Metaverse is not a product, nor is it a virtual world controlled by any capital or chaebol.
In the seventh volume of Plato’s “Utopia”, there is such a metaphor:
In a cave with a long passage, there were prisoners sitting facing the cave wall. They were restrained and couldn’t turn around, they could only look at the wall. There was a fire behind them. There was a low wall between the flames and these people. Others hid behind the low wall and operated puppets and other objects. These puppets were manipulated to dance, but they never made any sound. As a result, these prisoners could only see the shadows moving back and forth on the back wall of the cave. They always thought that these shadows were things in reality.
It wasn’t until one day that one of the prisoners was lifted from the shackles and turned around to see the puppets illuminated by the fire. They realized that they had only seen the shadows of these puppets before. He walked out of the cave and saw everything in the world under the sun, only to realize that those puppets were not real things themselves, they were just imitations of man and nature. After a burst of light irritated his eyes, he raised his head and saw the sun, as well as the most vivid things in the world.
On the way of exploring the world, science and technology, along with discovering the previous limitations time and time again, are “shattered by the new world”. When Copernicus believed that heliocentric theory was the basis of astronomy, he was driven to extinction by the church. But it was this “new view” that seemed crazy at the time, but it subverted the situation of science being controlled by the church in later generations, and later led to the true meaning of modern science.
New scientific discoveries often herald a new era, but the progress of the era does not depend on new discoveries in a certain field. Marx perceives this in historical materialism. He believes that the progress of the times is the result of the combined effect of the individual and the spirit.
Looking back at history, looking at several scientific and technological revolutions, the “black technology” that led the big bang of the times was always born many years before the times. Science and technology are always intertwined. If a link is missing in collaboration, then the whole will never exist. For example, today, we can fish across the ocean for thousands of miles. If there is only superb sailing skills but no cold chain technology to handle the catch, then fishing is meaningless.
Today, the Metaverse is in an immature state. But just the glimpse of its immaturity is enough to see that there is a whole new world inside, making the capital and the academic world crazy.
There are many discussions about the Metaverse. Under the hype of speculators, the general public ‘s understanding of the Metaverse is separated by a veil. The clarification of the philosophical issues of the Metaverse, such as what is the Metaverse and what is in the Metaverse, becomes more and more important.
But before discussing the meta-universal philosophy, let us start by looking back at the story of the previous era.
The firelight in the eyes of the prisoners is dazzling, but it does contain a new world. Dare to step into and face the new world, Plato calls it: the turning of the soul.
01 Calendar in the age of purpose
How long and how much technology will it take for the arrival of the Metaverse to trigger the change of the times? Perhaps we can learn from the third scientific and technological revolution.
The invention of modern computers is considered to be the third technological revolution in human history, and it is also the closest to us.
The scientific name of a computer is a computer. Computers were originally used for calculations. In ancient times , the earliest computing tool used by people may be fingers. Counting with our fingers when we were young is an intuitive and convenient way of calculation. But with only ten fingers on both hands, such arithmetic methods are really limited and inefficient.
In the Shang and Zhou dynasties of China, the method of calculating chips appeared. Ancient counting chips were made from multiple sticks of the same. The material is generally bamboo, but also animal bones, ivory, metal and other materials. By placing the counting chips regularly, more numbers can be represented. The tool used by the mathematician Zu Chongzhi to calculate Pi is a calculation chip. However, it needs to be placed carefully and slowly to use it. Such calculations are still not portable and efficient.
Later, the embryonic form of the abacus appeared in the Han Dynasty, which was finalized during the Northern and Southern Dynasties. The abacus uses the carry system to count, and is used in conjunction with a set of formulas. This design speeds up the calculation. The abacus itself can also store numbers, which is very convenient to use. In China, as the best calculation tool in ancient times, the abacus is still in use. However, the calculation of the abacus still requires manual manipulation of the abacus beads, and human operation errors still cannot be ignored.
So is there a way to cancel the artificial influence in the calculation process?
In 1642, Pascal invented the first mechanical computer-Pascal Adder. It is a device composed of a series of gears. It looks like a rectangular box. It can only be rotated after the mainspring is tightened . It can only do addition and subtraction. But this machine can only do one addition and subtraction at a time, and its computing power is extremely limited.
