Senior IT people explain in detail what is “Metaverse” and elaborate on the historical concepts of “nothing”

1. The Metaverse in full swing

Recently, the concept of “Metaverse” has become popular. Especially after the American Facebook company changed its name to Meta, Metaverse instantly became popular all over the world.

Senior IT people explain in detail what is "Metaverse" and elaborate on the historical concepts of "nothing"

The media naturally came to talk about the Metaverse.

The famous science fiction writer Liu Cixin angered Metaverse in his public speech, saying that “Metaverse will lead mankind to a dead end.”

Some experts also come to talk about the Metaverse, and even give a definition.

This is what Baidu Encyclopedia says:

From the four aspects of time and space, authenticity, independence, and connectivity, the Metaverse is cross-defined.

From the perspective of time and space, the Metaverse is a digital world that is virtual in space and real in time;

From the perspective of authenticity, there are both digital copies of the real world and creations of the virtual world in the Metaverse;

From the standpoint of independence, the Metaverse is a parallel space that is closely connected with the external real world and is highly independent;

From the perspective of connectivity, Metaverse is a sustainable, wide-coverage virtual reality system that includes the network, hardware terminals, and users.

To be precise, the Metaverse is not a new concept. It is more like the rebirth of a classic concept, which embodies the concept under new technologies such as extended reality (XR), blockchain, cloud computing, and digital twins.

The Metaverse given by Roblox contains eight elements: identity, friends, immersion, low latency, diversification, anytime, anywhere, economic system, and civilization. There are many elements, and behind each element, there is a series of explanations. In short, it is not clear in one sentence, which just shows the vagueness of this concept.

One set of explanations came out one after another. However, as a particularly experienced IT person, what I want to tell you is: Metaverse belongs to another typical “nothing” concept.

2. Some basic laws of the hype concept in the IT industry

In the IT industry, the more it belongs to the concept of “nothing”, the more popular it is, the longer it is popular, and the longer its vitality. The more specific and accurate the concept of technical connotation, the more difficult it is to become popular, and even if it becomes popular, the time is short. We can call this “the law of IT industry concept hype”. Why is there such a law? This is because:

First of all, if a concept has accurate technical connotations, many key people, such as media, government officials, entrepreneurs in the application field, and even non-IT industry experts, will not dare to talk about it lightly. Because they don’t talk well, they appear to be laymen and say the wrong thing. And the more it belongs to the concept of “nothing”, even an authoritative technical expert in this field can’t tell what it is, and certainly can’t tell what’s wrong with anything about it. In this way, no matter who it is, everyone can have the courage to run and say a few words, seem to understand them well, and at the same time, they will not make obvious mistakes.

Once, I visited an exhibition hall with some leading experts. The CTO of a non-IT professional company introduced their cloud computing solution to a district government secretary: We plan to put a cloud here and a cloud here. The secretary was very interested and asked, wouldn’t it be more efficient if we also put a cloud here? The CTO said, “You are too right.”Then he and the secretary were so excited that they were planning to put another cloud everywhere. I really can’t listen anymore, pretending to go to the bathroom so as not to laugh out loud: Do you know what you are talking about? But it’s okay, everyone is very happy, and they are not worried about making mistakes-how can things that are nothing make mistakes? Cloud computing, big data…These are all concepts that are nothing. Should you now know why they have been hyped and popular for so long? Later, we will analyze in detail why they are nothing.

