“Microsoft is in a better position than Meta to offer an enterprise-oriented metaverse”

Le Journal du Net is a partner of the Mastercard Innovation Forum 2022, organized on December 8 in Paris. Invited to the event, the emblematic co-founder of TalentSoft gives us his vision of Web3.

JDN. Do you believe in the Metaverse?

Alexandre Pachulski is co-founder of TalentSoft. © API COMPANY

Alexander Pachulsky. My relationship to the metaverse is comparable to the one I have with AI. It all depends on what we’re going to do with it. Two fundamental questions arise. First of all, are we in a different situation today from that of Second Life (a 3D metaverse born in 2003, editor’s note)? On this point, the situation today is different on two counts. On the one hand, technology now allows for a much more immersive experience. On the other hand, the hybridization of work that has emerged over the past two years generates the need for collaborative experiences that are both remote and immersive. The success of Zoom, Meet and Teams prove that this need is very present. Here we have a use case that was missing in Second Life. It is not enough to provide a beautiful environment. Without purpose, without imagination, the metaverse has no meaning.

From there, the second question is whether the metaverse can now represent a better solution than videoconferencing services. For me, the answer is generally no. In some configurations only, this solution may be better. In the case where two geographically distant individuals embark on the creation of a company, the metaverse can be interesting insofar as it recreates the feeling of being together in the same office. It could also be very relevant to renew social ties at a time in the history of humanity when many populations feel very isolated.

Does generalizing the metaverse make no sense to you?

At a time when the environmental crisis and global warming are accelerating, like the day of the great overshoot (date from which humanity has consumed all the resources that the Earth can replenish in one year, editor’s note) which took place on July 28, 2022, companies consider it interesting to extend the consumer space to a virtual world. Based on the principle that we will have to consume a little less in the real world, they rely on metaverses so that people buy products in a limitless digital universe. The metaverse (that they promote, editor’s note) is part of a logic of overconsumption.

Instead of offering an immersive experience that reduces travel without impacting productivity or the pleasure of working together, these companies intend to make money in a universe that does not exist. With all the economic, cognitive and environmental consequences that this entails. Knowing that such a metaverse would, in fact, consume energy exponentially. We can also wonder whether the funds, business angels or the BPI must contribute in an equivalent way for a digital activity contributing to reducing the carbon footprint, such as Blablacar, than for a company which will sell billboards or shoes in the metaverse. Does this model belong in the Next40? I am not a champion of degrowth, I simply think that it is necessary to combine the useful with the pleasant.

In the collaborative, several use cases have proven themselves in terms of metaverse, for example the co-design of products by a distributed team or the repetition of a nuclear reactor maintenance procedure in an immersive environment…

Your second example is instructive. It responds to the issues of risk management at work and hardship in a sector as important as energy. We can return here to a form of companionship by allowing a distributed team to meet humanly to share techniques, gestures, knowledge, which could also be valued through NFT or in the form of barter. This use case joins the notion of progress which consists in using innovations for the benefit of the common good. We are the opposite of a metaverse designed to sell virtual products, playing on narcissism and individualism, an environment synonymous with suffering, suicide and burnout. This view is irresponsible.

“For me, web3 should allow everyone to benefit from the fruits of what it produces”

Beyond this nuclear use case, there are many other areas where the metaverse could be relevant. In retail, for example, it would make it possible to put a seller in a situation by confronting him with a capricious consumer, with totally non-deterministic behavior. A consumer that could be played by an AI. You allow him to improve, to become better, with a fabulous saving of time and energy.

Meta develops a vision of the metaverse for professionals…

So far, Meta has rarely succeeded in penetrating the professional world. Its only product that is an exception in this segment is Workplace (the declination of Facebook for the company, editor’s note). On this point, they have succeeded well. They understood that by adapting the company to an environment that everyone uses, the sauce would take. Meta, on the other hand, failed in the HR and training segment.

Microsoft is in a much better position to deliver an enterprise-oriented metaverse. With Teams, he has succeeded in a phenomenal bet. Satya Nadella (CEO of Microsoft, editor’s note) understood the power of the cloud. Being a veteran of the product, he advances by use case by being very attentive to the ecosystem and customers without putting the cart before the horse. Microsoft has started integrating a metaverse into Teams with Mesh. It might just ramp up quickly like it did with Teams (by integrating Skype for Business, editor’s note) and generate a much higher adoption rate than Meta.

What do you think Web3 should ideally aim for?

For me, Web3 should allow everyone to benefit from the fruits of what it produces. This is the opposite of web 2.0 in which the producer sees himself dispossessed of his production which is resold by advertisers. With the emergence of Web3, regulators (of the Internet, editor’s note) must be overhauled, and everyone regain citizen and egalitarian power. The Internet user should receive a number of tokens corresponding to the consumption of the virtual resource he has produced. This is the advent of the sharing economy described by Michel Bauwens.

In terms of tools, it will probably be necessary to switch from helmets to virtual reality lenses, which are much lighter, easier to handle and acceptable to the user. Lenses that are augmented reality oriented. The ideal would indeed be to be able to project on a chair in front of his physical desk his interlocutors recreated in 3D. And not to find themselves in the form of avatars in a virtual environment.

Alexandre Pachulski is co-founder of TalentSoft, a SaaS talent management platform. He is its chief product officer until the acquisition of the company by the publisher of management software Cegid in July 2021. Holder of a doctorate in computer science at Dauphine University, Alexandre Pachulski was previously president of O2 Consulting from 2001 to 2007, year of the creation of TalentSoft. Since November 2021, he has been an associate producer at the film studio Timpel Pictures. He is also a director of France Digitale and Willa. Finally, he signed three books: “Unique(s): What if the key to the world of tomorrow was us?”, “AI Generation”both at E/P/A, and “Start-up Story – The Pop Culture Guide to Entrepreneurship” at Diateino.

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