Spatial Computing and Digital Public Infrastructure – Drivers for Inclusive Digital Economy with Fahad Shahab

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Author: Fahad Shahab

When Apple announced Apple Vision Pro on 5 June 2023, Tim Cook the CEO of Apple marked it as a new era of computing called spatial computing. My intuitive design sense further went on to say that spatial computing is as revolutionary as the iPhone announcement by Steve Jobs 16 years ago. Spatial computing as defined by Simon Greenwold (2003), is a “human interaction with a machine in which the machine retains and manipulates referents to real objects and spaces.” Interestingly, the definition was written in 2003, the same year I graduated from NED University of Engineering and Technology, where the topic of virtual reality was extremely popular back then and contributed to the topic of my final year presentation.

As we have learnt in the DFI Inclusive Digital Economy Development (IDED) course, new technology has the potential of disrupting old ways of work by replacing old jobs with new ones and fuelling economic growth. Will Spatial Computing impact the economy, or rather Digital Economy in the same way as its predecessors or is it something over hyped?

During the COVID-19 pandemic as well as now, digitalisation has been embraced by most countries in the world. However, inclusive digital economy practitioners raise concerns about digitalisation’s impact on different segments of society especially the bottom pyramid which lacks robust and reliable Digital Public Infrastructure (DPI) and safety. In September of 2022, at the 77th session of the UN General Assembly, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) convened global leaders to usher a new era of digital cooperation for a more sustainable and equitable world. DPI along with Digital Public Goods (DPG) were presented as a catalyst to revive economic growth after the pandemic.

DPI referring to blocks or platforms such as digital identification, payment infrastructure and data exchange solutions that help countries deliver essential services to their people, empowering citizens and improving lives by enabling digital inclusion. DPG, on the other hand, are open-source software, open data, open AI models, open standards and open content that adhere to privacy and other applicable laws and best practices, do no harm by design, and help attain the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

We have seen technologies like AI and cloud computing have played a significant role in accelerating digitalisation during the last decade. The conjunction of spatial computing and DPI offers a greater opportunity to build the next wave of digitalisation which needs to be more inclusive than its predecessor partnered by both private and public sector in pursuit of the SDGs by 2030.

 

By Fahad Shahab

Partnerships Development Manager at CoinPayments

About Fahad Shahab:

Fahad wears many hats. A DFI brand ambassador, a Community of Practice (COP) representative, and SME for the Inclusive Digital Economy Development course, he is also the first person in Pakistan to get the Certified Digital Finance Practitioner (CDFP) qualification from Fletcher School of Tufts University and Digital Frontiers Institute. For over 20 years, he added value to the Payments, Information Technology, and Financial Services Industry, providing leadership, support and innovation in product design and development with an in-country, regional and global lens.