After deep digitization: Will Metaverse be fun?


Meta universe evolved from a literary concept in the dystopian science fiction novel “Avalanche” to a synonym for UGC (User generated content) games such as Roblox , and was finally written into the prospectus and research report, becoming a flash in the investment world. Jinguang’s new outlet. The vision of the meta universe reflects the escalating dependence of people on the shared virtual world since the new crown pandemic.

The meta universe points to a deeply digital future. This mysterious world, which once appeared only in cyber texts and sci-fi blockbusters, has to come true mysteriously under the dual blessing of technology and capital that ordinary people cannot fully understand. Maybe it is still at the beginning of 2D pixel games. Stage, but this imagination itself has endless meanings, and it has stoked people’s appetites.

What is the meta universe? People are actually far from reaching a consensus.

In addition to “creator” technology companies, technology finance is perhaps the industry that is most anxious to define Metaverse and its prospects. Combining the various “different opinions” in this “Meta Universe”, the meta universe is probably the future form after the iteration of the Internet. It is a perceptible virtual universe composed and connected by multiple persistent, shared three-dimensional virtual spaces.

Compared with the current online world, this holographic or full-real digital world has stronger interactivity, immersion and collaboration. People can not only socialize, play, and consume in the meta-universe, but also perform more extensive digital labor in an economic system ruled and guaranteed by blockchain technology, or accumulate and trade through a decentralized economic form Digital assets.

Although the definition and realization date of the meta-universe are still unclear, everyone will agree on the high technical threshold of the meta-universe. The book “Meta Universe” summarizes the 6 core technologies of Meta Universe, which are Blockchain, Interactivity, Game, Artificial Intelligence (AI), Network and Computing Technology. (Network) and Internet of Things (Internet of Things), and collectively refer to this “technology cluster” as “BIGANT” (“BIGANT”) with the initials.

This “big ant” has almost packed all the hot words of science and technology in the past few years. The Internet of Things with interconnected devices, decentralized blockchains, and AI that will replace simple labor have all suddenly become the focus of street talks. However, the public’s cognition of these technologies is basically still in concepts, and their specific technical principles and social significance are not particularly clear, and they are replaced by the next concept before they have been fully discussed.

Although “Meta Universe” endows the meta-universe with an epoch-making significance on par with the industrial revolution, it cannot but remain humble about the ambiguity and future uncertainty of the meta-universe: “Almost all predictions of the future cannot escape being beaten. The dilemma of “face”, let alone the extremely large and complex new world form of Metaverse.” These two light-speed listed books, on the one hand, integrate the opinions of people from all walks of life, including entrepreneurs, investors, and researchers. The universe is full of expectations. On the other hand, under the premise of summarizing the core technology and rules of the universe, it boldly predicted the ideals and dilemmas of the future development of the universe. Of course, the title of the book and the book itself have stated their position. The authors believe that the bright future of the meta-universe will surely illuminate the rough and dark places.

The promoters of the meta-universe believe that the meta-universe will be the inevitable choice of Generation Z. These future owners, born in the late 1990s to 2010s, are digital natives who have been born in the two worlds of virtual and reality, surrounded by rapidly updated media and equipment. For them, the world without the Internet is A science fiction world. In the eyes of the previous generation, the Z generation pursues self-realization, desires freshness, and is good at making and participating in various subcultures. They have no nostalgia for the old world and are not conservative with new technologies.

For most people outside of the Z generation, the meta universe may have been just a trivial matter, dispensable. However, the epidemic of the new crown has suddenly made digital technology one of the most important life-saving straws outside of medical methods. Initially, WeChat, which was only a social tool, was used to control the epidemic after it was implanted in the health treasure applet, and some elderly people had to begin to accept it. WeChat has become a must-have reality for going out. At the same time, people have realized the importance of the virtual world for purchasing necessities, communicating with work, resolving loneliness, and connecting with friends and relatives. People video chat with family and friends in WeChat videos or Tencent meetings, run races and weddings at the Animal Crossing Club, and rely on the somatosensory game “Fitness Ring Adventure” to exercise indoors.


For technology companies, the next step is ready to come out, that is, how to make the digital scene better meet these urgent needs.

