Cao Yuan, Hainan Provincial Blockchain Association: The greatest significance of Metaverse is that the paradigm of human beings towards the objective world may change

Even though the sector index has experienced a sharp decline on Thursday, the rise in meta-universe-related concept stocks in the past month is still very impressive.

According to Datayes! data, there are currently 58 meta-universe concept stocks in the market. Since the Facebook renamed triggering the market on October 28, the meta-universe index has risen by as much as 44%; as of the close of November 25, there are as many as 37 concept stocks in the sector. The increase is more than 20%. Among them, Chinese Online (300364.SZ) and Jiachuang Video (300264.SZ) both recorded an increase of more than 1 times and ranked the top two; in addition, Hengxin Dongfang (300081.SZ) and Zhongqingbao (300052.SZ) , Dafu Technology (300134.SZ), United Optoelectronics (300691.SZ), Tianxia Show (600556.SH) and other 8 concept stocks rose more than 50%.

Regarding the sudden rise of the concept of the meta universe, there are different voices in the market: some people chanted that the first year of the meta universe is coming, some people think that the meta universe is too imaginary and pure bubble hype, and some people point out that the meta universe is a “spiritual poison”. The decline of mankind.

So, at the present moment, how should we rationally view the rise of this new technology of the meta universe? Is 2021 really the first year of Yuan Universe? Or is Metaverse just a passer-by in 2021? As for the meta universe concept stocks, should investors deploy or leave the market?

With the above series of questions, a reporter from Economic Observer Network conducted an online interview with Mr. Cao Yuan, the vice chairman of the Hainan Blockchain Association and the co-founder and director of Probe Group on November 25. Mr. Cao Yuan has many years of research experience and experience in the field of metaverse. Perhaps his answer can reveal the mystery of metaverse for everyone.

1. The meta-universe controversy: the real meta-universe will not cause involution, but can help mankind enter the universe

Reporter: Hello, Mr. Cao, there are more and more controversies about the meta universe. For example, science fiction writer Liu Cixin believes that the meta universe is a “spiritual poison”, and the founder of 360 Group Zhou Hongyi also said that the Facebook-style meta universe represents the decline of mankind; What do you think about this?

Cao Yuan: I think the prerequisite for the debate on the meta-universe is to first clarify what is the meta-universe; only within a common conceptual category can further discussion be carried out.

It should be said that at present, there is no clear concept of the meta universe, or that the concept of the meta universe is still being formed.

The term Metaverse comes from “Avalanche” by Neil Stephenson, a science fiction writer published in 1992, but “Avalanche” does not define the concept of a metaverse; Roblox, the so-called first element of the metaverse, gives a metaverse. The universe has 8 key characteristics, namely Identity, Friends, Immersiveness, LowFriction, Variety, Anywhere, Economy, Civilization . Note that this is still just a feature, not a concept. In addition, Roblox, who was born in a game, is naturally from the perspective of the game.

But in fact, Roblox was not the first to study Metaverse. As early as 2018, Meta (formerly Facebook) described Metaverse in internal emails. The email mentioned: “We believe that the correct way to break consumers’ indifference to VR is to deliver what they expect and want from this medium: METAVERSE.” But Meta also describes the meta-universe from a social perspective. Zuckerberg emphasized that the meta-universe is not just a game. “We believe it is the successor of the mobile Internet. You can use all different devices and from different levels of fidelity. Visit Metaverse.” In his opinion, this will be a sustainable, real-time, and no access restriction (multi-terminal) environment. “Imagine the Metaverse as a physical Internet, where you not only watch the content, but you are in it.”

Reporter: According to Zuckerberg’s description, the future meta-universe is actually a physical Internet, which is more embodied in social networking and games, and there are no access restrictions. This is indeed easy for the younger generation to indulge in it.

Cao Yuan: Yes. If we stop here and look back at Liu Cixin’s view that Metaverse is a “spiritual poison”, then it is consistent with Liu Cixin’s consistent value judgment. Liu Cixin once said that there are two possibilities for the future world of mankind: one is an introverted future, in which mankind is addicted to the virtual world constructed by the network, and finally uploads his consciousness to the network and lives completely in the virtual world; the other is In an extroverted future, human beings fly out of the cradle of the earth, open up new living spaces in space, and build many new civilized worlds. I prefer the latter future. Because Liu Cixin hopes that mankind will realize space migration towards the development of the universe.

Compared to Roblox and Meta, Microsoft, which is more “old”, is closer to traditional companies, and its understanding of the meta universe is not limited to games and social interactions, but applications. Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella (SatyaNadella) said that Microsoft intends to use a series of new applications that integrate virtual environments to allow users to live, work and play in an interconnected virtual world, combining the digital world with the physical world. Together.

