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THE WALL STREET JOURNAL

NEXT ERA LEADERʼS AWARD

弊社代表取締役 宮田和男が『ウォールストリートジャーナル』(WSJ)が選定する
次世代のリーダー「NEXT ERA LEADERS AWARD」を、
埋蔵文化財発掘調査会社として、世界で初めて受賞しました。

『NEXT ERA LEADERS WSJ』は、画期的なビジネスモデル、クリエイティビティに溢れたプロダクトを引き起こす人として、現在あるいは今後、世界にイノベーションを起こすであろう経営者を特集するメディアです。この企画で特集された世界の錚々たる経営者の中から選ばれたのが「NEXT ERA LEADERʼS AWARD」です。

【受賞者(掲載順)】
Marc Russell Benioff / Salesforce.com, Inc.
Elon Musk / Tesla Motors
Koji Togashi /Global Link
Lawrence Joseph Ellison/Oracle
Timothy Donald Cook / Apple Inc.
Kazuo Miyata/Kanto Bunkazai1 Shinkoukai
Bill Gates/Microsoft
Yuji Shimizu / YZ Consulting
Kunimasa Suzuki / Intel Japan
Bernard Jean Etienne Arnault /LVMH
Reid Garrett Hoffman /Linkedln
Sundar Pichai /Google
Hasso Plattner /Plattner
Shohei Kimura /Blue Inc.
Jeff Bezos / Amazon.com, Inc.

NEXT LEADER

Newsweek

Newsweekに掲載されました(2021.1.26)

The Future Created by the Interrelationship between Archaeological Protection Activities and the Metaverse Business

Current Status of Archaeological Protection Activities

Since UNESCO began registering sites as “World Heritage” in 1975, the idea of protecting and preserving historical heritage on a global scale has been spreading. The number of the sites designated as World Heritage was 1154 in 2021. It is wonderful that we are working to preserve the evidence of our lives. However, if we are asked whether archaeological protection activities are sufficiently carried out, the answer is no. The current problems can be summarized in the following two points.

【1】The number of applications for World Heritage Sites is large in developed countries, but           developing countries are more reluctant to designate World Heritage Sites.
(Although cultural heritage protection activities, including archaeological surveys, are actively pursued in developed countries, less so in developing countries.)

【2】World Heritage designation often hinders economic development.

The causes of each of these problems can be considered as follows: As for 1, it can be said that it all comes down to the issue of financial capability. Archaeological protection activities require not only the obligatory contributions imposed on the States Parties to the World Heritage Convention but also the national budget, which tends to be difficult from the viewpoint of developing countries. Rather than reluctance, the motivation to "protect and preserve cultural properties" is too weak to generate the necessary funds for surveys from the national budget. There are many issues to be tackled by developing countries, and the challenges are cumulative, such as employment issues, education, and provision of medical care. It is natural that the protection of the people is a higher priority issue than archaeological protection. Next, as for 2, many developing countries are eagerly carrying out public projects involving land development with the cooperation of foreign countries, such as providing housing for their citizens and attracting foreign companies’ factories.. However, in order to do so, a vast amount of land is needed, but in many cases, many archaeological sites are located in the target land. If archaeological protection is given priority, the problem of stopping development will occur. In order to protect archaeological sites, funds are needed, but few countries or companies will fund "sites that do not generate money.” The above is a brief overview of the world situation surrounding archaeological protection activities.

To Add Economic Value to Archaeological Protection Activities...

What does it mean to bring economic added value to archaeological protection activities? It means to change from “sites that do not generate money" to “sites that generate money". Countries and companies invest a lot of money in what they see as business opportunities. However, current archaeological protection activities are limited to tourism of the sites at best. We have to change from "sites that do not generate money" to "sites that generate money.” In order to do so, we need to motivate the economy to promote protection activities. As mentioned at the beginning of this article, when we look back at economic history, we can say that people looked toward the future and gathered to create a new society, sharing wisdom and money to drive the economy. When we apply the idea that people and money tend to gather for future-oriented topics to archaeological protection activities, it would be nice to find the "significance of the existence of historical heritage sites" in the orbit of the future-oriented economic cycle. However, the theme of archaeological protection and the economy has been discussed many times, and it has not been successful. Therefore, I would like to make a proposal of my own.

Proposal for Archaeological Protection

  1. The country will designate areas including archaeological sites as global special economic zones. (SEZ)

    This global special economic zone has two model societies, one with real space and one with virtual space.
    Its interchangeability will also create an aggregation place for various kinds of business and tourism.

