Think tank recommends metaverse to pace economy

Think tank recommends metaverse to pace economy

The government should pay more attention to metaverse development as a potential technology to help rehabilitate the Thai economy, says the National Economic and Social Development Council (NESDC).

According to Jinanggoon Rojananan, the NESDC's deputy secretary-general, the metaverse is playing a greater role in people's way of life and changing the way business is conducted.

"The metaverse can bring new opportunities to Thailand to help rehabilitate the Thai economy. It supports creativity, the digital economy, tourism and medical services," she said.

The metaverse is an enhanced form of communication or interpersonal interaction, moving from traditional websites or apps into interactions between people that are closer to the real world, or transforming the experience of real-world interactions into a digital format.

For healthcare, Ms Jinanggoon said the metaverse can be used in treatment, learning, communication, or work that improves teleworking patterns. It also provides users with the feeling of being with their co-workers as if they were working in a real office, she said.

Ms Jinanggoon cited Bloomberg Intelligence research that forecast the metaverse market will be worth US$780 billion by 2024, up from $480 billion in 2020, while Goldman Sachs sees the metaverse as an $8 trillion global opportunity.

"For Thailand, the metaverse is a technology that can support the country's development, such as the creative economy and digital economy, as well as drive targeted industries under the 13th national economic and social development plan for 2023-2027," she said.

Ms Jinanggoon suggested the government offer opportunities for Thais and businesses to have comprehensive metaverse access because of the high cost of access equipment. Most business sectors are not yet very technologically competent.

Moreover, the digital skills of Thais are not yet good enough, she said.

The number of information technology professionals in Thailand is still limited, while demand in the IT field over the next 5-10 years is projected to continue growing.

In addition, the metaverse requires high-speed internet for an immediate and continued response, but Thailand's 5G service areas do not yet span nationwide, said Ms Jinanggoon.

She said a clear law that governs the system is needed because the metaverse is an open system that allows users around the world to engage in collaborative and simultaneous activities. Oversight and legal controls should be clear, but apply only in Thailand, said Ms Jinanggoon.

"Transactions on the metaverse require digital assets, but Thailand has not yet determined which digital assets can be used for payment of goods and services," she said. "Users also require data security to be protected, and they must be careful to avoid data loss."

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