Later, Leibniz was inspired by Pascal, and in 1674 improved a new work about one meter long. He added a stepping wheel in the computer, and this calculator can complete continuous calculations. Through continuous and repeated operations, addition and subtraction, this machine can implement the rules of multiplication and division.
Converting multiplication and division to continuous addition and subtraction is a very clumsy calculation model today, and it is not even as fast as recitation of mantras. But the basic operation mode of modern computers is a continuation of this simple repetition. In this way, Leibniz’s computer can be said to be all available in the field of basic computing.
Up to now, mechanical computers still require manual winding and numerical methods to realize the calculation process. The idea of ??allowing computers to calculate automatically is still a luxury, let alone expecting computers to implement a series of commands issued by people. At this time, another completely irrelevant technology has opened up the “two pulses of any supervision” to the “window computer”, and that is the jacquard machine from the textile industry.
The fabric knitted by the knitting machine is woven by warp threads (longitudinal threads) and weft threads (horizontal threads). To make patterns, workers need to manipulate the warp threads so that the shuttle will pass through the middle with different colors of weft threads. After repeated operations, the different color arrangements of the weft threads form a pattern on the overall fabric.
In 1805, the French machinist Jaccard completed the invention of the automatic jacquard machine. The principle is to control all the warp threads uniformly, and insert the small wooden rods that control the warp threads into the holes on the paper tape at the appropriate position during the knitting process, thus simulating the previous manual operation. By adding this perforated paper tape, the weaver can directly record the desired pattern on it, without having to personally do it.
Similarly, the automatic piano in the opening of the TV series “Western World” also realizes the automation of the machine by recording the information that needs to be operated on the punched paper tape. This paper tape is the embryonic form of computer memory and software in the future.
In the 18th century, in order to promote the development of science, France mobilized academia to participate in the compilation of “Mathematics Tables.” Although the quality of the personnel involved in this project is excellent, several errors have been pointed out after the large number of tombs was completed. In order to complete the calculation of “Mathematics Table”, it is necessary to manually use paper and pen to perform a fixed set of calculations on different numbers. Although manual calculation is flexible, mistakes cannot be avoided.
In 1822, Babbage invented the difference machine by breaking the function into simple addition, subtraction, multiplication and division, combined with the principle of the jacquard machine. This machine can handle three different five-digit numbers at the same time, and the calculation accuracy can reach five decimal places. The success of this machine has greatly increased Babbage’s confidence. Then Babbage began to conceive and build an “analysis machine” that could handle as many as hundreds of variables. This “analyzer” structurally separates the area for storing numbers from the calculation area. This idea also directly contributed to the birth of CPUs and hard drives.
But this machine failed because the machining process at the time was unable to support the overly sophisticated structure and machining accuracy. From today’s point of view, Babbage’s idea can be said to surpass the one hundred years in his time. But in other words, the technology of the old age cannot support the great ideas of computers , and the era of pure mechanical engineering should come to an end.
In 1907, the electronic tube was invented. The electronic tube can have two states of “open” and “closed” on the circuit, which respectively represent allowing and preventing the flow of current. Using binary 0 and 1 to express different states of multiple tubes, the era of electronic computers has begun.
After that, we are all familiar with the first electronic computer ENIAC covering an area of ??170 square meters and the miniaturization of electron tubes later, which eventually became today’s various computing cores and computing devices (CPU, GPU, etc.). The cause is a calculator that is convenient for calculation and “lazy”. At that time, no one could have imagined that it could evolve into such a form today and penetrate into all aspects of modern life.
Looking back from the present moment, the source of the third technological revolution is hidden in history for thousands of years . Even the vacuum tube, which was the final word, was 107 years away from the invention of the battery that can continue to supply power in the modern sense. It is difficult for pure scientific progress to produce practical significance, but it is the “science” of science to use science to solve life problems.
In the history of scientific development, science not only assumes the task of explaining objective phenomena, but also assumes the role of liberating manpower. Computers in history have been inferior to abacus for quite a long time. From a pragmatic point of view, the early clockwork computers were a thankless creation, and even produced “exquisite mechanical garbage.” But in other words, the new technology that changes the future of the world is usually accompanied by confusion and controversy at the beginning of its birth.
The birth of Metaverse today cannot be established by a certain technological breakthrough, let alone a few Internet company giants that can “induce birth” by relying on capital operations. The Metaverse is the result of the co-generation and evolution of blockchain, Internet of Things, network and computing, artificial intelligence, video games, and interactive technologies.
