The Dawn of the Physical Cyber ​​Internet

Given the “metaverse” hemorrhage into other cyber-physical worlds — from artificial intelligence, blockchain, the Internet of Things, to quantum computing — there needs to be an urgent coordinated effort to look at all of these things at the same time, with government and industry joint leadership of best practices and approaches that benefit everybody. This means developing a “systems thinking” approach that takes into account how technologies converge.

Stay away from technology silos

To develop best practices and shared approaches – with help and guidance from leading impartial innovation organizations such as the Digital Catapult – governments around the world must foster a policy landscape that moves away from developing technological capabilities in silos. We need new business models that explore openness and interoperability as these new capabilities are built.

After all, there are noticeable commonalities between the threads of technology and its challenges: from data availability, issues with legacy systems, and a lack of scalable solutions to meet the growing demand and skills. The same is true for opportunities – from building resilience to reaching net zero goals.

With this in mind, governments should reconsider how they regulate the distribution of funding and skills initiatives. Worldwide R&D and innovation funding continues to focus on specific capabilities (such as artificial intelligence) in specific sectors (such as manufacturing), while in the UK, universities are pumping out PhDs and spin-offs that focus on individual technologies. Skills programs and healthy funding for research and development are welcome, but more needs to be done to support multidisciplinary teams that can build scalable system-based solutions and platforms – rather than just focus on integrating innovative applications.

international effort

The UK is taking steps in the right direction. The UK government, working with Digital Catapult, the wider Catapult network, industry and large technology providers, has been consulting on what this supporting innovation capability – ‘cyber physical infrastructure’ – could look like.

Earlier this year, the Digital Catapult held an event where large and small stakeholders – from tech giants like Meta, Niantic and NVidia, to local UK startups like Iotics – brought together policy makers to discuss the building blocks that enable cyberspace, regulations and steps Necessary to see common. We also co-hosted an event with the Digital Regulatory Collaboration Forum (DRCF) to exchange ideas and views on potential impacts on a key component of the physical cyber world – the metaverse – and associated technologies.

Now, it is absolutely essential to join globally, so we are not only building capabilities to meet national interests. The political landscape must be designed to allow businesses and governments to develop systems that operate internationally, for everyone, rather than modifying rules and regulations, or individual technologies, in existing systems.

Visions for a cyber-physical future

Looking ahead, governments, industry bodies and organizations around the world must promote a more comprehensive approach to finance, skills building and technology development, or miss a key opportunity to develop cyber-physical infrastructure in a way that benefits technology, society, and the planet.

Unless we join across industries, technologies, and geographical boundaries, we will continue to make mistakes of the past. “Data collection” business models for digital companies, locked platforms and tools, and solutions focused on applications built on top of big technology will continue to exist. In other words, cy-phy will forever remain in the realm of science fiction.

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