Dialogue with Stephenson, the Father of the Metaverse: Human beings have entered the DAO era, and all this cannot be avoided

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Dialogue with Stephenson, the Father of the Metaverse: Human beings have entered the DAO era, and all this cannot be avoided

In mid-November, for the first time, Jinghe recorded a conversation between Neil Stevenson, the father of the metaverse, and Lex Friedman, a computer scientist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. For details, you can poke: Dialogue with “Avalanche” author Stephenson: Technology is good and human is evil, and it is difficult to colonize Mars (click the blue word to read the full text). They discussed the nature of technology, Stevenson’s former boss Jeff Bezos and Musk. Regarding the exploration of the universe, they remain cautiously optimistic. Today, we enter the second chapter of the dialogue to discuss augmented reality, virtual reality and artificial intelligence. Neil Stephenson worked for Magic Leap as the chief scientist for five years. He confessed that he is an AR believer, and he is more interested in the virtual world superimposed on the physical world. He believes that humans will not be addicted to the virtual world created by VR for a long time. Facing the future, is there a need for a new economic system? Regarding this issue, Stephenson believes that we have now half-footed into the new economic system, that is, a system built on the basis of blockchain. He believes that this trend in the future is inevitable.

Broadly speaking, blockchain is a new generation of Internet basic technology that integrates encryption algorithms, distributed data storage, point-to-point transmission, consensus algorithms and other technologies. It can support interconnection and secure sharing between upper-level applications on the Internet. , Is considered to be one of the core technologies of Web 3.0. With the help of blockchain technology, people can practice these ideas in real social organizations. Decentralized Autonomous Organazation (DAO), Decentralized Autonomous Corporation (DAC) and Decentralized Autonomous Society (DAS) can solve a lot of practical problems to a large extent . With the maturity of DAO and DAC, the entire society will eventually form DAS, and human civilization will enter a new stage.

The following is a conversation between MIT computer scientist and artificial intelligence researcher Lex Fridman (Lex Fridman) and legendary science fiction writer Neal Stephenson (Neal Stephenson), the two discuss artificial intelligence and augmented reality ,Virtual Reality.

As the former Chief Scientist of Magic Leap, how does he view the value created by virtual reality? What is the relationship between augmented reality and virtual reality? The following is an excerpt from the dialogue, everyone, Enjoy

01 What about the side effects of technology?

Dialogue with Stephenson, the Father of the Metaverse: Human beings have entered the DAO era, and all this cannot be avoided

Lex Fridman:

The best thing is that they tell you how not to do something. They provide opportunities for new ideas, enable them to flourish, and defeat old ideas. This is a dream of mine to see the new social media and beat the old. So I am inclined to agree that you may agree that doing a good job of social media is unlikely.

Neal Stephenson:

I listened to your interview with Jaron a few weeks ago. I know Jaron and we discussed this issue.

Lex Fridman:

He said this is basically impossible.

Neal Stephenson:

His idea is that there should be micropayments. For example, if I click the like button of something, I basically give valuable intellectual property to Facebook or Twitter or something. This is not a very large intellectual property, but it is definitely a transfer of information.

Lex Fridman:

These are very interesting ideas. For me, the biggest difference is in the level of cynicism. People in Silicon Valley do these things with a distrustful mockery. This arrogance will always lead you astray. When you are the person who designs the algorithm, this sentence embodies a deep fact.

Because algorithms are powerful, and many people do not do their best when they are empowered. Lincoln’s old saying is, if you want to test a person’s character, give him power. But this does not mean that some people cannot handle power, and some people cannot come up with good ideas and create better social media.

Neal Stephenson:

I want to go back to what we talked about earlier, how technology developed in the 50s and 60s. For a while, people may have unrealistic ideas about new technologies and not pay enough attention to the possible side effects.

