At a Glance
Dr. Mark van Rijmenam, Founder, Datafloq
Focus Areas: Metaverse, Future of Work, AI, NFT
Thinkers360 In-Depth Profile & Portfolio: Dr Mark van Rijmenam
Thinkers360 Leaderboards: Top 50 Global Thought Leaders and Influencers on Artificial Intelligence 2022, Top 50 Global Thought Leaders and Influencers on CRM 2022, Top 50 Global Thought Leaders and Influencers on Analytics 2022
Thought Leader Interview
Thinkers360 thought leader interviews profile prominent members of the Thinkers360 community who embody the power of ideas in their work. In this edition, we speak with Dr Mark van Rijmenam, Founder of Datafloq.
Dr. Mark van Rijmenam is The Digital Speaker. He is a future tech strategist who thinks about how emerging technologies change organizations, society, and the metaverse. Van Rijmenam is an international keynote speaker, 4x author, and entrepreneur.
He is featured in the annual listings of the Thinkers360 Top 50 Global Thought Leaders and Influencers on Artificial Intelligence 2022, Top 50 Global Thought Leaders and Influencers on CRM 2022, and Top 50 Global Thought Leaders and Influencers on Analytics 2022 as well.
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Thinkers360: Tell us a bit about your background and areas of expertise
MVR: I am a future tech strategist who thinks about how technology changes organizations, society, and the metaverse. As an international keynote speaker, I have spoken in 25 countries across the globe and collectively inspired over 100.000 managers, directors, and C-level executives. I am the founder of Datafloq and 4x author, with my latest book published on the metaverse: Step into the Metaverse: How the Immersive Internet Will Unlock a Trillion-Dollar Social Economy detailing what the metaverse is and how organizations and consumers can benefit from the immersive internet.
I am also the publisher of the ‘f(x) = e^x‘ newsletter, read by thousands of executives, on the future of work and the organization of tomorrow.
Thinkers360: What is your new book all about?
MVR: Step into the Metaverse: How the Immersive Internet Will Unlock a Trillion-Dollar Social Economy discusses how the world as we know it will fundamentally change as the physical and the digital worlds merge into the metaverse, impacting the everyday experiences of people, companies, and societies. The metaverse offers extraordinary opportunities and challenges for business leaders, consumers, regulators, policymakers, and other metaverse stakeholders trying to navigate the future of the Internet.
In the metaverse, you can be who you want to be, where you want to be, and companies and consumers are only restricted by their own creativity in how they can benefit from the immersive internet. In the book, I cover issues ranging from avatars, identity, and digital fashion to non-fungible tokens (NFTs), blockchain, and the economics of the metaverse. The book also offers:
- Discussions on the importance of an open and interoperable metaverse build on the web 3.0 paradigm if we want to reign in the control of Big Tech over our identity, data, and lives.
- Explorations of the enormous—and largely untapped—potential for metaverse entertainment, including gaming, music, media, and sports and how brands can engage with their customers in novel ways, and how digital twins will change how we work and innovate.
- Considerations related to the dangers of an always-on, immersive internet, including data breaches, avatar imposters, mental health issues, corporate and state surveillance, and the need for metaverse law.
Step into the Metaverse is meant as a blueprint for an open metaverse and I believe it is an invaluable resource for anyone interested in the future of technology, the internet, and social interaction.
Thinkers360: You deliver keynotes as a hologram or avatar, can you tell us a bit about that?
MVR: As a future tech strategist I believe in practicing what I preach, so I have digitalized myself and created an avatar just when the pandemic started. This allowed me to deliver keynotes with my avatar when I was no longer able to fly and do in-person keynotes. My first avatar was quite rough and I used it to deliver season 1 of my podcast The Digital Speaker series.
Currently, I am working on my MetaHuman for season 2, which will be a hyper-realistic digital copy of me. I am also working on a video chatbot with this new avatar, so people can talk to me about the future of work 24 hours per day.
Thinkers360: Everyone talks about the Metaverse, but what is it?
MVR: The metaverse can be seen as the next iteration of the internet: a version that supports immersive, interactive, and persistent online digital experiences such as Decentraland, Microsoft Mesh, Pokémon Go, or Fortnite, and anything that will be invented in the years to come. The metaverse is not a single place, let alone one specific virtual world as portrayed in Ready Player One.
The metaverse will be the convergence of the physical and the digital world where all of our data – such as identity, personality, reputation, and assets, but also the entire history, feeling, and/or emotion of any (virtual or physical) place, organization or thing – can be interacted with, controlled and experienced in entirely novel ways so that people, and things, can create new, magical, experiences, interactions, and environments.
The convergence of the digital and the physical worlds will enable yet-to-be-developed applications similar to how the internet created completely new applications we could impossibly foresee in the mid-1990s. The metaverse will change society as drastically as Web 1.0 did, and it will offer infinite opportunities for organizations, artists, and content creators to create value. For organizations that do not want to be left behind, they should investigate today how the metaverse will impact their business. After all, similar to the original internet and social media, to understand the metaverse, you have to immerse yourself in it.
Thinkers360: How will the Metaverse change the Future of Work?
MVR: As technology becomes a more important part of our work, human-machine interactions become the norm. We will move toward bionic organizations where data enable humans and machines to collaborate seamlessly. The future of work revolves around data, decentralization, and automation, changing what we do. At the same time, these trends are converging into the metaverse, which will radically change how we work.
The metaverse will make collaboration and interactions more authentic and less exhaustive. Humans are made for 3D and not 2D, so the metaverse will enable users to leave Zoom fatigue behind once and for all. It will be an entirely new way of working, as collaborating in a digital 3D space is more intuitive than using 2D tools, especially when colleagues are geographically apart. It will make collaboration fun again, instead of a tiresome experience, and have a positive impact on the employee experience.
Embracing the metaverse, and the converging technologies enabling the metaverse is easier said than done. It requires a culture of innovation, a deep understanding of these technologies, and forward-looking leadership embracing innovation instead of preventing it, which are exactly the topics that I help organizations with using my keynotes.
Thinkers360: What’s your main advice for organizations when it comes to the Metaverse?
MVR: The future is arriving faster than you think, in fact sometimes I think that the future is already here, with all the possibilities that emerging technologies offer us. In the coming years, we will see the convergence of technologies such as quantum computing, artificial intelligence, and the metaverse, delivering unique experiences and innovations that until recently seemed impossible. If you want to remain relevant as an organization, it is important to have a good understanding of what these technologies mean for your business. Ideally, this should include a shared understanding across your organization and across all levels.
See Mark’s Thinkers360 Profile: Dr Mark van Rijmenam
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