Tech giants grab a beach in Metaverse and comb out the seven challenges of Metaverse

Before Meta Universe becomes popular, it will also face challenges such as intellectual property disputes, data privacy, laws, payment systems, technical limitations, and low public acceptance.

Original title: “Seven Challenges of the Metaverse”

With the listing of Roblox, the concept stock of Meta Universe , in the United States on March 10, 2021, Meta Universe began to accelerate its entry into people’s field of vision. Some people are very optimistic about Metaverse and call it the “Next Generation Internet.” Many giants have also laid out the meta universe one after another, wanting to be the first person to eat crabs.

The social giant Facebook transformed into a meta-universe company in the next 5 years, and continued to invest in the construction and development of meta-universe with a scale of 5 billion US dollars each year. Roblox, invested by Tencent , has a market value of US$43.4 billion after its listing. In April, NVIDIA announced that it would launch Omniverse, a real-time simulation and collaboration platform for enterprises, a virtual work platform called “Engineer’s Metaverse”. The giants all have big moves in the meta-universe field, and the competition has gradually become fierce.

Tech giants grab the beach of Metaverse, and sort out the seven challenges of Metaverse in one article

Google’s popularity trend of the meta universe

New things bring opportunities and challenges come with them. However, the reality is that people are not ready to overcome the challenges that the meta-universe will bring. These include intellectual property disputes, data protection and privacy issues, legal issues, currency and payment system issues, technological limitations and low public acceptance, and other challenges. In addition to the above, high capital investment and whether Metaverse has become a highly monopolistic industry is also a challenge.

Intellectual property disputes

Whenever a community or virtual world is created, the question will follow, namely, who owns the copyright of the works created in that environment? If you have a protected brand in the real world and someone uses it in the virtual world, can you make a claim?

When users in the virtual world create or generate content assets based on existing assets in the real world, then things become blurred. Although legally speaking, the position is still very clear, users in the virtual world must obtain permission to use the intellectual property rights of others, but the arrival of Metaverse will inevitably lead to many related intellectual property disputes.

This presents a challenge for companies or creators in the world today, that is, they need strategies or methods to protect their intellectual property rights in the real world and in the virtual world. These content or product providers need to cooperate with Metaverse related companies to regularly check for violations of their brands or trademarks. In addition, providers are also faced with the question of how far Metaverse users can use the content or property they create.

When we talk about a virtual world, you can interact with the world and other individuals in it. This can produce valuable content, which involves the question of who owns the intellectual property rights. The rules of common copyright and common ownership in the real world are already very complicated. In the complex virtual world scenario, the interest relationship will be more complicated.

In addition, is the content produced in the meta-universe recognized in the real world? What procedures need to be carried out if the content generated in the meta-universe is to be recognized in the real world? These all involve complicated ownership authentication and integrity verification and other issues.

Data protection and privacy

Privacy data protection has always been one of the most concerned issues in the real world, and has attracted the attention of all sectors of society. The Internet we use today involves a lot of data and privacy protection issues, not to mention the meta universe. Metaverse involves more data and privacy than the Internet. In the future, Meta Universe is very likely to be a virtual space created by multiple companies. For consumers or users, how to coordinate and protect data among various companies and how to ensure the security of private data is bound to be the most worrying issue.

The amount and richness of personal data collected by Metaverse will be unprecedented, including personal physiological reactions, exercise, and possibly even brain wave data. Will this data hire a dedicated security company to be responsible for its data security? If a user’s personal data is stolen or misused in the meta-universe, who will be responsible and what impact will it have on real-world users? In the construction of Metaverse, each company should strictly consider the privacy of such personal information and set up good mechanisms to prevent the leakage of personal data.

Research institutions Centre for International Governance Innovation and Ipsos found in a questionnaire survey that about 57% of global consumers expressed that they are extremely (31%) or very (26%) worried about online privacy. The survey interviewed more than 24,000 Internet users between the ages of 16-64 in 24 countries. In fact, at least half of Internet users in every region express their concerns about privacy.

Tech giants grab the beach of Metaverse, and sort out the seven challenges of Metaverse in one article

Survey results of global users expressing concerns about online privacy and security, source: Centre for International Governance Innovation and Ipsos survey reports

The successful element of the meta universe is inseparable from the huge flow. With the flow, the meta-universe has the vitality of sustainable development. Many users around the world have expressed concerns about data security and privacy. It can be seen that how to improve the security of data privacy and reduce people’s concerns about data security and privacy are issues that need to be resolved on the way to the rapid development of Metaverse.

