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“Metaverse, DeepMediaTech & Women: Where do we stand?”

Dhj 27, 2021

KosovaLive, in cooperation with Albany Associates and supported by the Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) and British Embassy in Prishtina organized the hybrid conference “Metaverse, DeepMediaTech & Women: Where do we stand?”.

This high-level conference was held on December 22, 2021, at KosovaLive Hub in Prishtina.

The conference brought together local and international media and technology experts, government officials, influencers, women leaders, civil society participants, as well as speakers and artificial intelligence professionals, and meta-experts.

The conference was hosted by Annea Hapçiu who spoke about the context of the conference and the importance of discussing a topic such as Metaverse in Kosovo.

The novelty of this conference was the speaker Meta (former Facebook), Valeriya Lindholt, who spoke about Diversity, Equality, and Metaverse, and the difficulties of managing and creating appropriate policies for such a large number of users as have Facebook and Instagram now.

As well as Richard Le Vay, from the British Embassy in Pristina, who stressed the importance of the conference in the media industry in Kosovo, and Patrick Wood, data analyst, from Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO), who discussed more about Deepfakes and the dangers they pose to our world today, and how we should focus on using fact-checking media.
The conference consisted of 3 panels where it was discussed how prepared Kosovo is for Metaverse and DeepMediaTech.

Speakers at the first panel were Agim Kukaj from the Kosovo Ministry of Economic Development, Vildane Kelmendi from Cacttus Education, and Jehona Lluka, from She Inspires and the Council of Business Consultants.

The second panel discussed whether independent media in Kosovo could effectively adapt to Metaverse. Part of this panel were: Xhemajl Rexha, Chairman of the Board of Association of Journalists of Kosovo (AJK), Doarsa Kica, MP of the Republic of Kosovo and Chief Commissioner for Local Government, Regional Development and Media and Vjollca Çavolli, Executive Director of STIKK.

The third panel discussed about women and where they stand in the future of Metaverse and DeepMediaTech. Speakers at this panel were Mentor Rexhepi, executive director of Venture UP, Zana Tabaku, director of APPDEC, and Violeta Hyseni Kelmendi, member of the Board of Directors of the Independent Media Commission. See the photo from the “Metaverse, DeepMediaTech & Women: Where do we stand?”



Conference Theme Background:

“Metaverse, DeepMediaTech & Women: Where do we stand?”

Global communication was transformed when the internet became mainstream in the 1990s. It took only about fifteen years after that for social media to transform our societies and the way we interact with content, consume news, communicate with loved ones and do business. The democratization of technology, education, and access to information has sped up innovation to an unprecedented rate for humanity as we know it, making the Metaverse and DeepMediaTech the next frontiers to alter our way of life and possibly redefine what it means to be human.

The Metaverse, as defined by USA Today, is a combination of multiple elements of technology – virtual reality, augmented reality and video – where users “live” within a digital universe. This virtual universe of existence is envisioned as a space where users work, play, connect with friends through everything from business meetings, to concerts and virtual trips around the world. Today to enter the metaverse you use a unique headset or glasses developed by an IT company, just like you use a smartphone to access your social media life. The difference is that in the current Metaverse you are submerged in a custom designed world, where you have an avatar and your physical body is in the real world (at least now).

Technology companies around the globe are rushing to take the lead in designing, programing, commercializing and defining the Metaverse. Investment firms, independent investors and common people are buying land, real estate and art pieces on the Metaverse, just as people buy gear, clothes, and skills in video-games or face-app filters on social media today.

The Metaverse is becoming possible through deep tech innovations that are highly complex engineering scientific discoveries, which are often radical, may create new markets or disrupt existing ones and impact everyday life.

Republic, a financial technology company that specializes in investment-related services in the private markets, recently created a diversified portfolio of digital real estate NonFungibleTokens (NFTS) across various Metaverses, which has tens of millions of dollars in pre-reservation.

Facebook recently rebranded itself to Meta and realigned its vision towards the Metaverse.

Some of the technologies, for instance DeepFakes, may have serious implications on independent media sustainability, reporting, alter the work of journalists, impact job security and transform notions of disinformation, misinformation and malinformation as we know it. Social Media algorithms changed the way media is consumed, increased audience access, enabled real-time tracking, made citizen journalism possible, while also blurring the lines between fact and fiction to an unprecedented degree.

How will the Metaverse and DeepMedia impact our perceptions of what is real and what is not? How will the design of the Metaverse change access to information, economic opportunity and citizen engagement?

Women worldwide are underrepresented in media, engineering, the deeptech and computer science fields. How will the Metaverse experience design contribute to gender disparities? What will it take for women to achieve equality in the Metaverse? How will women’s leadership need to adapt?