In the mid-20th century, we saw antibiotics, we saw polio vaccines. We saw simple things, such as the refrigerator at home. My grandmother called the refrigerator an ice box until she died. You see all these changes, mainly for the benefit of people. If someone walks by and says, there is a new chemical substance called ddt that can kill mosquitoes. Then people will buy it easily and not be vigilant about possible negative effects.

We know that the construction methods of those early reactors, as well as the supply chains established for fuel production and waste disposal, will be ill-conceived.

Lex Fridman:

People are a little too scared of certain technologies. Artificial intelligence is one. What they fear is not the negative things that may happen, but the fact that it is impossible to accurately predict unexpected and negative consequences.

But equally interesting are AI and social media. For some reason, while talking about all the negative effects of social media, we forget how incredible it is to connect all over the world.

There is a deep sense of loneliness in all of us, and we are eager to connect. Social media reveals the fundamentals of human nature to some extent. You have considered virtual reality, mixed reality. What do you think are interesting trajectories of the proliferation of virtual reality or mixed reality?

Neal Stephenson:

I have been the chief futurist at Magic Leap for five years. I have a small team in Seattle doing content research and development, trying to produce content for AR. Make an AR system that can run everything. This is very attractive and needs to be run in real time. But this alone is a big problem.

Lex Fridman:

First of all, virtual reality is to create a virtual world that is almost completely different from the real world. Augmented reality is to put real world things on it. This means that in real-time, the device needs to be able to sense and accurately detect everything about that world, enough to be able to reconstruct it. Therefore, you can put things on it and do it in real time, maybe not just in real time, but to create a pleasant experience for the human perception system.

Neal Stephenson:

This is just one of the things the system must do. It is also tracking your eyes, so it knows what you are looking at. It is performing all these functions, and it must continue to do so without burning the CPU or draining the battery unreasonably quickly.

Anything you want to add must be done on this basis. It must be rendered with low enough latency and high precision to make it look real, and you won’t feel dizzy and nauseous.

Lex Fridman:

As you said about the content, this is a wide space. Doesn’t some kind of super fascinating experience alleviate some of the need for engineering perfection?

Neal Stephenson:

There is a great team in Wellington, New Zealand. They have made a game called “Invader” to stimulate the potential of AR games. We made an app “Goat Baby”. This game will eventually serve as a sample application for deaf children, and it will be upgraded to a complete consumer-oriented application in the future. This is an environment, it is not something you would sit there and play, like a video, it is a part of life.

Lex Fridman:

Yes, just changed to “Goat Baby”, then what is the purpose of raising dogs and cats? This kind of environment, they don’t really help you do anything, but it enriches your life.

So, looking forward to today, 50 years later, what will win? Virtual reality, augmented reality, or physical reality

02? AR faithful

Neal Stephenson:

I have always been a fan of AR, this is a simple answer. If you wear an AR device and put an auxiliary device on your head, it becomes a VR device. If you block out what really exists, then what you see is VR.

Lex Fridman:

But you are operating in something similar to physical reality, but with VR you can enter a fantasy world.

Neal Stephenson:

So in those fantasy worlds, there is still the problem of dizziness. If your body experiences acceleration and your interior is different from what your eyes think, then you are sick. This is a limiting factor that VR designers must learn to deal with.

Lex Fridman:

So do you think it is possible that in the future, we will live in virtual reality most of the time, as if it will become more and more detached from physical reality?

Neal Stephenson:

Entertainment, perhaps for some applications Shi . We have to make a distinction. I personally think that something interesting is not the same as something that might win the market. Maybe many people want to spend a lot of time in VR, but I am personally more interested in enhancing my experience of the physical world, because the physical world is very cool.

Lex Fridman:

To imagine the VR world, it will not be because the physical world has become bad or trying to escape it. In fact, it just enriches life in the same way, just like when you say you like the physical world, your eyes will glow. It’s like working overtime in the virtual reality world. Can you imagine such a world?