In fact, both Roblox and Meta have touched the difference between the meta universe and the virtual world-it is connected to the physical world (Meta clearly says that the meta universe is a combination of the physical world and the virtual world). However, the genes of these two companies make them more willing to bring people and events from the physical world to the digital world, rather than bringing the events of the digital world back to the physical world. Microsoft’s understanding of the meta universe believes that the two are two-way and interactive.

But it is precisely whoever understands the meta-universe that includes the physical world and the digital world, which bursts out huge energy. Some manufacturing owners I contacted often said, “The digital transformation we are doing is also a meta-universe.” At the main forum of the World Digital Economy Conference 2021, Fan Ji’an, chief big data scientist of China Unicom, introduced that as early as 2013, in the Industry 4.0 proposed by the Germans, the virtual and real fusion simulation technology, namely Cyber ​​Physical System (CPS), was considered It is the core of intelligent manufacturing. The industrial field will also achieve a deep integration with the “meta universe”. Through the organic integration of CPS (cyber-physical systems), digital twins, and 5G-induced AR, VR, AI computer vision, low-latency remote control and other applications in accordance with the concept of “meta universe”, an “industrial meta universe” is constructed.

So “everything can be meta-universe”. Although before that, the concepts of “blind box”, “NFT”, and “blockchain” have been substituted for the meta-universe to form a series of all things; but objectively, the meta-universe is the most inclusive and can do everything. Either way. It not only unifies all digital technologies, but also pulls in the physical world (digitalization of the physical world forms a digital twin). From the perspective of traditional Chinese philosophy, Wuji produces Tai Chi, Tai Chi produces two Yis, and Liang Yi produces four images. The so-called Tai Chi means that our current world has given birth to the physical world (digital twin) and the digital world. Only when the yin and yang intersect can the world give birth to everything in the world-the meta universe.

Reporter: From this point of view, the reason why Liu Cixin are concerned is because they mistakenly regarded Zuckerberg’s meta-universe vision as the entire meta-universe, and failed to figure out the true meaning of “all things can be meta-universe”?

Cao Yuan: That’s almost what it meant. At this time, when we look back at the statements of Liu Cixin and Zhou Hongyi, we can understand their worries. They narrowly defined the metaverse as a “virtual world”, and a pure virtual world will inevitably lead to the decline of mankind. Explained from the viewpoint of physics, according to the second law of thermodynamics, there will never be a dissipative structure in an isolated system, and the entropy of the system will continue to increase and reach a maximum value, making the system reach the most disordered equilibrium state. Therefore, if the meta-universe is just a virtual world, then the regional entropy will be the largest, which will cause the “involution” that Liu Cixin is worried about.

The meta-universe is an open system that is open to the entire physical universe. The energy of the physical universe is continuously injected into the meta-universe in the form of information, helping the meta-universe to become a dissipative system. From the perspective of the scene, the meta-universe also helps mankind achieve the goal of marching into the universe-satisfying the ideas of Liu Cixin and Zhou Hongyi. For example, space exploration needs to recruit a group of capable people. In Hollywood movies, the commonly used bridge is a big boss. According to the FBI’s intelligence, they interviewed one by one, threatening to lure them to join, and finally they were born and died to complete the mission. However, in Metaverse, only an agreement is required to clarify the recruitment requirements, based on the identity system of Metaverse, screening and registration; rewards based on contracted economic mechanism; based on MR equipment and low-latency network to remotely control the robots performing tasks. To complete the task with less cost.

In short, although it is not suitable to give a definition to the metaverse, from the perspective of mainstream participants’ perception of the metaverse, the combination of the digital world and the physical world is regarded as the metaverse, and the pure virtual world is described to the Matrix. That way, it’s not the meta universe.

The realization of remote and open collaboration through the open network of Metaverse is only the application demonstrated by Metaverse. I personally believe that the greatest significance of the meta-universe is that the paradigm of mankind’s treatment of the objective world may change.

2. Behind the rise of Metaverse: NFT technology burned a big fire

Reporter: In fact, many investors are still quite vague about the meta-universe track that will suddenly appear in 2021, and they will simply think that it is purely the enthusiasm of the listing of Roblox, the first stock of the meta-universe.

Cao Yuan: Actually, Metaverse is just a term or concept. If Roblox does not include Metaverse in the prospectus, perhaps other institutions will introduce another name. But no matter what it is called, its connotation will tend to be the same.

Of course, the meta-universe was not detonated by Roblox’s own power, but was an inevitable product of technological development. It will appear at this point in technology development.

Reporter: So, what kind of technology ignited this meta-universe fire?