Furthermore, if a concept has precise technical connotations. Then, once the problem to be solved is clear, it will soon be solved in the IT industry developed by Moore’s Law. Once the problem is solved, there is nothing to hype. Therefore, things that really have technical connotations often cannot be hyped for too long. For example, in the historical “what you see is what you get”, it also has a decent English name WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get), which was a concept that was once popular on the streets in the 1990s. But people today have never heard of it. Why is this concept so popular? Because it is a concept with precise technical connotations. Why is there this technical concept? You have to know what it was like in the early days of “what you see is not what you get”. We are now accustomed to typesetting text through editing software, what font and font size we see, what font and font size are what we see. However, in the early days of computer development, text editing software needed to change the font size and font. What you see in the editing window is the control symbol that controls the font and font size inserted in front of the text to be changed. The font does not change, so you have to print it out. Knowing what the effect is, it’s so troublesome. However, by improving the display function and software function, I realized that if I want to change the font size, I can see the effect directly on the screen, just like today. This technological advancement was called “what you see is what you get” at the time. Today, it seems that this function is nothing and it should be, but only those who have experienced the era of text editing software where “what you see is not what you get” will understand. This function solved the big problem at the time. It is precisely because the technical function of this concept is very clear, once the problem is solved, it will no longer be a problem, and people will no longer pay attention to it. Therefore, this concept was soon never mentioned again. The concepts of soft fonts, graphical user interfaces, etc. are all the same. They have very clear technical connotations. Once the corresponding technical problems are solved, only the programmers will deal with the corresponding problems, and no one else will pay attention to the corresponding problems.

Especially, once a problem mainly involves computing power and storage capacity, because the change cycle of Moore’s Law is 18 months, there are two Moore cycles in 3 years, which corresponds to 4 times the performance change. Therefore, when the CPU’s computing power is insufficient, such as soft font libraries can only be supported by hard font libraries.Once the CPU computing power can support the soft font library, the computing power consumed will be negligible for up to 3 years. This problem is no longer any problem, and no one pays attention to it. Before soft fonts became popular, many Chinese computer companies’ hancards were very important products. The media was still arguing about whether soft fonts would become a reality. However, Moore’s Law is like a monstrous tsunami. When you are far away, you can still discuss whether it will come. Once it comes, it will sweep everything instantly. Therefore, as long as it is a concept that essentially depends on computing and storage capabilities and has accurate technical connotations, the popular time is often very short.

Third, once a concept that is nothing is hyped up, a truly professional company will have to follow the hype no matter whether it understands the concept or not. Because they can’t tell where these concepts are. In that case, you can’t fall behind! Yes or no? Not only that, they even pretend to be leaders in this field. Because they were leaders before, how can they not be leaders in this new situation? ! Now that all the bosses of the IT industry have come out and shouted the same concept, all other laymen are not worried about what they are wrong. The most professional elders in the industry are talking about this thing, so how can there be a problem? ? Although occasionally some people are criticizing, this is a concept speculation, but what can you criticize for something that is nothing? That’s even more hollow than a knife cut. You can’t tell too much about other people’s speculation concepts, isn’t it? Therefore, everyone has to follow the speculation, and they are afraid that they will be behind when the speculation is slow. In this way, these concepts are used in the national science and technology development plan documents of Europe, America and Japan. Can China fall behind? No way! Therefore, the Chinese government’s science and technology development plan documents are also hurriedly using these concepts. What can you say when it’s all here? Experts and professors have to use these concepts in their papers.

Fourth, since the purpose of the concept of hype is marketing, there will be specific laws. Because publicizing your own strengths is not actually saying what you have, but mainly saying what others don’t have and lack. The technical characteristics that everyone has, what are your advantages if you promote it? Is there any other TV manufacturer that says that its TV is LCD flat panel display, so it’s good? Surely not, who doesn’t have LCD display? Can you still find the original CRT TV on the market now? Therefore, any concept for marketing purposes has been publicized for a long time, and everyone has it, it is not worth publicizing. Therefore, although this concept will last for a long time, it is destined to be boring after a certain period of time, and people gradually see its “nothing” essence more and more clearly, so they have to go again Hype a new concept.

Fifth, the concept of nothing, the other aspect can become the concept of “anything”, and everything can be put inside.If it is wrong to say that the concept of “nothing” is absolutely nothing, some people who appeared as experts during the initial hype will give some seemingly well-founded technical definitions. But in fact, no one will care about these definitions when they are really used. For example, the data volume defined in the initial hype of “big data” was EB level, and the processing time was millisecond level. However, when the concept of big data is really hyped up, it can’t control so much. Anyone who has data will say that they are big data, and no one else can say that it is not. Then as the concept continues to generalize, one after another professional institutions and authorities can continue to make their own conclusions and definitions. And as mentioned earlier, if there is an exact concept of processing capacity and storage capacity, it will quickly become obsolete. Therefore, IBM concluded that big data has the characteristics of 5V: Volume (large), Velocity (high speed), Variety (diversity), Value (low value density), Veracity (authenticity), the specific processing capabilities and Technical indicators, so you can continue to hype for a longer time.

