Hao Jingfang and Wu Kai: What kind of future will the Metaverse lead us to? Part 1

Due to space reasons, the New Year’s Eve speech will be divided into two parts and sent in two parts. This article is the first part!

(This book is based on Hao Jingfang’s New Year’s Eve speech on December 31, 2021)

Hao Jingfang: Graduate student of astrophysics at Tsinghua University, Ph.D. in economics and management, science fiction writer, founder of Children’s Walk Academy. This time, based on the knowledge background brought by these four identities, from the perspective of an ordinary worker, I will explain the meaning of the development of metaverse technology to the life of ordinary people and the possible changes it may bring.

Wu Kai: Mr. Jing Fang’s younger brother from the Department of Physics of Tsinghua University, the founder of MCG, and the current chief scientist of Taito Technology. Currently making investments related to blockchain and the metaverse.From the perspective of technology and practice, I will answer some questions about the Metaverse with Teacher Jing Fang.

Problem zero:

What is the “Metaverse” New Year’s Eve speech?

Hao Jingfang and Wu Kai: What kind of future will the Metaverse lead us to? Part 1

Jingfang: Hello, everyone, I am Hao Jingfang. Welcome to my Metaverse Folding Live Room. As you can see, I am standing on the stage in the center of a very gorgeous universe to say hello to everyone. Standing in the center of the universe may be a fantasy of many people, but it is impossible in reality. And through the virtual reality technology of the Metaverse, everything is possible. Now, please switch the director. As you can see, I am actually standing in front of a green screen in the office, and there are only a few technical team staff at the scene. The comparison is still quite shocking. So let’s start the live broadcast tonight in such a technology demonstration!

The focus of my speech today is to talk about, from now to the next five years, what can metaverse technology really bring to us ordinary people? I will show you some video clips to see what we can do now and some technologies that will mature rapidly in the next five years.

Hao Jingfang and Wu Kai: What kind of future will the Metaverse lead us to? Part 1

From the perspective of demand, I will talk about what the technology of the Metaverse can bring to us in terms of daily necessities, daily work, and each family.

Here is a quote from Mr. Duan Zhiyun, Vice President of Robles. Mr. Duan Zhiyun is also an expert who provided technical support for us in this speech. He said : “Technical stacking that does not solve user needs and pain points is pseudo-demand. False proposition.” Because real technological progress changes the world. And the node that it changes the world is when the demand and supply reach a huge breakthrough. It’s like, when the price of a smartphone dropped from the initial tens of thousands to a few thousand a piece, everyone could afford it, and still felt that it was easy to use, and smartphone technology changed the world. And many technologies will never change the world if they don’t find a large-scale demand.

Hao Jingfang and Wu Kai: What kind of future will the Metaverse lead us to? Part 1

Question one:

What is the Metaverse?

Jingfang: In my opinion, the metaverse is a virtual world, some virtual people superimposed on our real world. That is, a more immersive digital world plus a digital human. Here are some examples of applications to give you an intuitive feel.

Hao Jingfang and Wu Kai: What kind of future will the Metaverse lead us to? Part 1

The video you are seeing now is the “Children’s Academy Metaverse Christmas Meeting” that we held not long ago. In this virtual Christmas village, my avatar Captain Cherry had a unique interaction with the children. These children are real children of the Children’s Walk Academy, they are very enthusiastic and full of curiosity. This is actually a 3D virtual scene, each child has a virtual person, as his avatar, to communicate with each other. Although the current technology is relatively rough, it achieves the effect of such a real person interacting in the virtual world.

Next, let’s go back to the metaverse stage of the party, please bring out Captain Cherry! Let’s ask her how she feels about the Metaverse meetup.

What you just saw is the interaction between real characters and virtual characters in the virtual scene in the metaverse scene. There will be many kinds of such interactive scenarios in the future. For example, virtual idols meet everyone in a real restaurant. This is to allow virtual characters to interact in real scenarios.