  2. The country requires foreign companies to pay the full cost of the archaeological protection and survey.

  3. In return, the companies get a guarantee that they will be able to
    receive a great deal of financial incentives in that country.

  4. As a result, the country can lay the foundation for a new economy and at the same time
    constitute a cycle that can return profits to the people.

  5. Several new special economic zones will be created around the world.

  6. Economic and cultural exchanges between SEZs will be created and deeply connected.

  7. As a result, both real space and virtual space will develop and become richer.

There has been an idea of having companies intervene in archaeological protection for a long time. Therefore, I am sure that there are many people who will laugh at my proposal, saying that it is an idealistic idea that has been discussed and abandoned many times. However, the relationship between archaeological protection activities and the economy has so far only been done in the direction from the present to the past. Of course, there were some people who strongly said that they should direct the vector to the future as well, but they could not find a way to do so within the existing economic framework. Now, however, by bringing in a new economic added value to archaeological protection activities, "creation of a society coexisting with the Metaverse," I believe that it is a new means to help people living in the future.

At this point, you may hear people say, "It's impossible to combine historical heritage sites with a virtual space (Metaverse). However, I believe that this dream will become a reality in the near future. Because the framework of the economy itself will be based on the Metaverse . For example, the total market value of virtual currencies used for transactions within the Metaverse alone has now reached $ 3 trillion scale. In the past year alone (2021), El Salvador has recognized Bitcoin as a legal tender, and Sao Paulo, Brazil has announced that it will give preferential treatment to taxpayers who pay their taxes in virtual currency. Moreover, even banks, which were previously thought to be in conflict with virtual currencies, have become more supportive of virtual currencies. As you can see, Bitcoin (BTC), Ethereum (ETH) and other cryptocurrencies (virtual currencies) have expanded their market size over the past decade. There are even predictions that there will be several countries, especially in South America, that will make Bitcoin their legal tender. Next, I would like to talk about some aspects of the virtual space (Metaverse).

The Metaverse is…

It has been thought that the Metaverse only exists in the world of novels, movies and games. However, it has developed among young people now too. Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Meta Platforms (formerly Facebook), has announced that the company will invest about $10 billion in the Metaverse business in the fiscal year ending December 2021, and that he hopes to increase the amount in the future to create an ideal Metaverse society. The company plans to develop and evolve virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) technologies greatly to provide a place where people can set up offices in virtual spaces, hold business meetings, attend live performances by musicians, etc., and ambitiously expand related services. (Horizon Worlds, Horizon Workrooms, etc.) Of course, it's not just Meta Platforms (formerly Facebook), but many of the world's most advanced companies are moving into the Metaverse at an incredible rate, and many companies and countries are beginning to see the Metaverse as a business opportunity and enter the market that will be created by the Metaverse. It is said that the global market for the Metaverse will grow from about $47.69 billion in 2020 to $828.95 billion in 2028.

Also, with the advent of the NonFungible Token (NFT), it has become possible to guarantee unique digital items. This has made it possible to buy and sell digital items such as avatars, buildings, and works of art used in the virtual space, as well as to use and distribute digital content, which is expected to become more active in the future. As of September 2021, the market size of the NFT is approximately $14.1 billion. In addition, the digital economy has been playing a central role in the global economy, as evidenced by the fact that NASDAQ, a stock market for venture companies, mainly IT companies, has become a dominant player in the economic world as a stock exchange that influences the global economy. In this way, the Metaverse business will continue to develop, and the companies that contribute to the Metaverse will become mainstream and drive the global economy. The above is a rough outline of the Metaverse as it relates to business. Next, I would like to explain the relationship between the Metaverse and archaeological protection.

The Significance of the Existence of Historical Heritage in the Metaverse.

The Metaverse is seen as one of many new future spaces, and what is this virtual space built upon? In fact, it is not created by ignoring real space at all, but based on our current real space. I think it’s aim is to be richer than the real space physically and psychologically. Paradoxically, if we ignore the real space altogether and create a new Metaverse as a utopia, I think people who join this Metaverse for the first time will decide to participate based on freedom or inconvenience, loss or gain. This is natural, since they have the motivation to participate in a new Metaverse. That's why, once they feel inconvenienced, they go back to their home, the real space. They have no use for it anymore. My proposal for an ideal Metaverse would include not only the aforementioned sense of freedom and value, but also an element of attachment to the Metaverse itself, such as "love of home.”

