New Human Dynamics in the Emerging Metaverse: Towards a Quantum Phygital Approach by Integrating Space and Place (Vision Paper)

Authors Daniel Sui , Shih-Lung Shaw

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Daniel Sui
  • Department of Geography, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, VA, USA
Shih-Lung Shaw
  • Department of Geography, University of Tennessee, Knoxville, TN, USA


Comments on an earlier draft by Dr. Laurel Miner and research assistance by Dr. Scarlett Jin are gratefully acknowledged. Constructive comments from five anonymous reviewers have also significantly clarified our thinking about the critical issues discussed in our paper. We are solely responsible for any remaining errors.

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Daniel Sui and Shih-Lung Shaw. New Human Dynamics in the Emerging Metaverse: Towards a Quantum Phygital Approach by Integrating Space and Place (Vision Paper). In 15th International Conference on Spatial Information Theory (COSIT 2022). Leibniz International Proceedings in Informatics (LIPIcs), Volume 240, pp. 11:1-11:13, Schloss Dagstuhl – Leibniz-Zentrum für Informatik (2022)


With the convergence of mirror worlds, virtual worlds, lifelogging, and augmented/virtual reality, the emerging metaverse is rapidly becoming a major platform where humans work, shop, entertain themselves, and socialize with others. Human dynamics, which refers to all forms of human activities and interactions, will undergo profound transformations in the coming years with the advent of the metaverse. The new human dynamics will be neither physical nor digital but a seamless integration of both - phygital. The goal of this vision paper is to develop a phygital approach to support human dynamics research in the spirit of GIScience as a convergence. Built on our earlier work in human dynamics research, we argue that the current discussions on human dynamics are conceptually constrained by their physical and digital silos. The new phygital approach we are envisioning aims to transcend the simplistic dichotomy by integrating both space and place perspectives. This paper also draws on basic concepts in quantum physics and earlier discussions on their potential applications in geography and GIScience to espouse a quantum turn in exploring the human dynamics in the emerging metaverse. It explores how concepts, methods, and understandings from quantum physics and emerging quantum computing and communication technologies can be translated into addressing fundamental geographical analyses for this phygital world.

Subject Classification

ACM Subject Classification
  • Theory of computation → Quantum information theory
  • Human-centered computing
  • Computing methodologies
  • metaverse
  • human dynamics
  • phygital
  • space-place
  • quantum
  • GIScience theory


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