Then you may be curious, these scenes look like games, what changes can it bring to our lives? That is to bring a very useful, more direct interactive experience. Compared with the current interactive mode of Tongxing Academy, Captain Cherry can only answer children’s questions through WeChat voice messages, customer service system, and these delayed services, while Metaverse Space provides a face-to-face, real-time direct interactive experience, so as to better To meet our various needs in the real world.

In my opinion, the relationship between the virtual world and the needs in the real world is like this, you can refer to this four-quadrant diagram . The upper left corner of this quadrant is where the Metaverse can do more things in the future to meet real needs in the virtual world. For example, we are now familiar with Internet e-commerce, remote social communication office, online medical education, and then online information payment, entertainment creation and so on.These real needs of our daily life can actually be fulfilled in the metaverse.

Hao Jingfang and Wu Kai: What kind of future will the Metaverse lead us to? Part 1

Question two:

What is the use of the metaverse?

Jing Fang: Metaverse improves productivity, makes the physical distance that cannot be bridged, and makes work and life more efficient and convenient.

Hao Jingfang and Wu Kai: What kind of future will the Metaverse lead us to? Part 1

Speaking of which, let’s take a tour of the online office of Tongxing Academy that we are already using.

As you can see, such a metaverse office is still very spacious and comfortable, including a dining bar, gym, workstations, computers, and other office supplies. We’re gradually developing everything in there into something actually usable. For example, if you click on a computer, you can open a shared document for editing. Some meeting items can be posted on the wall as in a real office, combining the system of voice conversation with our real system of sharing documents.

In such a 3D space, it adds a lot of convenience and possibilities. Compared with opening voice or video conferences in WeChat groups, WeChat communication solves the problem of information flow, but it will cause the loss of important information. And building such a virtual office system is not technically complicated or expensive. Since we used the Metaverse telework system, our total operating costs have been reduced to a quarter of what we used to do with two large offices. Our employees also save time wasted on commuting every day, which is a great improvement to everyone’s quality of life and work efficiency.

Speaking of the virtual stage for our New Year’s Eve speech today, our technical support team took less than a month to plan and prepare with Huan Technology, and the cost was not much. It can be said that it used 10,000 yuan to build the effect of a large company spending several months in a real big hotel for an annual meeting stage that cost several million yuan. Therefore, with the support of technology, a small company like us can also hold annual meetings with millions of effects.

Marxism has always said that the improvement of productivity is the promotion of human progress. Like the simple economic accounts we just mentioned, they all show the improvement of production efficiency. We can do more with a penny, and do one thing for less. As long as technology can bring about an increase in productivity, it will definitely enter our economy and society.

Jingfang: Okay, now we welcome Mr. Wu Kai to connect with us in Shanghai and enter the Metaverse live broadcast room. Hello Wu Kai!

Wu Kai: Hello, Mr. Jingfang. Hello everyone, my name is Wu Kai. I am very happy to be invited by Teacher Jing Fang to come here to talk about the Metaverse.

Jingfang: Now please help the director to switch. As you can see, Mr. Wu Kai is actually broadcasting live in one of his green screen spaces. However, both of us can actually see each other in our virtual space, and it feels quite real, like being around.

Question three:

Is the metaverse a VR/game?

Jingfang: Then Wu Kai can explain to everyone, is the metaverse technology VR?

Wu Kai: Everyone’s impression of the metaverse generally comes from two movies: “The Matrix” and “Ready Player One”, and then associate it with VR. But in fact, the metaverse we know now is very diverse and interactive. It can be accessed through various devices, and the virtual and real worlds can be combined with AR technology. By connecting to mobile devices, PCs, wearable devices, the future brain-computer interface, etc., to achieve.

