In metaverse, someone has begun harvesting

Is theology the end of science?

I remember watching a video about Yang Zhenning. The greatest physicist in the world said that when he was young, he didn’t believe that there was a creator in the universe. But now, he thinks so. This creator may not be like the imaginary God or God of mankind, but an efficient arrangement or the existence of a certain force, so that all galaxies, all matter, and even every life in the whole universe operate in an orderly manner according to the established orbit.

When metaverse appears, although it is only used in some virtual game fields, does this mean that one day in the future, mankind has become a Creator with blurred boundaries between the virtual and the real world?


Metaverse, real and illusory world

In 1992, American science fiction master Neil Stephenson described metaverse in his novel avalanche, “put on headphones and eyeglasses, find the connection terminal, and you can enter the virtual space simulated by computer and parallel to the real world in the way of virtual separation.”

“Metaverse” is a virtual world parallel to the real world and always online. In this world, except that eating and sleeping need to be completed in reality, the rest can be realized in the virtual world.

Zuckerberg is probably the most enthusiastic celebrity in the world. On October 28, Facebook (Facebook) announced that the name of the new company was meta (yuan).

Zuckerberg believes that metaverse is the future of the Internet and plans to hire 10000 Europeans to develop it. He plans to put real people on the Internet. He said in the speech video: “the platform and media in the next stage will make people feel more immersive. You will not only watch from the side, but be in the ‘physical Internet’. This is’ metaverse ‘.”

“When I send my children’s videos to my parents, they will feel like they are with us, not just through a small screen; when you play games with your friends, you will feel like living in the same world with them, not facing the computer alone.”

As the pioneer and experimental field of metaverse, the game industry is widely regarded as the best breakthrough of metaverse and the application scenario that is most likely to take the lead in realizing the implementation of the concept of “metaverse”. The market value of roblox, the game development platform known as “the first stock of metaverse”, exceeded US $40 billion on the first day of listing on Nasdaq, up 10 times compared with the valuation of the year before listing.

However, the famous science fiction writer Liu Cixin holds a critical attitude towards metaverse.

Liu Cixin said, “the future of mankind is either to move towards interstellar civilization or to indulge in the virtual world of VR all the year round. If mankind has realized a highly realistic VR world before moving towards space civilization, it will be a disaster.” metaverse is a highly tempting and illusory “spiritual opium”, and mankind will be immersed in the virtual world and remain complacent.

Liu Cixin once proposed that the spaceship faction and the metaverse faction are in binary opposition; In his recent speech, Liu Cixin expressed this view more firmly. “There are two ways in front of mankind: one is outward, leading to the sea of stars; the other is inward, leading to virtual reality.” the former is the “airship school”, which aims to explore the vast universe, and the other is the “metaverse school”.

As a science fiction writer, Liu Cixin imagines the ultimate future of the world. He believes that there are two ways for human beings. The author’s understanding is as follows:

First, the so-called spaceship school. One day in the future, if the earth can no longer meet human survival, or human technology has reached the level of space travel, then human beings must explore a broader universe through spacecraft.

Second, human beings do not have to explore the current world. Human beings can build a virtual world by themselves and implant all human consciousness into the virtual world. The virtual world is also infinitely vast and can be mastered and manipulated by human beings.

Liu’s view reminds me of another hypothesis: the brain in the VAT. The ultimate is to answer, is the world we are in real or designed?

“Brain in a VAT” is an assumption elaborated by Hillary Putnam in his book reason, truth and history in 1981.

“A person (you can assume yourself) has been operated on by an evil scientist, and his brain has been cut off from his body and put into a tank containing nutrient solution to maintain the survival of the brain. The nerve endings of the brain are connected to the computer, which transmits information to the brain according to the program, so that he can maintain the illusion that everything is completely normal.

For the brain in the VAT that is linked and input, it seems that people, objects and the sky still exist, and their own movements and body feelings can be input. This brain can also be input or intercepted memory (intercepting the memory of brain surgery, and then inputting various environments and daily life that he may experience) “He can even be coded and ‘feel’ that he is reading an interesting and absurd text here.”

The most basic question about this hypothesis is: “how can you guarantee that you are not in this dilemma?” the basis of the experiment is that everything people experience must eventually be transformed into nerve signals in the brain. In other words, everything that everyone can perceive and recognize is a neural signal of the brain.


