KPMG Leader Says the Metaverse Could Have Big Implications in the DEI Space

While testing and creation of the metaverse is in its early stages and about a decade away from being in use, KPMG (No. 11 on DiversityInc’s 2022 Top 50 Companies for Diversity list) believes the metaverse will have big implications in the diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) space.

In a recent interview with DiversityInc, Anu Puvvada, KPMG Studio Leader and Interim Metaverse COE Leader, said the “full realization of the metaverse” will take time like the internet took time. Still, she believes there’s a future where “your headset will ring, you’ll put it on and you’ll be transported to wherever [that person calling] is.”

What Is the Metaverse?

The metaverse is a virtual world where people meet in the form of avatars that will one day be accessed through virtual reality and augmented reality headsets. It’s thought to be the next evolution of the internet. KPMG plans to use the metaverse as a collaboration tool to create “immersive experiences that are meaningful, exciting and relatable with the right relevant content to drive engagement,” Puvvada said.

“While it might be in the early stages, we’re focused on making strategic investments in this space,” she said. ‘We launched our Collaboration Hub this summer and we’re just adding more immersive experiences but being very thoughtful about it.”

The Metaverse Collaboration Hub was rolled out over the summer in the U.S. and Canada and allows employees, clients and communities to connect and engage and explore opportunities to grow the metaverse across industries and sectors.

Creating a Diverse & Inclusive Metaverse Experience

Puvvada shared a story of how her daughter was bullied in Roblox and how she took it personally because she sees the avatar in the game as an extension of herself. That made Puvvada think about how problems in the real world will be reflected in the metaverse if it’s not built in the right way, meaning a sense of culture, belonging and inclusiveness has to be embedded in the metaverse.

“I think of it as similar to AI. If only a certain group is building and training AI models, then the AI itself will be skewed and biased. The metaverse is no different than that. To have an equitable, inclusive metaverse, we need to have diverse teams involved at every stage of the process. It can’t be an afterthought for us. We just started working with a diversity incubator, we just started leading sessions in the metaverse actually bringing together Chief Diversity Officers to sit down and talk about these things so that we can build the right metaverse and the right experiences.”

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