Hao Jingfang and Wu Kai: What kind of future will the Metaverse lead us to? Part 1

Jingfang: In fact, there are still many shortcomings in the current VR recognition technology, such as inaccurate gesture input, inaccurate eye focus, and slow speed. VR technology won’t develop to perfection that quickly. In the future, it may be split into different links, such as input, calculation, output, etc., for development. There is also AR technology, which is used to augment reality, superimposing virtual things on top of real things. In my book “China Frontier” published this year, I had the honor to visit the company Yingchuang Technology. They are mainly developing the technology of real vision plus digital overlay. For example, when doctors perform surgery, they can use AR technology to present the images of blood vessels and nerves on the real human body to increase the accuracy of surgery.

Hao Jingfang and Wu Kai: What kind of future will the Metaverse lead us to? Part 1

When we open our imagination to the future, you will find all kinds of possibilities. “Virtual Overlay Reality” “Reality Overlay Virtual” will have a variety of computing devices and output devices. These are all metaverses to me. It is actually a scene in which more complex virtual reality enters our lives.

Jingfang: According to the current speed of technological development, when do you think people will start to use such augmented reality technology in their lives?

Wu Kai: Why don’t we see a lot of augmented reality technology happening today? On the one hand, the iteration of technology has accelerated, and on the other hand, people’s needs have not reached a certain level. For example, the previous Google Glass was not popular, because people did not find very good application scenarios at that time. And now the epidemic has led to a rapid increase in the demand for virtual technology. In this context, more such applicable technologies will be produced in the future and enter everyone’s life.

Jingfang: In the future, will you see different street scenes from standing on the same street due to the different equipment you use?

Wu Kai: Possibly, I like the world diversification that the metaverse technology may promote. For example, in the case of inconvenient travel, ordinary people in Shanghai can use the Metaverse technology to travel internationally on the Bund and experience exotic customs. The popular retail pop-up stores can also be implemented through AR technology without the need for physical stores. Shoppers can participate with only a pair of glasses and a mobile phone, which is lower cost and more environmentally friendly.

Jingfang: How will people in the metaverse exchange information in the future? Contact information can be exchanged by means of direct data exchange. For example, if you go to a virtual summit, you only need to make eye contact, and in one second, you can add the business card on the other side’s head, which is very efficient. This is great news for someone like me who doesn’t like to go out. It can be said that homesteaders drive the progress of the world. In the future, even appearance anxiety can be avoided, and we can choose the avatar image we like in the virtual scene.

Wu Kai: Yes, with the Metaverse, we can redefine “social fear” and “social cattle”.

Jingfang: So what is the difference between the metaverse and games? Some people say that Metaverse Office is like the “Virtual Life” game, and it was there twenty years ago.

Wu Kai: The game uses purposeful tasks to promote the development of events, such as the familiar Sword Art Online.The real metaverse has no such clear goal setting. What the Metaverse will eventually do will go beyond the simple scope of the game itself and apply to things like online meetings, summits, parties, clubs, and online education. Games are part of the metaverse, but the metaverse is much bigger than games. It is actually through this shell to meet our daily needs for food, clothing, housing and transportation, and enter life.

Hao Jingfang and Wu Kai: What kind of future will the Metaverse lead us to? Part 1

Question four: 

Is a metaverse 3D experience really necessary?

Hao Jingfang and Wu Kai: What kind of future will the Metaverse lead us to? Part 1

Jingfang: When we have an online 3D store, our avatars are similar in image, temperament, and body shape to our own. We can put clothes on to see if they fit, whether the color is good, whether they are rustic, and we can buy them if they really fit. Home, I personally think this buying experience will be much better than traditional e-commerce.

Another scenario is to try a 3D modeling restaurant. Because of the epidemic or the distance between my friends and I, if we just open WeChat videos, there is actually no atmosphere, but if we all log in as virtual characters to a possible It is a real restaurant. The restaurant provides cloud ordering service. When we finish ordering, each of the two cities will send a copy of the same dish to our home, and we can chat face-to-face in the virtual restaurant, which is very likely to make This kind of cloud dinner is really like an offline dinner to a certain extent, and it will be very atmospheric.