3. Personal experience

In the early 1990s, shortly after graduating from Beijing University of Posts and Telecommunications, I joined Wangma Computer (Huizhou) Co., Ltd., a giant in the Chinese technology industry, and soon became its chief engineer. In order to develop the shopping mall POS system, I have done a lot of research and study on database technology and its history.The most popular concepts before were MIS (Information Management System), DSS (Decision Support System), data analysis, etc. In the history of database development, various concepts have continued: databases, relational databases, SQL languages, distributed databases, and so on. However, when I used Microsoft’s FOXPRO2.6 database software to develop a shopping mall POS system, the industry began to popularize and hype “data mining”. Many propaganda talk about how big technological advancement data mining is. It’s not that I don’t understand the technical content of data mining (histogram, radar chart, pie chart, data statistics, data search…), but I really don’t understand the difference between the two concepts of data mining and data analysis. . I have consulted many people, including technical personnel from foreign computer companies who are responsible for related businesses, and technical experts from various computer companies. That was the first time I felt extremely worried about the technical concept, because I, a chief engineer of a computer company, did not understand the technical concept that everyone was talking about easily. How shameful it is! Therefore, whenever I have the opportunity, I will ask others everywhere and find relevant information to check. At that time, there was no Internet like now. I could only search for relevant technical content in the bookstores that specialized in translating foreign computer materials such as Kehai in Zhongguancun back then. Has been to no avail.This matter tortured me for a long time, until the last communication with a technical staff of a database company Oracle, he randomly dropped a sentence: “Maybe it is that data mining sounds more stylish”, this made me suddenly realize. First, it turned out that he didn’t really understand it. It was not like I thought that everyone knew it well. Only I, the chief engineer of a computer company, didn’t understand it. The second is that there is a marketing problem, not just a pure technical concept.

Data mining is a relatively technical concept, but if you thoroughly understand data mining, you will know that compared with data analysis, it is just a different term. It can be said that there is no essential difference.

Since then, I have remained vigilant about the new concepts in the IT industry. First of all, I have to distinguish whether the new concepts belong to “accurate technical connotations” or “nothing”.

4. Why are they “nothing”

I said earlier that cloud computing, big data, Metaverse… these are all concepts of “nothing”. So why do you say that? So many people in the world are hyping these concepts, and you can’t say that they are nothing but nothing. You have to give a convincing reason, right?

First of all, I want to talk about my professional experience. I am very senior in this field, and there are few senior professionals even in the world: I said that 30 years ago I was a well-known company in the domestic computer industry. The chief engineer of, has developed a variety of database systems and hardware systems.

Thirty years ago, when I was a graduate student of Beijing University of Posts and Telecommunications, my major was image and video processing.

When I first joined ZTE at the end of 1998, I worked on ZTE’s video business for more than two years, making this business the absolute number one in the domestic market, with a market share of 70% in the private network and more than 90% in the military network.

I joined Digital Video in 2008, and I am the largest professional company in the field of digital TV in China. During my work in digital video, I studied VR and AR in depth, and also developed related technologies in digital video.

I am now a consultant of Zhejiang Univision, one of the top companies in the field of international artificial intelligence video surveillance, and I can get in touch with the latest technological developments at any time.

People who have more than 6 years of work experience in the three major network technology fields of computer, communication, and radio and television can basically count with their fingers when one hand reaches out on a global scale.