Legal challenge

The birth of the Internet has forced national laws to make changes in order to better and effectively supervise illegal activities. Today’s big data and artificial intelligence are gradually being regulated by law. With the continuous development of Metaverse, the future will also challenge existing laws. In order to better supervise Metaverse at the national level, it is bound to be necessary to formulate corresponding laws.

With the continuous development of Meta Universe, the number of virtual spaces accessible to users around the world continues to increase. Meta Universe can gather a large number of users together, making it a large platform for connection and communication, but at the same time, it also allows users to be free from legal and regulatory boundaries. Vulnerable to threats such as attacks or fraud. Determining jurisdiction and establishing a legal system to ensure that virtual space is safe for users are challenges that the world needs to face.

Does the existing law apply to the meta universe? If applicable, under what circumstances should the law of which country be used? Some improper words or illegal activities have appeared in the meta-universe. Is there any way people can use them as evidence in the real world to make those who break the law be punished by the law, etc.? All these require constant revision of existing laws to keep up with the development of Metaverse.

There are also views that since it is a virtual world, the laws of the real world should not be applied to the virtual world. All these will pose certain challenges to governments in the real world.

Currency and payment system

Since the meta-universe is a world, a currency system is naturally needed to maintain the operation of this world or become a medium of exchange between materials. So the question is, which payment system or currency should Metaverse use?

The US dollar is the currency recognized by most people in the world. If the U.S. dollar is used in the meta-universe, people who are not Americans might not agree. However, the use of currencies of other countries is more likely to not be recognized by most people than the U.S. dollar.

Bitcoin supporters believe that Bitcoin has extremely high security and reliability and can be used as the currency of the meta-universe world. However, recent incidents have made people doubt its safety and reliability. In June 2021, Colonial Pipeline, the largest fuel supplier in the United States, was blackmailed by a hacker organization and paralyzed the oil pipeline. In order to return to normal, Colonial Pipeline paid hackers 75 bitcoins, which were worth US$4.4 million at the time. Then, with the intervention of the US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), 63.7 bitcoins were recovered. The advantage of Bitcoin lies in its security and irreversibility of transactions. However, the FBI recovered 63.7 bitcoins after the incident, making people doubt the aforementioned properties of bitcoin.

A secure and highly reliable payment system and a widely recognized currency are another major challenge that Metaverse needs to face when it becomes popular.

Technical challenge

In the future, people will enter the meta-universe through the VR/AR connection. This technology can solve the problem of “showing the virtual world” to us to a certain extent. But now this technology can only provide visual and auditory information, and other perception capabilities, such as touch, smell, Taste cannot be provided. A realistic virtual world allows us to experience other perception abilities, thereby increasing the sense of reality. How to let people experience other perceptions is a technical problem that needs to be solved.

In addition, we also need to input parameters into the virtual world, such as voice, gestures, actions, and so on. Today’s VR/AR mainly relies on holding sensors (or wearing gloves) to input parameters into the virtual world. This reduces the sense of reality, compared to when we don’t need to hold the sensor in the real world. Although there are some gestures and gesture recognition technologies based on machine vision today, they have also encountered many practical problems, such as the field of view and occlusion.

Tech giants grab the beach of Metaverse, and sort out the seven challenges of Metaverse in one article

VR/AR devices with handheld sensors

Tactile feedback is also a technical problem. How to make our hands and bodies feel the objects in the virtual world, it seems that today’s technology is temporarily unable to solve. Among the number one player in the movie, the player mainly relies on wearing force feedback clothing all over his body to perceive objects and perceptions in the virtual world. Even if everyone is willing to wear full-body equipment to experience the meta-universe, it is still technically a challenge to be able to achieve a full sense of body with such a piece of clothing. In the real world, whether people are willing to buy this costume to experience the meta universe is also a question.