I talk about Egypt as an example so that you can have a better image of my idea. In Egypt, there are many ancient civilizations lying underground. The cost to do archaeological surveys of these sites is enormous, and not only Egypt, but also many other countries that have provided financial support for the surveys. As a result, the country has been earning a lot of foreign currency as a tourist destination. But can we say that Egypt has become an economic powerhouse as a result? Egypt is a wonderful country, but economically, its real GDP is the 32nd largest in the world, and its real GDP per capita is 132nd.

However, if Egypt creates a global special economic zone as mentioned above, and many companies that have invested in the archaeological protection activities in Egypt benefit from the national economic incentives and cooperate in the creation of a Metaverse city, the situation may be changed completely. Incidentally, I would like to use the nickname "Meta-Egypt" for the Metaverse city set in Egypt.

The companies that receive economic incentives from the country will naturally start various businesses within Meta-Egypt. For example, a company that owns a piece of land in the Metaverse can build a virtual building and trade and sell crude oil, gold, etc. inside the building, while medical examinations are held in hospitals, lectures are held in universities, and reading is available in libraries. This is how 'real' life activities can be carried out in virtual space. Moreover, as business flourishes, more and more jobs will naturally be created. The employees will be able to access the system from the other side of the world. Your avatar will come to work in Meta-Egypt's virtual office and join your colleagues who live far away from you. Such a day will come to Meta-Egypt. As a result, business opportunities and networks that have been biased toward big cities will be equally available to people living in rural areas, which could create more opportunities. In addition, by starting a digital twin space (a technology that reproduces real-world buildings in a digital virtual space), it may become possible to own pyramids, install new sphinxes, and buy and sell them in the Metaverse that are impossible in the real world.

As for Egypt, the establishment of Meta-Egypt is expected to bring in corporate investment, huge tax revenue, and income from the NFT related to the historical heritage sites. The proceeds will not only reduce the cost of archaeological protection activities, but will also cover the cost of establishing a special economic zone. In addition, the public funds that have been allocated to the archaeological surveys will be able for allocation to the maintenance of infrastructure such as public facilities and greening activities. It will increase employment there as well.

In addition, tourism in the real world will become even more prevalent than it is now. This is because we can assume that more and more people will want to actually visit the places they are familiar with in Meta-Egypt.

In this way, by linking real society with the future Metaverse society using historical heritage sites as a symbol, the existence of comparative objects enhances the synergistic effect. At the same time, not only the Egyptian but also those who are interested in these sites in Egypt will feel more attached to Meta-Egypt than to the Metaverse cities that are based on unknown motifs. For them, Meta-Egypt is not a new space that is irrelevant to them, but "another space that exists in the sites they know. This is the essential element for the Metaverse business, and I think that it is a concept of urban development based on the digital economy.

As mentioned above, I have used Egypt as an example, but I believe that it is important to tie up archaeological protection with the Metaverse business in Eurasia, Africa, and other regions. This is because a historical heritage site can be a spiritual home and a symbol for the Metaverse. In other words, archaeological protection is to recreate the layer of the past and link it with a new layer. In this way, the past where the historical heritage sites existed, the real space and the virtual space are fused together.

To put it simply, archaeological protection activities bring economic benefits to developing countries, and business opportunities to companies. As a result people and the historical heritage sites are connected with a high value in the society, which is Utopia - Metaverse I believe.

What Our Company with The World's Most Advanced Technology Aims for.

Our company and associates have teamed up many times and undertaken archaeological surveys of various sites. We are proud to say that our excavation technology is one of the best in the world. We have used GIS for the excavation of archaeological sites for many years to visualize information, understand the relationship between information, integrate and analyze information, and create data. We have advanced technologies such as 3D topographic data measurement using artificial satellites and unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), 3D underwater topography (bottom of the water) data measurement using narrow multibeam bathymetry and aerial laser bathymetry. We can also provide and analyze optical images and radar (SAR) images using earth observation satellites. These latest technological surveys illuminate the environment of ancient people in an enveloping way. As a result of our painstaking and persevering surveys, we are proud to say that our archaeological survey technologies are among the best in the world, and we have achieved many results, including surveys of nationally designated archaeological sites. In the future, we would like to make more efforts to contribute to archaeological protection than ever before.

Last but not least, if there are any countries or companies that agree with our concept of archaeological protection activities, please contact us by e-mail. We are looking forward to hearing from you.