Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella comments on the metaverse

Satya NadellaSource: Harvard Business Review

Harvard Business Review’s Editor-in-Chief Adi Ignatius sat down for a video call with Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella to discuss a bevy of topics ranging from the ever-popular “how has work changed” dialogue that’s dominated 2021 to the science-fiction-tinged subject of “the metaverse.”

Ignatius loosely framed the metaverse discussion with the idea that’s it’s the technological landscape of the future where the real world gets more deeply integrated with 3D augmented reality and virtual reality tech.

Nadella spoke about the metaverse by saying “there is both an outside-in and inside out” to describe the idea that it’s not just about putting a computational reality over the top of our real one, but also about putting the real world inside a computer’s domain. To give an example, he pointed out how Microsoft Teams meetings function, putting real-world elements into a digitized format. He then acknowledged the Ready Player One fantasy angle, referencing HoloLens and how really, with that sort of technology in mind, the metaverse has been around for a while.

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“[…] So video [-based meetings] transcending to 2D avatars and 3D immersive meetings is probably as practical a way for us to think about how the metaverse really emerges,” he said. He described the metaverse as another point along the continuum between physical and digital meetings, and that while it would get remote individuals closer to physicality than ever before, true physical interactions cannot be substituted.

The rest of the video contains Nadella’s insights on work trends, leadership, and other elements pertaining to subjects he has expertise in as the CEO of Microsoft.

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