True draught or foam?

Under the concept of metaverse, “smart people” have begun to harvest.

On November 20, the A-share metaverse concept plate had a net sale of 3.653 billion yuan. Earlier, shareholders and executives of metaverse concept stocks, including zhongqingbao (300052. SZ) and Tom Cat (300459. SZ), all showed signs of cash out.

According to the statistics of the economic information daily, since September, 14 of the 77 stocks in the metaverse concept sector have released the reduction plan of senior executives or actual controllers, and the maximum number of shares to be reduced is 357 million. So far, one reduction has been completed and 13 are still in progress.

Because roblox, a game platform, provides a set of game making software that allows players to develop their own games and sell their works with tokens, it declares in the prospectus that “we are not a game company, we are a metaverse company.” therefore, roblox’s market value has reached 45 billion US dollars – surpassing Xiaopeng car, which is in another tuyere.

Recently, after getting the app, a course of “cutting edge · metaverse 6 Lectures” with a price of 29.9 yuan has attracted more than 40000 people to buy. Regardless of discounts, the revenue of the online course has exceeded 1.2 million yuan.

Metaverse, metaverse pass and other books sold more than 1000 in Dangdang every month, ranked 11th in Jingdong good book trend list, and received more than 10000 comments. The authors of these two books, Yi Huanhuan and Xing Jie, also served as the main lecturers in the open series of metaverse lesson 1.

Metaverse is also hot on video websites. In the knowledge area of station B, many video creators have launched metaverse related popular science videos, among which the highest viewing volume of the video is close to 300000.

On November 25, the relevant person in charge of Xiaomi said that Xiaomi has paid attention to the relevant opportunities around metaverse, has made a lot of relevant technical reserves, and has made relevant investment and preparations in mobile phones, videos, displays and so on.

In an interview with the media, Shenyang, Professor of the school of journalism of Tsinghua University and executive director of the new media research center, said:

Under the puff of capital, irrational bubbles of public opinion echo irrational stock market shocks. The conceptual layout of Metaverse is still focused on XR and game social networking. Technology ecology and content ecology are not yet mature, and the entrance of the scene is also widening. There is still a long “de bubble” process between the ideal vision and the reality development.

“Creating new concepts, hyping new outlets and attracting new investments to further seek high returns has become an inertial operation of capital in pursuit of profits. From raising share prices to reducing suspicion, from concept hype to capital manipulation, from market pursuit to regulatory intervention, metaverse in its embryonic stage still has many uncertainties, and the industry and market urgently need to return to rationality.”

Some Internet people believe that so far, metaverse game is just a new way of entertainment, which is essentially no different from singing and watching movies.

The ideal metaverse scene is still far away from the present. Through the vision of the screen or glasses, you can buy a land and build a house in the virtual world game, which has appeared in the simulated business game 20 years ago. If we want to really realize the high integration of the real world and the virtual world, we still need to cross many technological gaps, such as the independent consciousness of characters in the virtual world (AI technology), the real cognition and touch of human consciousness to the virtual world, and so on.

At present, the crazy pursuit and promotion of metaverse by capital is to make more ordinary people fall into blind worship and fashion, and even become a talking capital. Big capital is smart, but retail investors often don’t know the truth. It may finally be found that the so-called metaverse just sits in a meeting with colleagues in different places with glasses on, or plays an immersive game with a toy gun. Such a metaverse consumption scenario is the upper limit that can be reached by current technology.


What can metaverse do in the visible future?

At present, the manifestations of metaverse mainly focus on the two levels of virtual visualization and enhanced visualization brought by VR and AR, and these two technologies are more applied to online games.

So, what will metaverse bring in the near future, and will it cause another change or even subversion in the current business world?

In October, at Alibaba’s 2021 annual cloud habitat conference in Hangzhou, Tan Ping, head of XR Laboratory of Dharma Institute, delivered a speech around metaverse. Tan Ping believes that metaverse is the whole Internet on VR / AR glasses. Tan Ping’s view may be a more realistic and grounded explanation of metaverse in the short term.

From this perspective, metaverse will include new social networking, e-commerce, education, games and even payment methods in the future. Today, people are familiar with the application of the Internet, which can be presented in a three-dimensional and more immersive way on metaverse.