Cao Yuan: None of the technologies for observing Metaverse have appeared this year. VR\AR, 5G, big data, cloud computing, blockchain, artificial intelligence, Internet of Things…

So what kind of technology will make Metaverse the first year in 2021? To a large extent, it is because of the “NFT” (Non-Fungible Token) based on the blockchain-the last flame of the rise of the meta-universe concept. NFT has been hot since 2020 and reached new heights in 2021. It allows Metaverse to see a solution to the problem of “economic mechanism”.

NFT is not a simple “digital collection”. Its popularity proves that digital assets can be traded and circulated in the digital world “on their own”. Pay attention to this “self”. In the past, because the cost of data replication was negligible, it was difficult to trade digital assets in the digital world. Our country has built many big data transaction centers, and data transactions still require a third party to confirm rights. But NFT transactions are not required.

Secondly, the popularity of NFT also allows people to see how the digital world can collaborate. The results of people’s labor in the digital world can be encapsulated by NFT, and a group of people from all over the world can create around a project, and can distinguish rights, responsibilities, and benefits.

Thus, the economic mechanism of the digital world was born. With an economic mechanism, the metaverse has the grasp of imagination, and people can have economic returns and economic consumption for their production and life in the metaverse, forming a self-operating system. In fact, in the eyes of many people, Ethereum, which is most commonly used by NFTs, is the closest to the meta-universe.

Technological improvement is the hot side of Meta Universe in 2021. On the other hand, the initial form of digitalization-the ceiling of informatization will soon be seen, and mainstream Internet products are facing a slowdown in user growth. In China’s relatively closed and mature market, it is particularly obvious that Internet giants such as Tencent, Baidu, and Alibaba have all experienced a decline in their net profit growth in the third quarter, which is the first to enter the era of internal scrolling. So when the concept of the meta universe came out, the followers all had a new place for gold mining.

Reporter: It’s no wonder that Metaverse “climbed up and rallied in response.” Especially the Internet giants were the most active. It turned out to be looking for new growth points. But when I look back, I will ask again: Why is there a meta-universe? Isn’t it OK? Is it the only way for human civilization?

Cao Yuan: The emergence of the meta-universe and its popularity may have been doomed at the moment when the 21-year-old Shannon completed a paper at MIT in 1937, 84 years ago. In the 1930s, the development of calculators entered a dead end. At that time, the calculation principle was to use a difference engine to simulate calculations, such as simple addition instead of squaring. But Shannon’s paper proved that the switch of a digital device can be represented by two symbols, true and false. Shannon’s “A Mathematical Theory of Communication” published in 1948 is even more of his own, bringing human processing of information into the two numerical categories of 0 and 1. Almost all information can be expressed with 0 and 1.

With the development of software and hardware, computing costs continue to decrease. Humans are migrating more and more information from the physical world to the digital world, looking for better solutions in the digital world-this is the lowest energy invented by mankind to process the most information. Method. Mapping a large amount of physical world information to the digital world is called a digital twin. In this process, humans eliminated a large number of analog signal equipment, such as vinyl records, tapes, analog signal televisions, analog signal phones, etc.

At the same time, humans are also exploring in the purely digital world. From video games to online games, from virtual communities to Bitcoin, humans build the rules of the game based on algorithms in the digital world. This is the virtual world.

However, the intersection of the two worlds in the past was limited. The physical information that mapped the past continued to formulate algorithms along the game rules of the physical world, and the digital world continued to develop its own algorithm rules. The intersection of technology first appeared between them-distributed computing. The demand for distributed digital twins is that there are more and more information collection nodes from the physical world, and data storage is more and more distributed; the demand for distributed computing in the virtual world comes from the need for more nodes to recognize the algorithms created by the virtual world. This provides a hardware and software environment for the generation of blockchain.

The rule makers of the physical world disdain the rules of the virtual world at first, because the algorithms of the virtual world consume energy. In fact, it has been true for a long time. The virtual world does not create much value to the physical world. It consumes the computing power produced by the physical world. The computing power is behind the scarce energy, which is not good for the real economy. Bitcoin broke this perception for the first time, followed by DEFI, followed by NFT. NFT brings many resources of the physical world to the digital world, the so-called breaking the circle.

From the perspective of technological development, the emergence of the meta-universe is inevitable. The physical world does not allow the virtual world to occupy too many resources; the virtual world must also find a way to create value for the physical world to demonstrate the legitimacy of existence.

When NFT carries a set of brand-new algorithm rules behind it, and drives a large number of physical resources involved, the meta-universe was born.

3. Prospects of Metaverse: The development of Metaverse at home and abroad may take different paths. The consensus of enterprises and capital will make Metaverse repeatedly hype

Reporter: The recent booming Meta Universe market suffered a beheading on Thursday. The sector index fell 4%, and as many as 8 stocks in the sector fell more than 8%, including the previous star varieties such as Tianxiaxiu and Zhongqingbao. And Jiachuang Video, etc. Some people think that the application of meta universe is still very far away, and it is purely a bubble hype now, while some people think it is a normal callback, which can be arranged on dips. What do you think of this? Also, will 2021 really be the first year of the development of Metaverse?