This 3D space can at least be able to gather remotely, which can make our feelings better. I can imagine that it can actually bring some changes to our lives. There are also some other services. If they are all implemented in the cloud, I am very willing to try them out. Wu Kai, how about you?

Wu Kai: Maybe because I was doing investment-related work before, including doing some research, so I may have a slightly different view: 3D scenes are really good, and it’s very interesting to reproduce some scenes in our life. . But this matter is ultimately linked to our needs. Not all our social scenes and social habits are completed in a 3D scene. In some scenes, 3D can be obviously added, but in some scenes, for example, a few colleagues have a simple meeting, In fact, 3D scenes are not really needed.

Because everyone’s ultimate hobbies and demands are different, this event is ultimately triggered according to the needs of each scene.

Jingfang: Yes, I agree too. In fact, the arrival of the metaverse is the development of technology. It actually will diversify the needs. It does not mean that when a new technology comes, you don’t need this life in the past at all. It just increases a possibility. replace. When offline communication is difficult, 3D experience brings a relatively better experience.

For example, my best girlfriend and I live in different districts, cities, and countries, so we can’t get together even in the same city. If we are often limited by physical distance and cannot communicate offline, then the Metaverse will at least provide us with a better experience of online communication, which can bring more real human-to-human perception and contact.

Hao Jingfang and Wu Kai: What kind of future will the Metaverse lead us to? Part 1

In addition, the 3D world has a great advantage. The information of the 3D world is multi-dimensional and can be stored in a specific place in the form of information flow (text, pictures, voice), which brings more information.

Generally speaking, I myself would feel that the metaverse is not so mysterious and complicated. It seems to be a subversion of our human world. In fact, it is not a subversion. In my opinion, it is a strengthening effect. It can make our reality Information will have a real-world economy, a virtual world, and then a more efficient information transmission effect . I myself still look forward to the future metaverse, with more people going to more new functions, able to A little more fun.

Question five:

Do virtual goods make sense? Value how much money

Hao Jingfang and Wu Kai: What kind of future will the Metaverse lead us to? Part 1

Jing Fang: For the Metaverse , the future may be to buy more virtual goods than physical goods. For example, you may wear a T-shirt at home, and the pants are very comfortable, but your avatar needs to go to various scenes, and the virtual skirt you buy for her may cost more money. Some opponents say that this is not the early days. Is it a bit exaggerated to brag about this technology as a technology that can change the world?

In addition, are these virtual products worth buying? If you buy it, how much can you sell it for? Some time ago, a painting painted by robot Sophia was auctioned for a relatively expensive price, hundreds of thousands of dollars a painting.Artworks including NFTs have also sold for sky-high prices. Wu Kai, what do you think of the value of these digital artworks?

Wu Kai: Whether digital artwork has value depends on how you define value. We all know that we have many levels of needs, including material needs for food, clothing, housing, and transportation, as well as spiritual needs, which is our Maslow’s theory of needs.

In the past, the development of the whole industry included the development of information and the development of technology. In the early days, through industrial and Internet technology, we completed the first and second levels of satisfaction of the needs of most people who can access the Internet for Mark, and the future digital goods are more derived from a higher dimension.

So why do people think this is hype, because this is a brand new thing, and everyone is constantly arguing and debating, so there is such a phenomenon.

Hao Jingfang and Wu Kai: What kind of future will the Metaverse lead us to? Part 1

Digital commodities are more to meet spiritual needs. In the long run, it depends on the value they really meet. As for whether this value is measured by money or something else, it depends on the effect in the development process. But whether it is a digital work or a commodity, the more people who recognize him, the higher the value will be.When the consensus reaches a certain level, a new culture will be formed.

Therefore, on the first level of digital goods, it meets the needs of human spirituality, and the satisfaction of this spiritual need is very malleable, diversified and changeable.

The second proof of the rights and interests of NFT works we just mentioned, because the forms of art that he can show will be more abundant and expansive, and the combination of digital products and technologies will be even more limitless.