In the 1990s, PC was the mainstream computing platform. Later, mobile phones rose and gradually replaced PC. In the future, VR / AR glasses may become the next generation computing platform.

With the migration of computing platform, the application of Internet also iterates. In the VR / AR era, it is likely that everyone will have a virtual avatar. Through the virtual avatar, you can communicate face to face in the virtual world. Under such a setting, it is likely that social networking, e-commerce and many applications will change.

When the three-dimensional presentation is very mature, people will be immersed in a virtual information world, there will be a virtual task to communicate with us face to face, and there will be a virtual shelf with a variety of commodities on it.

Tan Ping believes that display and interaction are the bottom of all applications. When the display and interaction have such significant changes, the upper application will have a great revolution. Based on these analyses, “the universe is the grey rhinoceros of our time”.

This year, in the Internet world, some new gadgets using the combination of metaverse (virtual imaging) and blockchain were born, which are called “digital collections”.

Digital collections are irreplaceable tokens (NFT), which are uniquely identified by blockchain technology. Each digital collection has a unique serial number. The serial number corresponding to these works, works of art or commodities can be used as a proof of the owner’s rights. Digital collections are similar to virtual coins, but the difference is that digital collections are visual and can even be combined with your virtual characters or interact with the owner.

In short, some enterprises have issued some virtual goods, which are tangible (virtual images). It uses blockchain technology and has a unique ID number, which can be exclusive to someone (can not be stolen by others).

In July this year, Coca Cola and TAFI, a digital wearable device design platform, jointly launched the NFT digital collection. This group of works called Coca Cola friendship box contains four rare single version dynamic NFTs and a hidden surprise.

Through this digital collection released by Coca Cola, we can probably feel how the business world is grafted with metaverse’s design:

Coca Cola’s digital collection includes a metallic red bubble jacket inspired by Coca Cola’s old delivery uniform, which can be worn in decentraland (a platform of virtual world). A friendship card, modeled on the Coca Cola game card of the 1940s; A sound touch device, including Coca Cola bottle opening business, the sound of drinks pouring on ice, the sound of bubbles, etc; There is also a vintage refrigerator, which is redesigned and launched on metaverse after imitating the old vending machine in 1956. The last hidden egg was revealed after winning the auction and opening the Coca Cola friendship booty box.

Figure: Coca Cola friendship box collection of Coca Cola digital collection

In May, gucci released their first digital virtual sneaker: Gucci virtual 25. This pair of shoes cannot be resold and can only be worn online. After buying, you can “wear” it in the virtual world, take photos or record small videos, and then share them.

On November 23, CCTV Animation and the third-party payment platform released two 3D digital collections, namely the classic images of Guoman – Xiaolongnv and Nezha. The two products were sold out soon after opening.

Because these digital collections are unique, historical commemorative (issued at a specific time) and visual, whether they have value in the future, whether they can be auctioned or donated, inherited and collected, and so on, all have unlimited imagination possibilities.


Opened multidimensional space-time?

With the high development of science and technology, the final question will return to the ultimate question of philosophy or theology: what is the origin of the world?

Liu Cixin first put forward the concept of “dimension reduction strike” in three bodies. It refers to an attack method that aliens use “two-way foil” to reduce the solar system from three-dimensional space to two-dimensional space. Later, the competition applied to the business world refers to changing the other party’s environment so that it can not adapt, so as to highlight its own advantages, which belongs to a strategic means.

As we all know, the human world is in three-dimensional space, so what is the four-dimensional space? Scientists believe that in the three-dimensional world, time is linear and can only move forward, not backward or extend. If time can be changed at will, does it mean entering a higher dimensional world?

One day in the future, when the boundary between the virtual world and the real world becomes more and more blurred, it is almost possible for human beings to enter a “four-dimensional world” in metaverse. In this world, time can be reset, real and virtual people enter this world, the past can be rewritten, the future can be designed, and the fate of characters can be controlled.

The author believes that whether Facebook or Xiaomi, the current development of metaverse’s “peripheral industries” focuses more on the application of wearable devices to virtual scenes and virtual imaging. Metaverse concept is a big fire, mainly because after the ebb of new concepts such as blockchain and virtual currency, the Internet world needs “new topics”, business needs new application scenarios, capital needs new concepts, and the public needs new excitement.

Capital and technology are both sensitive, but when capital is in front of science, bubbles and deception will often be formed.