about the implications of technology that’s meant to make working life easier but might not respect our right to privacy. And how we can find new ways of teaching and learning in an ever-expanding world.

I, for one, think it’s so valuable to bring different opinions and ideas together in this way. Like our friend Jonathan Jacobs, the Director of Specialism at West London’s Global Academy, thoughtfully considering the potential of the metaverse in the context of education, while Ren, a fourteen-year-old, predicts that AI will knock teachers out of existence altogether anyway. “The more things change, the more they stay the same,” you might say.

It’s such a simple, but important reminder that while we may create new worlds, we are still human.