Businesses are racing toward a future very different from the one they were designed to operate in, as the past few years have brought unexpected change beyond what many could have imagined. A more recent phenomenon, the metaverse, will transform how businesses interact with customers, how work is done, what products and services companies offer, how they make and distribute them, and how they operate their organizations.\n\nThese new, digitally enhanced worlds, realities, and business models are poised to revolutionize both life and enterprise in the next decade, as explored in Accenture\u2019s recent Technology Vision 2022 report.\n\nHere are five implications these technologies will have on security and privacy as we build our collective future. \n\nBuilding trust\n\nThe metaverse will require a digital foundation that enables trust and authenticity. Currently, society is at an inflection point as people have lower confidence in the internet and in social media. Challenges around privacy, bias, fairness, and human wellness are becoming far more acute as the line between physical and digital lives blurs further. Enterprises are at the front lines of establishing trust and have the unique ability to define the human experience in these new places.\n\nWith that said, humans are also in a unique position. We need to learn to interact in a way that promotes trust, specifically in the metaverse. This comes with a learning curve as, for instance, people may not yet be familiar with virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) platforms and terms and protocols related to Web 3\u2014essentially the next iteration of the internet. However, at the crux of things, for all metaverse efforts, the overarching goal is to create a layer of trust across the web by giving people control of their own data leveraging technologies like blockchain. \n\nA programmable world\n\nThere are endless avenues to enable new ways to augment, customize, and otherwise \u201cprogram\u201d our physical environments. Beyond the fundamentals of cross-device interactions, privacy, and security, becoming a leader in the programmable world will require wide-ranging exploration, experimentation, and development. To find success, enterprises will need a deep understanding of the three layers that make up the programmable world to work toward \u201cfull stack\u201d programmability: the Connected, the Experiential, and the Material.\n\nTo start, businesses should find ways to level up their foundational, connected layer. 5G is poised to be game-changing in terms of its speed and low latency, but rollouts are still on the horizon. In addition, businesses need to actively engage with industry-wide alliances, helping to shape the development of new technology standards.\n\nFor the experiential layer, enterprises can start to bridge their digital and physical worlds by building digital twins. Over time digital twins will become the engine for every enterprise\u2019s programmable world strategy, letting them invent products, design experiences, and run their businesses in ways that would have been unimaginable a few decades ago.\n\nFinally, it\u2019s crucial to constantly explore future technologies on the material layer. Partnerships with startups and universities can ensure you are in the forefront of real-world technology innovation. Building on data collected by IoT and edge devices, processed at 5G speeds, digital twins are a core constituent of the experiential layer as the global digital twin market, valued at $3.21 billion in 2020, is expected to reach $184.5 billion by 2030.\n\nNavigating the unreal\n\n\u201cUnreal\u201d qualities are becoming intrinsic to AI, but bad actors are using it, too\u2014from deepfakes to bots and more\u2014so authenticity will be crucial to integration. Currently, we are entering a world with synthetic realness, where AI-generated data convincingly reflects the physical world. As synthetic realness progresses, conversations about AI that align good and bad with real and fake will shift to focus instead on authenticity.\n\nWhen\u2014and if\u2014deployed authentically, synthetic realness can push AI to new heights, with fairness and security at the center, while saving time and energy. By solving for issues of bias and privacy, it can bring next-level improvements to AI models in fairness and innovation.\n\nUsing these technologies pushes enterprises into controversial terrain. It raises tough questions about how to leverage generative AI in an authentic way for a company\u2019s customers, its partners, and its brand, all within the context of bad actors using these same technologies to create deepfakes and disinformation that undermine trust. The ways in which businesses address these questions will be key to whether they gain strategic advantage or generate a bad reputation\n\nComputing the impossible\n\nAuthenticity and trust should be at the core of any technology moving forward and synthetic AI can drive fairness and innovation with new machines. Today, quantum computers, high-performance computing (HPC), and biology-inspired machines represent a new suite of tools for the unique demands of a post-digital business.\n\nEvery industry has its challenges; however, emerging technologies make these core challenges achievable. Quantum is the pinnacle of next-generation problem solving, but high-performance computers (HPC) can help businesses take advantage of the swaths of data inherent to the digital world that may be too expensive or inefficient for traditional computing.\n\nThese three sets of machines will dramatically reduce the difficulty of solving some of the world\u2019s deepest challenges. In 2020 alone, IDC found that 64.2ZB of data was created, captured, or replicated, and that number is expected to grow to 180ZB by 2025. However, of all the data created in 2020, only 10.6% was useful for analysis, and only about 44% of that was actually used.\n\nQuantum research, HPC, and biology-inspired machines, although they have individual limitations, collectively are immensely powerful and represent an evolution towards machines that, down to the very physics of their operation, are unlike any in existence today. As they grow, the window of what\u2019s possible will expand.\n\nSolving the greatest challenges\n\nFor decades, computers that could efficiently solve the world\u2019s \u201cgrand challenges\u201d have been nothing more than theoretical concepts. Today, they are rapidly improving and their potential impact on industries\u2019 most fundamental problems may be the biggest opportunity in generations.\n\nLeaders must build in-roads and partnerships to understand the latest developments in their industries and to innovate toward a greater future in all realities. By creating a futurist team to think through how new technologies can either threaten\u2014or evolve\u2014the status quo of the enterprise as well as the impact on society and on individuals, businesses and leaders will be well poised to exist and even thrive in the metaverse.