How did Neil Stephenson, the author of “Avalanche” interpret the Metaverse after 30 years?

The current metaverse is not exactly like the scene outlined by Seattle novelist Neil Stephenson 30 years ago.

At that time, Stephenson was preparing to write his science fiction novel that shocked the world. He was worrying about the expensive equipment of the expensive computer art project he was working on at the time. “Avalanche” was conceived under such circumstances. He wants to make using a computer as cheap as buying a TV and watching the latest programs.

What needs to be done to make computer equipment as cheap as TV sets? “Of course the answer is that a lot of people are watching TV,” Stephenson pointed out that TV used to be an expensive laboratory treasure, but when a show like “I Love Lucy” created a huge market, it became cheap .
Does this happen to the Computer Graphics Society? At the time, the World Wide Web was nothing more than the idea of ​​Tim Berners-Lee.

Therefore, the meta universe was born as a plot setting of “Avalanche”. In 1992, Stephenson’s characters could enter the world created by three-dimensional computer graphics, like a popular show on TV in the 1990s .

Fast forward to today, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg and Microsoft CEO Nadella are touting that Metaverse is the next frontier for online interaction through computer-generated avatars.

Stephenson admitted the similarities with his thinking. For example, “Avalanche” describes that users who are constantly connected to the metaverse are eventually dubbed “ghosts”. But he said that the main features of his metaverse are inconsistent with what Zuckerberg and Nadella said.

Stephenson said: “They usually don’t talk about content similar to parallel time and space.” The key feature of Metaverse seems to be a three-dimensional universe, a large-scale multiplayer game. What you do with it depends on your business model .
We see that many people are interested in virtual meetings or virtual conversations in fixed spaces, which seems to be a very reasonable thing. But this is not the same as the meta-universe in “Avalanche”. “

While the science and technology community was fascinated by the metaverse, Stephenson turned his attention to a problem that he believed would have a greater impact on the earth: climate change, potential catastrophic effects, and what we can do to alleviate the coming crisis.
These issues were the focus of the global summit in Rome and the large-scale legislative event in Washington, DC, as well as the focus of Stephenson’s latest novel, Termination Shock.

How did Neil Stephenson, the author of "Avalanche" interpret the Metaverse after 30 years?

Stephenson pointed out, “The efforts of governments to solve this problem are commendable. Everything is helpful, but people need to be realistic about how long it will take to reverse this situation.”

“Termination Shock” is Neil Stephenson’s latest novel. In this novel, a billionaire intervenes and establishes a secret plan to cool the earth through solar geoengineering. Stephenson said: “The geophysical community has been quietly talking about this for some time. But for obvious reasons, people are generally reluctant to come out to defend it. “

Changing the climate can make great improvements in some parts of the world, such as preventing the melting of the Arctic and rising sea levels. However, it can also make some things worse, such as reducing rainfall in Indian granaries. This struggle between pros and cons provided wonderful material for Stephenson’s grotesque story, making the novel more than 700 pages long.

We talked a lot in sci-fi Chat, including Stephenson’s recent temporary job as the chief futurist of Magic Leap. This is a sound drama created by him and his partner Magic Leap, which shows some attractive features about the future. plot.
Magic Leap is a well-funded startup company that is developing an augmented reality (AR) platform.

Stephenson said: “I’m working on something more top-notch technology, but I can’t publish it yet. It may be available in 2022.”

How did Neil Stephenson, the author of "Avalanche" interpret the Metaverse after 30 years?

If you are interested in Stephenson’s novels, technology-driven thrillers, climate policy and its impact on the technological world, or in the meta-universe and augmented reality, you should really listen to the science fiction of the entire novel “Termination Shock” Chat.

Who will lead this effort to combat climate change?

Stephenson said: “I am a billionaire in my book. It is a good story and has some practical significance. Sometimes it is difficult to get the public to agree with one thing. Look at the United States and the United Kingdom’s response to the coronavirus. In response, we can’t even get a large number of people to agree that this is a real thing, even though hundreds of thousands of people have died. Similarly, it’s difficult to get people to agree that climate change is a real thing, let alone. Take expensive and difficult measures to solve this problem. “

Regarding the future of democracy, Stephenson said, “Frankly speaking, I don’t like non-democracies very much. I have always been a democratic person. But if we are discussing the question,’Democracies like the United States and the United Kingdom can cope with the climate. Is there any effort behind the costly and difficult actions of change? “I have to be honest and say that this seems unlikely.”

Stephenson also put forward some ideas in the book, including new COVID strains, deepfake videos, sonic weapons, brain implants, and drones.
We all know many things Stephenson mentioned. We have all heard of drones, COVID. There is no need for a science fiction writer to come to popular science. Stephenson believes that “Termination Shock” is a book with the future as the background and makes predictions about the future .

Regarding what drove the rise of the metaverse, Stephenson believes: “It’s really developed in a way that is not like TV. In fact, the thing that is very popular and keeps the price of hardware down is video games. We have seen this since “Doom” One point, it is a real 3D game, not a 2D arcade style game.
Once it becomes popular, it will form a virtuous circle and make the hardware super cheap. This is the story in my opinion. Just last year, The term “meta universe” has become more widely used, but I still don’t know the exact reason.”

Regarding the future of the novel, Stephenson believes that “this novel will be with us for a long time. Compared with other creative forms, it does not have many advantages. Novelists can single-handedly produce a novelty. No. It needs software and engineers. It has unlimited creativity and flexibility . But its form may be more diverse.”

The official publication date of “Termination Shock” is November 16. Neil Stephenson will hold a national book tour and will be unveiled at Seattle City Hall at 7:30 pm on November 14 and will be broadcast live simultaneously. And at 7:00 pm on November 16th, the author of “The Martian” will also attend the virtual press conference of Third Place Books.

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