Cao Yuan: Undoubtedly, there is a huge bubble in the meta-universe hype at this stage, especially the current batch of so-called meta-universe concept stocks and so-called meta-universe products, it is actually difficult to be recognized by the meta-universe. Although the Rainbow Universe of China World Show is more in line with the characteristics of the meta universe than other domestic meta universe products, it still has great risks, especially path risks.

In a category where there is no clear concept, in a system where everything can be meta-universe, there is a great risk of whoever is true and who is false, who succeeds and who fails. Moreover, historical experience shows that the first batch are often martyrs. Even if many giants invest a lot of resources, they may not be able to play well in the meta universe.

Because the meta universe is a paradigm change. Science fiction may be able to foresee technology, but it is difficult to predict the change of social paradigm. Jules Verne can foresee the landing of human beings on the moon, but cannot foresee that society will land on the moon under the conditions of the Cold War. Can not foresee the ideology and way of life at that time. In the last major adjustment of the human paradigm, the ocean and industrial empires represented by Britain rose; the mainland and agricultural civilization represented by China declined. Economically, a series of new production relations have emerged, such as the corporate system and the global trading system.

At present, we are still looking at the development of Metaverse along some technological routes.

First of all, Metaverse should be an open system, not created by a company. In 2018, Oculus executive Jason Rubin wrote a 50-page email with the subject “Meta Universe” and sent it to Facebook’s board of directors. Now, Rubin is the vice president of Meta universe content, and some points in the letter are worthy of everyone’s attention. The letter suggested that Facebook build the meta universe independently. “We should not build Metaverse with plans to help other platforms accumulate and retain consumers; one thing has always been clear: investing in and building products that consumers want is the key to success.”

But in 2021, Rubin’s view changed, he believes that Facebook cannot build the metaverse alone, but needs to cooperate with developers, creators and experts. Meta Universe will not be a company that dominates the world, nor can it have only one technology. In the construction of the metaverse, different institutions will enter the market, using different technologies, and be co-founded by multiple cultures, businesses, technologies, and multiple units.

In fact, from a technical point of view, the current technology represented by the Internet has entered a dead end, and major Internet manufacturers have formed a data chimney. From the perspective of the effectiveness of data use, mutual interconnection can play its greater value.

There may be more options for interconnection, such as top-down, such as determining data ownership based on administrative legislation, and bottom-up, using algorithms to define data ownership.

Second, the hardware is not the core, and the algorithm is more important. The technological era facing the meta-universe is a contradictory point in time. On the one hand, the data in the world today doubles every three years, which means that the amount of new data added every three years will exceed the total amount of historical data; on the other hand, Moore’s Law is no longer valid and people can no longer pass it. Increasing computing power and violent calculations to process the multiplied data, so that the accumulation of computing power chips can only cause a substantial increase in costs. Then the optimization of the algorithm is more important.

The optimization of the algorithm is not only the efficiency of combing the data, but also the definition of the regular algorithm of the meta-universe. There are a lot of business opportunities in this, even more than the hardware market. The DEFI protocol running on the blockchain has revealed this. Algorithm start-up companies or institutions will have a relatively large business space.

Finally, in the algorithm, cryptography is the jewel in the palm. On November 2, 2021, affected by new regulatory policies and users, Meta’s Facebook will shut down its facial recognition system and delete the data of more than 1 billion users. ——This seems unreasonable in the eyes of many Chinese companies. However, if Facebook uses good encryption technology from the beginning to protect user privacy, not only can hackers not steal it, but also cannot use it without authorization, then these data may bring more value to society. Facebook, including most domestic Internet companies, uses databases to store data, treats users’ data as private property, and is often stolen. However, Metaverse urgently needs an encrypted data storage method, starting from the first step to log in to Metaverse.

The so-called first year of the meta-universe in 2021 is actually the chaotic period. Pangu’s axe has not split the world, the concept is not clear, the elements are not generated, and the rules are still evolving, but it does not hinder the imagination and creation of human beings.

The meta universe will gradually grow in the hype of the bubble. Because most of the technologies that support the meta-universe have already appeared, but most of them have not matured. The integration of these technologies is a complex and long process. Considering the characteristics of the meta-universe, the integration of the virtual world and the physical world cannot be achieved overnight, especially the rules of the physical world are not so easy to compromise.

In addition, the development of the Chinese and foreign meta-universes may also take different paths, which means that there will be different opportunities and risks. In short, everything is still early, but the concept of Metaverse has already come out. The consensus of enterprises and capital will make Metaverse’s hype wave after wave; and it is accompanied by a spiral rising from bubble bursting to blowing to piercing.

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