Neal Stephenson:

Let me give you an example, maybe a bridge, something I have always liked to make. So I like to work in the mechanical workshop and use 3D printers or machines or other things to make objects.

I use a software called fusion and spend a few hours to create and imagine what I want to create. To be precise, this is not virtual reality. But during the whole process, my entire field of vision was occupied by this monitor.

It showed me a three-dimensional window. I am imagining things, I am making things. You know this is very close to being in virtual reality.

Lex Fridman:

That thing must exist in order for you to experience true happiness? During the whole process? Do you have to print it out and touch it?

Neal Stephenson:

If you want to create a virtual scene, what you design in the program may never actually exist.

In fact, it is better not to exist. Because your purpose of doing this is to make imaginary things, otherwise they cannot be built. So I think many people spend a large part of their working time on something very close to us.

Lex Fridman:

For example, I like to listen to podcasts or audio books because there is a kind of close interpersonal relationship in podcasts. You can understand the person you are listening to, and that is a real connection. But for many people, it’s just audio.

For me, it is real. In terms of such imagination, it has created a very beautiful world. The question is, can you do something in the virtual world that makes life interesting?

Neal Stephenson:

It only depends on the way the content is applied, and whether it can enrich your life. Just like my example of using a CAD program, it gives me the ability to do something I like, that is, to imagine something and make it in a special way.

Neal Stephenson:

I am not against it. But, like I said, it has to be motivated to do it. It must come from some kind of mental or non-material calculation.

Lex Fridman:

From a business model perspective. You don’t think there is a business model. right?

Neal Stephenson:

Nothing is impossible.

03 Artificial intelligence needs empathy with humans

Dialogue with Stephenson, the Father of the Metaverse: Human beings have entered the DAO era, and all this cannot be avoided

Lex Fridman:

I ask you some questions about artificial intelligence. In the next few decades, artificial intelligence may have some interesting trajectories in society? Have you considered this kind of thing?

Neal Stephenson:

I don’t think much about this question, because it is a very in-depth topic. And I don’t think I know much about this issue. AI seems to be a term applied to many different things. I think I tend to think about problems from a subtle, bottom-up perspective, rather than starting from the big picture, top-down.

Lex Fridman:

We can talk about a particularly successful AI system, one is the language model and GPT3. This means that they can learn by reading a lot of content created by humans. Read the Internet and generate various things from the text.

They may have a sufficiently powerful neural network to be able to talk to humans on the basis of reading human language. At present, Boston Dynamics robots and most quadruped robots, most robots are very stupid.

Neal Stephenson:

I think what people have not fully explored in the field of robotics is the interaction between humans and robots, that is, the feelings that robots bring to humans. I think this will have a very significant impact on society in the near future.

People often think that AI needs super intelligence to have an impact. I think it needs to have an impact when society is super degraded, and more and more things are happening. Even if they are stupid.

Lex Fridman:

When we meet humans, we tell stories about these objects. They may be intelligent or biological, and they can be nearly inanimate objects.

The robot chose to move closer to this point, and it created an interesting world. There is this kind of feedback loop there. Especially when it is manifested, put a mirror on ourselves. Just like other human beings are close friends, teachers about ourselves. We teach each other, and through this process, our relationship is getting closer and closer. In the future, we will explore deep and meaningful directions. This is the opportunity I see for robots and artificial intelligence systems.

Neal Stephenson:

I think the valuable application of a robot is to do nothing, it just sits there.

If you hear the door closing, you might turn around to see what it is. If the robot turns around to look at that door at the same time. This means that your cognition is the same.

Lex Fridman:

However, when you heard the door closed, you all heard the same voice, but others did not. I mean you have deep interpersonal relationships, or now you have reached a similar response, and you don’t need to communicate explicitly. We can start with a robot that clearly listens to the sound of closing doors.

Neal Stephenson:

One example I can think of is when I was in college, we were sitting in the cafeteria and a group of people had dinner together.

