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Seoul expects to become a metaverse city in less than five years


Soon enough, Seoul residents might find themselves entering the metaverse to register a complaint or chat with the mayor's avatar about current events.

Home to 10 million residents, the capital of South Korea aims to become the first and, it hopes, the best metaverse city in the world. The Seoul Metropolitan Government (SMG) revealed its 5-year metaverse plan to attendees at the MIT Tech Review Future Compute conference.

Seoul sees its metaverse as a mechanism for contactless communication among and with its citizens. The first phase of its 2022-2026 plan is underway: Seoul is currently bringing services from six areas, namely the economy, education, culture and tourism, communication, urbanization, and administration, to the metaverse.

Upon entering "Metaverse Seoul," you'll see Seoul City Hall and will be able to hang out with the Seoul Mayor's avatar, check the progress of major policies of Seoul with visual content, and express your opinions about the city.

In the metaverse, companies and startups will be able to showcase their solutions for the metaverse and get consultations. Firms and citizens will have a special playground to test their contents designed for the municipal metaverse.

"Eventually, users will be allowed to create scenes and experiences for other users, like concerts and art exhibits, so that people's metaverse experience can be more fun and interactive," SMG noted.

Youth will be able to go to the metaverse for career advice and peer relationships. Seoul will also develop a digital campus for higher education institutions that don't have a physical campus.

South Korean capital also aims to develop main tourist attractions, festivals, and exhibitions in the metaverse for those who can't physically attend them.

Citizens will be able to reach vital public services via the metaverse – register complaints, get consultations, real estate, taxes, and other services.

"Metaverse Seoul" will provide customized settings for meetings, conferences, and forums, and introduce a smark work office designed to enable city officials to work remotely, making them feel like they are working in the physical office.

"We hope to one day have an AI-based public servant working in the metaverse office in close collaboration with others for public services," SMG said.

In February, South Korea’s Ministry of ICT, Science, and Future Planning revealed a pledge to invest $186.7 million in the national metaverse ecosystem and to work on attracting talent.


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