Jingfang: Let me explain to you how the price is determined, which is determined by supply and demand. If there are 100 of an item, but 10,000 people want to buy it, it can be very expensive. A lot of stuff on the internet can be copied infinitely, so it’s basically free. But NFT digital distribution is limited, and if many people want to see it, they need to buy it.

As long as there are scarce resources, the distribution methods are probably: 1. Queue 2. Lottery 3. Price 4. Power or relationship. The same is true for digital artwork. As long as it is limited and there are many people who want it, the price will still go up.

I think that in the future, as the spiritual world becomes more and more abundant, and the longer people live in the digital world, people are more and more willing to spend money to buy, just like now many people are more and more willing to reward an author for an article .

There is also an extended topic here. If a digital commodity can be copied, should we sell it at a high price? When I was 25 years old, I wrote a novel “The Wandering Sky” discussing this issue, and I hope to have the opportunity to discuss this issue more in the future. I myself am interested in selling my works, my novels, for a dollar, guaranteeing my copyright.

Hao Jingfang and Wu Kai: What kind of future will the Metaverse lead us to? Part 1

Question six:

Is the Metaverse a scam?

Jingfang: There is a most typical saying, the metaverse. There are only two kinds of elementary particles in the world, one is called a liar, and the other is called a fool, and the fool tightly revolves around the liar, forming the atoms of the metaverse together. There is also the most ironic saying that there is nothing new in the Metaverse, but some old concepts, hyped up with new ones, and used to fool money. Wu Kai, what do you think?

Wu Kai: I still want to hear Mr. Hao’s opinion first.

Jingfang: I think the metaverse needs to see whether it is a scam or not. In fact, it depends on whether these technological eras have actually changed our lives.

In the virtual live broadcast we cooperated with this time, their virtual shooting was completely filmed in the studio, and then composited with virtual scenic spots. Even though there are still some imperfections in these virtual shootings, I think there are still a lot of them. of technological progress. Because if you want the virtual scene and the real person to be combined very realistically, it needs a lot of calculation or even artificial intelligence, when your person, when your perspective changes, when your position changes , the changes you see in these effects of depth of field require very accurate calculations. There is a need for the integration of a large number of technologies, such as AI, such as blockchain, such as encryption technology and so on.

These technological advancements themselves are still helpful to human beings, so from this perspective, I would think that it is not a scam anyway, maybe some people don’t like it so much, but it still has progress in technology.

Wu Kai: I want to talk a little more. Why do people think it’s a scam? Everyone’s understanding of the metaverse is still a few years ago. The technologies we just talked about, VR and AI, are old technologies without a clear development direction and path, and are easily mistaken for scams.

But in fact, our technology has been greatly improved at present, such as the improvement of 4G to 5G, the improvement of AI algorithm and so on.

Hao Jingfang and Wu Kai: What kind of future will the Metaverse lead us to? Part 1

In addition, these new technologies are combined with content production technology, technology improvement and content framework integration, plus blockchain technology. The fusion of these different technologies has produced a completely new business model core demand, this change is from a quantitative change to a qualitative change, so it is not a scam.

Jingfang: Why do I think the Metaverse is not a scam? The most important point is that it has the potential to enter each of our lives. In fact, at the very beginning, I said when will technology really change the world? It starts at the point where supply equals demand.

If this technology is very sophisticated, it can only affect a small number of people, and it is impossible to affect the entire world. If this technology is so simple that you may be able to buy one at your doorstep or in a hardware store, then this technology itself has already changed the world in the last round.

Hao Jingfang and Wu Kai: What kind of future will the Metaverse lead us to? Part 1

Under what circumstances can technology really change the way we live our lives? It is that it has just lowered the cost to a level that ordinary people can afford, and there are many people who have this demand. For example, our virtual live broadcast this time spent very little money and made a dazzling effect. It has become popular, and it has basically reached this threshold. Then it is indeed close to changing the world on a large scale. not far.

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