So, I’m here to make some evaluations on big data, cloud computing, and Metaverse. I don’t care if I am right or wrong, and say that I have the qualifications to evaluate. At this point, I am afraid that there are not too many people in the world who have the courage to be more true to me. Not to mention that I have the support of a purely scientific method system.Last year, Huawei will publish a book on the digitalization of big transportation, involving high-speed rail, aviation, highways, urban road transportation, subways, shipping, ports, airports, 5G, sensors, Internet of Things, artificial intelligence, information management…almost Digitization and communication technologies in all transportation fields involve hundreds of different professional fields with a huge span. All departments have technical information, but there must be someone who can put all these different contents together in a unified way. The publisher searched for a long time and finally found me. I am happy to take on such a task. At first there was a little episode: because I am a consultant of Zhejiang Yushi and have a little bit of competition with Huawei in the transportation business, so I must first tell both parties whether it will have an impact. Univision is very generous, as long as it can contribute to the whole society, there is nothing wrong with it. The relevant departments of Huawei also think that there is no problem. Of course, it would be better if you can find other people. However, the Publishing House of Electronics Industry used a lot of relationships to find it in China, but it still couldn’t find it. Of course I know very well that there are a lot of people who are very good in every professional and technical field, but people who can penetrate hundreds or even more professional fields, let alone China, and there are not a few people in the world. . In the end, I assisted the publishing house to complete the first draft and put together all the different technical contents, basically assuming the role of “encyclopedia”. As long as the writing team has unclear technical concepts in any field, from aviation to subways, from tunnel and bridge engineering to ships, from 5G to information coding, from sensors to dock AGVs, all the technical concepts are not clear at my end. This work is very enjoyable, because it is a thing that can make the most of pure scientific interdisciplinary and cross-professional superiority.

There is a postdoctoral researcher in brain science. She said on the Internet that she had done brain-computer interface for two years and published three papers in this field. He didn’t understand what Metaverse was going to do. It doesn’t matter if you don’t understand it, it doesn’t explain much, because it is nothing at all. Therefore, technical experts who are confused about this concept can be completely relieved, and there is no need to worry about the concept of data mining for a long time like I did in the past. Don’t worry, there are not many people in the world who speak more authoritatively than me on this issue.

Any concept has the problem of extension and connotation, and both extension and connotation should have an exact definition. Generally speaking, the larger the extension, the smaller the connotation. But the concept of nothing is very evil. The extension and connotation of the concept can grow bigger and bigger at the same time. Although Metaverse is now beginning to have exact technologies with VR (virtual reality), AR (augmented reality), ER (realistic reality), MR (mixed reality), XR (extended reality), digital twin, BCI (brain-computer interface), etc. The connotation (some are becoming more and more conceptualized, but still conceptualized within the scope of technology) are related, but from now on, it will gradually get rid of the constraints of these technical concepts. “Metaverse”-it’s all universe, how many things can you put in it? This is a concept that is conditionally expanded to the maximum in history. Just a few years ago, the US military also reported a message: VR cannot be successful. For this reason, I also wrote an article to explain it. See: The most professional VR analysis article on the Internet. VR will have a certain range of applications, but it can’t be too much. In any case, all kinds of “R” are just a kind of man-machine interface and interface. Just like GUI (graphical user interface) was used to replace the command line interface in the past, it does bring great intuitiveness and convenience of operation. , But that’s all. Unlike the core functions of computing and storage, it can’t be exaggerated too much.

I pointed out that the above is not to criticize or persuade people not to hype it, what can you do to stop it if others want to hype it? There is no way, and there is no need. It’s okay to even follow the hype together. But I just remind people to understand that this is originally used to fool others. Don’t fool others, you are fooled into it first. In addition, if you are the real technical experts who are troubled because they don’t understand this concept, I want to tell you that you don’t need to worry anymore. It’s not that you have insufficient skills and understanding, but that these things are nothing at all, and they can be anything. If you understand this, you can speak boldly and pretend that you understand the Metaverse. Don’t worry, no matter what you say, you won’t be wrong.

If you just want to hype it, I just give some suggestions for hype points from the basic law of conceptual hype for reference:

The first point of hype is how they will have a significant impact on all mankind in the future. Will affect all aspects of society. This is very suitable for people who engage in technology, enterprises and investment.

The second point of hype is to criticize how it threatens human society and how immoral and involuntary it makes human society (no matter whether you can understand what involute is or not). This is suitable for artists and media people to stand on the moral high ground to make hype.