Meta universe will make consumption more convenient. If the game “Pokémon GO” (Pokémon GO) allows you to “catch” a Jenny tortoise alive in the supermarket, then the upgraded version of augmented reality technology can make the billboard appear on the street without occupying a physical space. On both sides. With wearable devices, people can look forward to trying on shoes in a tight schedule, reaching out to feel the touch of different fabrics, or smelling the smell of sausages simulated by sensors in front of the lifelike shelves, and ordering through voice selection, liberating fatigue Eyes and thumbs. If one day the brain-computer interface becomes a reality, users don’t even need to use the five senses and limbs, but only need to think in the brain to complete an “ideal shopping”. At the same time, the “skins” and trophies won in the game can be assembled on one’s own avatar, and taken directly from the game platform to the social platform to “catch” with friends.

Driving consumption may be where the business sector is most interested in Metaverse, but the most attractive thing about Metaverse may be the transcendence it promises.

The meta of the meta universe means beyond. The desire to transcend self-confidence has been written in the motifs of various myths. In the meta-universe, users can surpass themselves and use digital avatars to get rid of labels related to appearance, race, identity and class, and further experience deformation and The pleasure of acting, AR and VR technology can make this transcendence more immersive embodiment and presence. “Each individual will not only have a single identity, but a complex identity. Life is also from finite life to infinite life.” After the death of the carbon-based life subject, the silicon-based digital life is even expected to live forever.

The game is the prototype of the meta-universe, but it will eventually surpass the original game. Roblox was originally a game platform widely popular among American children and teenagers. It is considered the closest and most promising meta-universe. It is the fascinating freedom and creativity of the game that attract people to participate in the initial co-construction of the meta-universe. According to Heizinha, a pioneer in game research and a Dutch historian, games in the pre-electronic age are actually the prototypes of all civilized systems including competitions, rituals, poetry, and laws. When these fields gradually form complex and rigorous rules, and are connected with external meanings and economic interests beyond the game, this prototype will “evolve” and “grow” into other mature systems, and the game will eventually disappear into the spirit of these systems Elements.

As a digital gaming venue, Meta Universe will also mature without exception. This maturity will depend on the fact that blockchain technology will create a commodity exchange and capital accumulation system with formal rules based on the initial experience, creation, and communication of the nomads in the meta universe, which may greatly attract and stimulate more Many non-player individuals and companies participate in the game to make money.

Tim Sweeney, the CEO of the company that developed the “meta universe game” and “Fortnite” (Fortnite), said that the ambition of the meta universe is not only in games, but in establishing a fair and free economic system that allows creators not only to create and spread A sense of accomplishment, while being able to get fair economic rewards for the results of these digital labor. Two Gen Z youths produced “MadCity” on Roblox, which attracted more than 200,000 players. They used the first pot of gold in exchange for the game to buy a new car and paid the university tuition.

Many new platforms, such as Decentraland , The Sandbox , Opensea, etc., are supported by blockchain technology, which require the use of cryptocurrencies and non-fungible tokens (NFT), allowing the construction, ownership and trading of new types of decentralized digital assets This asset may be a piece of virtual real estate, or it may be the avatar of a monkey cartoon. These assets have no practical use and may have some cultural significance, but they are more like a means of investment. Some people say that NFT is a high-tech version of a handwritten check forged by Marcel Duchamp to his dentist in 1919. It is essentially a financial tool for the artist’s brand.

After the meta-universe becomes an all-powerful system, it is destined to be unable to be a game like the book “Meta-Universe” said. After the meaning system in the real world is mapped to the meta universe, the true and illusory character will disappear. After people value the accumulation of digital assets, they will inevitably take the meta universe system more “seriously”.


The ultimate form of digital life established by Metaverse allows users to carry out daily activities under a thick technical package. This means that we are facing more technical information asymmetries. Cutting-edge technology may be able to represent the level of development of human intelligence, but perhaps technological progress cannot truly make society better.

Yes, it may be irrelevant. The great success of Metaverse on Roblox and Minecraft has attracted people, but it must be noted that the success of Metaverse relies heavily on the participation and creativity of users. Compared with the pleasure of easily obtaining information from short videos, it is still unknown whether the effort required to participate and create and the difficulty of creative confirmation of rights can be attractive to most Chinese netizens.