Tech giants grab the beach of Metaverse, and sort out the seven challenges of Metaverse in one article

Costumes in the “Ready Player One” movie

The high requirements of Metaverse for computing power are also a technical challenge. The computer needs to run the simulation of the physical world, the rendering of the scene, and the interaction with other characters (including real characters and virtual character artificial intelligence), etc. These are huge amounts of computing. It is also a big challenge to develop the computing power that matches the operation of Shangyuan Universe. The huge computing power is accompanied by the problem of energy consumption. Higher computing power means higher energy consumption, and the high energy consumption costs will eventually be passed on to users and eventually lead to higher barriers for people to enter the meta-universe.

Popular acceptance

Whether people’s acceptance of the meta-universe can keep up with the development speed of the meta-universe is also a challenge. To this end, Forrester Research (a consulting company in the United States) conducted a survey. The sample included 1,263 people surveyed, of which 572 were from the United States and 691 were from the United Kingdom.

Tech giants grab the beach of Metaverse, and sort out the seven challenges of Metaverse in one article

People’s reaction to the meta universe, source: Forrester Research

The survey results show that 27% of Americans and 36% of British people feel that the metaverse is a dispensable thing, and has no effect on either the real world or their personal virtual experience. And 29% of Americans and 33% of British people don’t know what meta universe is.

Only 13% of Britons and 19% of Americans believe that companies should vigorously expand the world of Metaverse and enhance the experience of Metaverse. 23% of Americans and 17% of British people are willing to take time to experience the metaverse.

Loup Fund (a fund company that tracks the development of cutting-edge technologies, including artificial intelligence, financial technology, robotics, autonomous driving and electric vehicles, and VR/AR) conducted a survey to study people’s opinions on the meta universe.

Tech giants grab the beach of Metaverse, and sort out the seven challenges of Metaverse in one article

69% of people are willing to spend more time in the virtual world (provided that the virtual world has a better experience), source: Loup Fund

Among them, 69% of people believe that if the experience in the virtual world is better than the real world, they are willing to spend more time in the virtual world than in the real world.

Tech giants grab the beach of Metaverse, and sort out the seven challenges of Metaverse in one article

People think it makes more sense to spend time in the real world, source: Loup Fund

52.4% of people think that spending time in the real world is more meaningful than in the virtual world.

It can be seen that even if the improvement of technology makes the experience of the metaverse rise to be comparable to the reality or even beyond the world, people still feel that it is more meaningful to spend time in the real world. Just like in the past, people felt that it was a waste of time to spend time on mobile phones, but nowadays, people spend a lot of time on mobile phones. It is a challenge how the metaverse can provide value for people to spend time in it and not feel that it is a waste of time.

High investment and commercial monopoly

The construction of the meta universe is a high-input project. At the GTC conference held on April 12, 2021, Huang Renxun, the founder and CEO of NVIDIA wearing a signature leather jacket, gave a keynote speech in his kitchen and introduced his new products.

Tech giants grab the beach of Metaverse, and sort out the seven challenges of Metaverse in one article

Huang Renxun at the GTC conference

At the SIGGRAPH 2021 conference in August, Nvidia revealed that the GTC conference had a few seconds interspersed with “fake” Huang Renxun and background. More than 30 staff first used RTX ray tracing technology to scan Huang Renxun, took thousands of photos of Huang Renxun and the kitchen from various angles, modeled the “kitchen” in Omniverse, a virtual collaboration platform developed by NVIDIA, and finally combined it with artificial intelligence to make it fake.

Just a film requires a lot of manpower and material resources, not to mention building a world, which makes Metaverse a high-input industry. The wealthy Facebook announced that it would invest a lot of money to build a meta universe, but other small and medium-sized enterprises may not have this capital to compete with large companies. This makes it easy for Metaverse to become an industry that only large companies can afford. This is bound to intensify the commercial monopoly of Meta Universe.

Tencent is also one of the shareholders of Roblox, “Meta Universe First Share”. After a series of competitions with Tencent, ByteDance acquired VR hardware manufacturer Pico at a price of more than 9 billion yuan to deploy the meta universe. The Omniverse launched by Nvidia is a meta universe known as engineers. BMW, Volvo, Ericsson and other groups have reached cooperation with Nvidia to design and test products or production lines on this platform. Facebook announced that it will continue to invest in the construction and development of Metaverse at a scale of 5 billion US dollars in the future. The construction of Metaverse has become a “capital game” for large enterprises. Under these high-input competitions, it is difficult for small and medium-sized enterprises to survive in the Metaverse industry.

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