The third point of hype is that if we do not act immediately and follow closely, China will lose its strategic initiative and the future in the future. By the way, we call on the country to increase investment in this field. This is suitable for experts and authorities in research institutions and universities.

The fourth point of hype, just say something, as long as you bring this concept, even if you are talking about the situation in Afghanistan and live streaming the goods and selling shoes, you can also bring the Metaverse. This is suitable for self-media adoption.

The fifth point of speculation is to immediately predict how large the market scale of the Metaverse related industries will be in fifteen years, and give the annual growth rate and the annual market size until fifteen years later, generally using billions of dollars as the unit , Note that it must be accurate to at least 2 digits after the decimal point. For example, you cannot say about 380 billion, but must say 384.72 billion, otherwise it will appear unprofessional. Don’t worry about what’s wrong with the forecast. Who will remember the article about this forecast in fifteen years? I don’t know if the related concept is still hyped, people may have paid attention to the next concept long ago. This is suitable for the most famous and authoritative consulting companies in the world.

The sixth point of hype, no matter what you can talk about, you can take the order and talk about anything you want, such as: “Metaverse Burst”, “Metaverse and Greater Bay Area Development Strategy”, “Metaverse and the Belt and Road Initiative” , “The Metaverse is here, and the Chinese people can no longer indulge themselves”, “the social problems brought by the Metaverse cannot be ignored.” This is suitable for general consulting companies and lecturers.

Why do you want to talk about the above? In any case, in the face of such an obscure technical problem, let’s tell a joke to make everyone happy. But this is not just a joke. The United States is not only leading the world with strong technology and finance, but also has a whole set of methods and means, including marketing methods to lead the world. Many people, including technical professionals in the industry, always feel that they can’t keep up. I haven’t fully understood the previous technical concept. How come a new one burst out in an instant, and I can’t keep up with it, because the Americans are always ahead. Although there are many people scolding the United States now, when it comes to hard-core technology, the Chinese tend to be particularly superstitious about the United States. The concept of Metaverse is said to have first appeared in the 1992 science fiction novel “Avalanche” by American science fiction writer Neil Stephenson. But the background of its popularity is the cosmic-themed science fiction pandemic, such as Liu Cixin’s “Three-Body”, “The Wandering Earth”, and the progress of Musk’s Mars exploration program. But it obviously has a lot to do with changing the name of Facebook, which gave up Facebook and Book to Meta.

However, because of the traditional concept and hype of the IT industry, it will often cause the most professional companies in this field to go in the wrong direction. During my work in digital video, I was catching up with the hype of 3D TV in the global industry, and even major developed countries in the world, including China, have formulated a development plan to popularize 3D TV. China has launched a 3D TV experimental channel, ready to vigorously develop. At that time, I always emphasized in the company and the industry that 3D TV was impossible to succeed, and it reduced a lot of unnecessary investment losses and waste. This is not a problem of dual-channel video coding and decoding and stereoscopic display technology, but a problem of the principle of human eye’s three-dimensional visual perception. To fully explain and understand this thoroughly, it is necessary to have a deep understanding of the human visual physiological system. The following references are made in response to the 3D TV trend that is very hot in the industry at that time. Facts have proved that 3D can be used within a certain range (3D movies), but 3D TV has basically died down in the end. This limitation will also profoundly affect how far the Metaverse related technologies can go. There are companies in Silicon Valley that have developed a three-dimensional vision that can completely match the human vision-light field technology, and even a very cool promotional film has been released, but until now, there has been no mass sales of products. If you can’t break through the physiological limitations of human vision in 3D visual restoration, VR/AR/MR/ER/XR, etc. will be subject to similar limitations as 3D TV.

If the light field technology cannot be fully commercialized in the end, unlike GUI completely replacing the command line interface, the Metaverse man-machine interface cannot completely replace the two-dimensional flat GUI, nor can it become a commonly used technology. They do have many very good applications, but don’t over-hype. This is not good for the development of the industry itself.

Background introduction: The author of this article, Wang Tao, was the founder of ZTE’s international market management system and is now the general manager of Analyze Shipbuilding

Posted by:CoinYuppie,Reprinted with attribution to:
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