Valentina B. Doorly Reports From Metaverse Summit

By Emily Hourican
Valentina B. Doorly Reports From Metaverse Summit

Valentina B. Doorly reports from the Metaverse Summit, in the Copenhagen Institute for Futures Studies.

This article was originally published in the Spring 2023 issue of Hospitality Ireland Magazine, in March of 2023.

In 2022, most of us likely attended events or conferences where techsavvy speakers attempted to explain what the metaverse is. Chances are, you didn’t understand a thing.

Fear not. You are in good company, with the vast majority of the public – who are now mumbling the new catchword enthusiastically – half doubting their cognitive capabilities and understanding of these apparent ‘new worlds.’

Truth is, most of the speakers making their pitch have a partial and embryonic understanding of this new evolution of the web into what we now call ‘Web3’ – and the plain reason for this being: the metaverse is not yet, hence, it is impossible to define and describe it with clarity.


No tech evangelist can make up for what is potentially a phenomenal innovation, but still in its infancy – infrastructure lacking, device convergence to happen, use and functionalities to be explored. We can talk today about the betaverse, rather than the metaverse, but let’s proceed in order, and shed light on what we can at least glimpse about the world to come.

Web1 was the onset of the Internet, where a land mass of information was uploaded and made instantly available worldwide. Sounds banal now, but before that explosive novelty, the only place you could find telephone numbers and information was the telephone book … or through intermediation. Web1 gave the ‘offer’ – hotels, attractions, transport – instant visibility on the global scene and a new, immensely vast distribution channel for content and products.

Web2 marked two epochal step changes – for one, the beginning of ecommerce. We could now ‘buy’ things on the Internet. What things? Anything, and from anywhere. A blast of disintermediation ensued, provoking the near annihilation of the tour operator and travel agent industry, with highprofile giants such as Thomas Cook going out of business after over 150 years of trade.

Secondly, Web2 allowed a new powerful actor into its world: the ‘demand’. Clients and consumers now had their say, commenting and reviewing products and experiences while advising one another. On what? On everything, and from everywhere. The power pendulum had been shifted from ‘offer’ to ‘demand’.


Web3 is going to be the next leap. This entails building a digital twin of our physical world – let’s call it Planet A – and placing it in a virtual space – let’s call it Planet B.


What would Planet B contain, in this virtual, 3D replica? That’s right – everything, and from everywhere.

The word metaverse indicates a virtual world, a digital twin copy in 3D, where we will be able to ‘be’, act, interact, touch and handle (virtual) objects, simulate situations or product developments, learn, and interact in real time, with other parties joining us from other sites in the physical world.

The devices and infrastructure necessary to make it happen are: a metaverse platform to step into; a visor, such as Google Oculus, which brings you into it, in an immersive experience; and the handset that you operate, to interact, touch and move objects within the metaverse.

We could say that, up until now, we have been on the Internet. With the metaverse, we will be into the Internet.

How will we ‘be into’ the Internet, given that this is a virtual dimension? Certainly not in our flesh and bones, but, rather, through an avatar – a self-created and self-styled version of ourselves – who will ‘be’ and ‘act’ in the metaverse dimension on our behalf and under our watch (hopefully).




If you are already throwing a highpitched fit, swearing that you will never have an avatar of yourself, think twice: you already have one – the digital version of your person in all social media, LinkedIn included, where you strive to make yourself taller, cheerful-ler, and more successful than ever. That ‘persona’ that you nurture and make speak out, post and represent your personal brand – what is it, then, if not a first version of your avatar, halfway to the one who will be invited into the metaverse?

Let’s look at some examples of how this Planet B will work and what it will work for.

TRAINING: Imagine the training of a young surgeon. While learning, he or she can ‘watch’ senior surgeons performing the surgeries, but how can she start operating herself? From the textbook into your entrails, with the metaverse dimension, putting on a visor, she will be able to perform the operation on the digital twin of the patient – surgery tools and all – doing it as many times as she needs to, until feeling confident and without fear of harming the patient. The same goes for any technical skills and related learning. Machines – equipment of all kinds – can have their perfect 3D replica in this virtual space. Technicians can learn, try, simulate, and consult with one another across the globe, resolving the issue while operating at the same time on the same (virtual) object, even if the two parties sit miles away from one another.

EDUCATION: A new level of ‘experiential learning’ will make its way to the newer generations of students. They will be able to read and watch about ancient Rome, but they will also be able to step into ancient Rome and interact with Roman characters, touching and moving objects, and so on.

SALES: Some Irish tourism operators were forerunners in pre-pandemic times, producing some of the first VR experiences of the country and of some of its hotels, to present and offer to potential customers and clients. The same approach will apply with the metaverse – though with extra layers of functionality – as the interactions within Web3 are in real time and within 3D environments. The selling agent will be able to join the potential client in that demo-space and interact with her.


The metaverse is not yet, and possibly five to ten years away from shaping up with a sufficiently widespread infrastructure, to represent a new, functioning collaborative space for all – hopefully with an open-source frame, rather than fragmented in many privately owned spaces.

As with all things new, the only way to avoid being taken by surprise is to start exploring, playing, and engaging with them from the very start. This allows us to study them when they are in their infancy, and we can understand – and, to some extent, predict – their developments.


The Metaverse Summit in Copenhagen was a powerful day – a sort of ‘let’s take a joint look’ and ‘let’s take a Nordic stance’ on the matter.

Sadly, we started with one sombre case study. As the Russian-Ukrainian war keeps mauling people and sites, it also destroys the Ukrainian cultural and architectural heritage on its way. The company Virtue, specialising in the super-accurate 3D virtual scanning of landscapes, has launched an initiative (#BackupUkraine) to call all Ukrainian citizens to download its app and scan whatever in their vicinity represents a valuable and cherished cultural heritage site, now threatened by bombing … just in case it was to be destroyed.

Here is a survivalist, dystopian example of how we can happily corner ourselves into needing to create a digital twin of our reality because of our folly to destroy it. Will we resort to walk into the metaverse’s surrogate experience of an ecosystem that we have damaged beyond repair?

The summit draws to a close when the Danish, Swedish and Norwegian attendees ask themselves, “What do we pinpoint to be the Nordic way to go about the metaverse?”

Three things are called out as important for this audience: the need and demand for early regulation that will prevent the dangerous distortion of Web3; agreeing on the rules of the game; and instigating a vigilant eye that will protect the powerful new technology.

“We don’t fall for glitter,” says one of the panellists, meaning that the Nordic countries appreciate functionality and real intrinsic value, rather than just fashionable gizmos.

Finally, the individual and his needs must be firmly at the centre of actions and strategies. Human beings and their well-being should be at the forefront of our concern at all times – the third point over which the panel agrees.

Sounds very similar to the set of values cherished on the Emerald Isle. Maybe there is a strategic partnership to explore there. Slán.

Let me know what you think: [email protected]


‘The seamless convergence of our physical and digital lives that will bring people, spaces and things together in virtual or augmented digital worlds. This includes augmented visual layers added on top of our physical reality as well as virtual worlds.’

Copenhagen Institute for Futures Studies

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