We just met, someone might say something interesting or something happened. Then you might make eye contact with someone you don’t know at the other end of the table at that moment. At that moment, you will realize that this person is reacting. This person heard what I heard. Their reaction is the same as mine. No one else seemed to understand the joke or what just happened.

But the random stranger below, I have this connection with him, and then you develop on this basis. Next time something happens, you will automatically look at your new friend. You automatically look at your new friends, and they look back at you. You are on the same channel.

04 Cryptocurrency Utopia

Dialogue with Stephenson, the Father of the Metaverse: Human beings have entered the DAO era, and all this cannot be avoided

Lex Fridman:

In 1999, they published the “Cryptography”. At the end of the 90s, they basically built a cryptocurrency. How do you see this layout and what do you see in cryptocurrency? How did it unfold in a different way than you imagined? Technology itself has become the human side, hackers, financial people, powerful people and powerless people.

Neal Stephenson:

Cryptocurrency was before the blockchain. What I have seen is like the reaction of cypherpunks in the Berkeley Bay area. There are also some places in Austin as a branch.

Many of their ideas are based on the existence of a physical area on the earth without government intervention. You cannot achieve this freedom on the Internet through purely mathematical means. You actually have to have a room somewhere with a server in it, and the government cannot intervene. Around this point of view, people have worked hard to figure out the jurisdiction where this approach may be feasible.

For a while, there was a lot of interest in Anguilla, an island in the Caribbean Sea with some unusual jurisdictional attributes. There is also land and sea, which is a platform in the North Sea. There are many people trying to find these physical locations that are considered safe, but with the advent of the blockchain, all of this will disappear.

This has changed the status quo in many ways. The old system is more interesting at work because it gives you a world where hackers wander around and build server rooms around.

Lex Fridman:

There are several server centers, isn’t it a centralized server center?

Neal Stephenson:

The new problem is that you need to do a lot of calculations and keep your GDP from being burned out. People build things in Iceland or in shipping containers or other places under the sea.

So the stage we are in now has surpassed the initial stage. We will build this system, and then we will make money in some way, but the middle steps are missed.

I think we have now entered that stage, where the Bitcoin blockchain exists and people know how it works. Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies exist. People are using them.

Lex Fridman:

Do you have a feeling for all this going? For example, is it possible that this set of technologies is not only for finance, but for decentralization?

Neal Stephenson:

This is a big problem, and I have a bit of cynical thinking, once it becomes important enough, the existing banks and those in power will control it.

In my opinion, in the field of technology, money itself is a less interesting thing. In my opinion, encrypted, enforceable contracts and organizations built on these foundations seem to have more potential for change. But this is only because we already have money. Although this is an ancient system, it has been largely digitized by credit card companies.

Lex Fridman:

Just like connecting to a small contract to connect to data, make it more formal and structured. The integration of data, all kinds of data, about things in the world, they can make data-based contracts between people.

You can reach an agreement based on the actual data and your views on the data. If you can formalize the distribution of the right to speak, that would be an interesting resistance. Will Dogecoin take over the world?

Neal Stephenson:

I don’t pay so much attention to different currencies. I have heard of these coins, and I am also following its story.

Lex Fridman:

So the interesting thing about Dogecoin is the smart contract, and it resists banks and all these types of things. Dogecoin operates more in the space of means and humor. It raises the question to the world: Will the means, humor, go further in the future? Farther than some boring, old, technology? Will we play in a fun space? Just like once we are established A base, comfort and stability, like a powerful system, everyone has a shelter, everyone has food, and basic needs are met. I will operate in an interesting space.

Neal Stephenson:

Good things will soon become popular.

Lex Fridman:

Just like Bitcoin represents finance, a serious financial tool; Dogecoin represents fun. It is very interesting to observe this battle, on the Internet to see which one wins. Because fun seems to dominate the Internet.