If VR glasses just make the virtual world in front of you look more real, then it is just an advanced version of the image medium. In addition to facilitating office, social interaction, and consumption, is there a qualitative extension of the depth and breadth of the meta-universe interaction itself? Can the vision of decentralization led by technological liberalism be realized? Can society achieve more inclusive peace and prosperity through co-creation and participation? The answers to these questions will determine whether the metaverse can truly exert the influence promoted in the book on the scale of human development.

But perhaps the most worrying thing is not that it is irrelevant, but whether the many companies participating in the meta universe can stick to not doing evil and not condoning evil. In the dystopian prophecy of “Avalanche”, although Metaverse is a virtual creation platform that can escape the monopoly violence of big companies in reality, it is also full of problems, including addiction, discrimination, harassment and violence. In fact, some negative phenomena have appeared on game platforms with greater freedom of players. The realism and complexity of the meta universe may make these problems difficult to control.

In “Meta Universe”, the vision of Meta Universe is an autonomous utopia with highly developed technology and economy. People can achieve spiritual freedom in a certain sense in the meta-universe, but these freedoms may not come without a price.

The immersion of the meta-universe first requires people to abandon their bodies. The dream device in “Inception” can make people gallop in dreams and change their destiny, but the drawbacks are also obvious. The sleeping body of the connected device will become extremely fragile and needs special protection. The so-called protection may be the “hacker” A jar full of nutrient solution in “Empire”. The 3D glasses and wearable devices in “Ready Player One” can highly simulate the real perception of the body, but the hero in the game may be ignorantly killed by the enemy in a dilapidated RV, and his body that has not been exercised for a long time may be realistic There is no resistance to physical attacks.

The meta universe is the ultimate ambition of human will determinism. You don’t need to be controlled by the flesh, don’t have to rely on nature, don’t have to withstand the test and precipitation of time, everything is easier. Countless physical things other than human will will also be left behind. It should be said that the meta-universe is completely the product of human thoughts and cannot tolerate the infinite chance in the natural world. Someone mentioned in the book that the digital natives of Generation Z are “far happier and more creative than the traditional generations of us who are still struggling in the real world.” This may not be known. Perhaps under the condition of deep virtual and inseparable meta-universe, the meaning classification between the virtual world and the physical world is about to be transferred. After digitization becomes the norm, maybe eat a fresh apple in real life and tease a lively puppy , Will become the most pleasant moment in daily life.

How to integrate science and technology into existing life in a reasonable and human-oriented manner is a complicated process that requires extra care. In addition to the Internet’s long-maligned problems such as familiarization and technological discrimination, the AI ​​technology that Metaverse relies on is still facing some thorny social problems. For example, the privacy problem of face recognition in public places, and the problem of rumors spreading on social media due to the inability of AI algorithms to be incorporated into the social communication mechanism.

No matter how pioneering or advanced the technology itself is, if it fails to play a positive role in society, it will face a great crisis, and it is necessary to combine multiple forces to discuss how to positively guide technology. For example, the “Institute Human Centered Artificial Intelligence” (“HAI”) established by Stanford University in March 2019 aims to promote AI research, education, and policy by convening a wide range of participation from different disciplines. And practice has a positive impact on human society.

Compared with AI technology alone, the future application of Metaverse will be a huge social project, and it will be necessary to integrate the perspectives of various fields and disciplines for positive guidance. Regardless of whether it is from the perspective of technology itself or social impact, it is no longer just the technical experts and venture capitalists who have the final say to solve the human side of the meta-universe technology.

If, as written in the book, the meta-universe has such “subversive” energy, changing traditional formats, lifestyles, etc., then it may instead be a terrifying behemoth, so huge that people would not have the right to say no to it. For a system that cannot be said no, whether it is infinite or non-zero-sum, it can no longer be called a “game”, and people cannot have pure fun in it. The reason is simple. Almost all game theorists agree that voluntary and free participation or withdrawal is one of the indispensable conditions for the game. Once forced to participate, the metaverse will not be “fun”.

We expect that the future of meta-universe or science and technology with meta-universe nature will not be devouring. It can not only create more choices for people in the universe, but also reserve some right to choose outside the universe for people.

The meta universe will not be built suddenly. It will slowly penetrate into our lives over time. Just like the Internet, let’s not mention any “super civilizations”. The meta universe has long roads and obstacles.

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