When you look at 100 years later, is this a basic attribute of the Internet’s forward development, or is it just a temporary phenomenon when the Internet was born. It is only true for a few decades, until the phase disappears. After the rational man took over, he became serious again.

Neal Stephenson:

?I think rational people took over at first, and then they were abused by people. I think this is almost unstoppable.

05A good story needs rich details and surprises

Dialogue with Stephenson, the Father of the Metaverse: Human beings have entered the DAO era, and all this cannot be avoided

Lex Fridman:

Do you have any suggestions? What does it take to write a good story?

Neal Stephenson:

A good story and a good narrative can draw people in. This is an incredible force. I think my amateur theory is: if you were a caveman sitting around a fire in a rift valley 1 million years ago, if you could tell the story of how you escaped from the coyote, or how you didn’t escape from the coyote.

If the people listening to you are acceptable, they can create this kind of situation in their heads, like a kind of virtual reality, and see what you describe.

Lex Fridman:

Collective wisdom seems to be one of the main characteristics of Homo sapiens, that is, the ability to share ideas and keep them in our minds. Storytelling is one of the most basic aspects. Perhaps even the language itself is more basic. Because storytelling requires language, maybe they have evolved together.

Neal Stephenson:

Maybe they can evolve. So I think sometimes in the literary world, there seem to be many places that are considered bad or exploited. I like reading that is lively, interesting and exciting. Once you have a good story line and people will like to read, then you can freely do what you want within the framework of this story.

Lex Fridman:

Is your technical scientific rigor, or as much accuracy as possible?

Neal Stephenson:

It is mainly to introduce some small details that you may not think of yourself. If you just sit there and imagine freely, your brain may not provide a wealth of details, and the resulting complications and surprises. And the real world is constantly showing us.

As far as I am concerned, if I want to write a story that involves some technology, such as rockets or orbital maneuvers or others, and I delve into these details, I will eventually find some strange and unexpected things and provide me with material. But it will also attract more readers imperceptibly. Because they will find some unexpected trends. It gains some real-world complexity and surprise value.

Lex Fridman:

Yes, it does have something directed by Alex Garland. He wrote the AI ??film directed by “Ex Machina”. The more careful and accurate you are, the more compelling the story will be. Perhaps it is because it becomes more real to the person who writes the story. Maybe it just makes you a better writer.

Neal Stephenson:

The key to any storytelling is to let the reader pause their doubts. Various triggers and short stories can break this. Once it is broken, it is difficult to get it back. In many cases, this is the end. Someone would close the book and never open it again.

Lex Fridman:

Now that you have considered some big, absurd questions in your work, what is the point of this whole thing? what is the meaning of life?

Neal Stephenson:

As far as I know, we are unique in the universe. There is no evidence that there are other things in the universe more complex than our brains. We seem to be special.

One of the reasons I like David Deutsch, especially his book, “The Beginning of Infinity,” is that he talks about the power of interpretation. In fact, most civilizations are static. They have a set of dogmas that have been reached in a certain way. They just pass these dogmas from one generation to another without any change. However, when people have a scientific method or enlightenment or a different way of thinking, it has undergone tremendous changes.

Lex Fridman:

This driving force is still the universe created to understand oneself. An interesting and peculiar way of how we were created. We seem to be conscious beings, quite unique, falling in love, starting wars, etc. So it’s not just about individuals, it’s like a concert in which everyone participates.

Neil, you are a charming person. You have affected the lives of millions of people, and it is a great honor for you to spend your precious time with me today. thank you very much. Thank you for coming. Beautiful, hot Texas. Thank you also for the conversation.

Neal Stephenson:

It’s my honor.

Lex Fridman:

Thank you for listening to Neil Stevenson’s conversation. Now, let me leave some words of Neil Stevenson and himself for everyone. In his novel “Avalanche”. There are many things in the world that are stronger than us. Thank you for listening and hope to see you next time.

Reference source:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?app=desktop&v=xAfdSak2fs8

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