The youngest blockchain technology in it was proposed in “New Directions in Cryptography” and “Denationalization of Currency”, and 35 years have passed today. These technologies have various development trends today, and they all face development limitations. The Metaverse was proposed today to unify the development of these disciplines.
Today, the progress of many human sciences and technologies has gradually begun to slow down. Such as battery technology, modern physics, nuclear fusion, silicon wafer manufacturing process and so on. From the current point of view, Metaverse can provide scientists with a virtual test field to save money and materials; in the long run, the digital twin provided by Metaverse can bring these virtual creations back to reality.
Although, science and technology rely on use in order to exert its full “power.” Before the “power” is fully displayed, no one can fully predict. However, standing at a time when new technologies cannot be achieved (5G) and new technologies have not yet arrived, Metaverse can be regarded as a fairly definite direction in the future.
02The “Universe” that can be recognized at the moment
The carnival of the Metaverse is a carnival that has been incited. Master the art that affects the imagination of the masses, and also master the art of ruling them. –“mob”
The concept of Metaverse has not been put forward for a long time, but the performance in just a few months can be described as chicken feathers in four words. Capital is constantly churning high-profile under the concept of Metaverse, which is modern without any explanation and product. If independent thinkers can use simple philosophical analysis to view the Metaverse, they can gain a clearer understanding and not be affected by external objects.
In 2010, Zhongqingbao went public as an online game concept company. The main business of this company is the production and operation of some online games. It is today hailed as “the first stock of China’s Metaverse.” But after touting, it is indeed the embarrassment of business data.
According to the three-quarter report, Zhongqingbao’s revenue in the first three quarters was 257 million yuan, a year-on-year increase of 28.5%. The deduction of non-net profit for the third quarter of 2021 is negative 300,000 yuan. In terms of personnel treatment, as a game company, the industry average salary is an important indicator. In the context of generally high salaries on the Internet, the ability to pay high salaries also reflects the company’s products and operating capabilities from the side.
The average salary of head game manufacturers Gigabit, Giant Network , Palm Fun Technology and Perfect World will be between 399,300 and 793,500 in 2020, while the salary level of Zhongqingbao is about 180,000 yuan. In R&D activities, the industry average R&D personnel accounted for 52% of the total number of personnel, while Zhongqingbao R&D personnel accounted for 26%. Online games, as an industry with high demand for talents and high R&D needs, Zhongqingbao lags far behind the giants in the same industry in terms of salary and R&D emphasis.
From the historical point of view after listing, its profitability is relatively weak, and even an annual loss has occurred. Finally, in terms of the company’s continuous operation, at the end of the third quarter of 2021, Zhongqingbao’s book monetary capital was 78.52 million yuan, and short-term loans were 115 million yuan. In addition, from 2018 to 2020, the net cash flow generated by Zhongqingbao’s operating activities will be -547 million yuan, 3.07 million yuan, and 36.17 million yuan respectively.
Compared with its peers, Zhongqingbao has a high proportion of fixed assets and a low turnover rate of state-owned assets. These are the points that investors have doubts about the company’s investment behavior. But in September of this year, it still skyrocketed.
The reason is basically the Metaverse. On September 6, Zhongqingbao announced the launch of a Metaverse game “Master Brewer”, which is a virtual and reality linkage simulation business. The secondary market’s evaluation of this news is: Starting from the 7th, the 20CM daily limit is three times a week. And this “Brewmaster” game allows players to re-simulate the operation of the winery in the game, and the wine brewed by the player can design their own packaging and support offline delivery. The announced wine partner is Guizhou Jinsha Ancient Wine .
These wines can obtain NFT certification, and players can trade in their own circles . This set the player to play from behind and to honor the manufacturer’s output to a dual delivery system, the official preaching finished beauty circulation within the universe fit the yuan economy.
But the problem is that if players get their own wine, who will pay for the wine? Players pay directly to the winery for the props produced by the game? I am afraid that this item is not only valuable for the winery, but also has value for the entire supply chain of the product.
However, the officially announced partners are only wineries, and in accordance with national regulations, it is not possible to exchange NFT directly with legal tender. Then you need to consider how to give actual value to virtual items. Copying “Axie Infinity” may be a feasible way. “Axie Infinity” is a game where players breed and sell small animals.
The number, appearance, and function of each pet in the game are unique. But the first animal that the player logs into the game needs to be purchased. However, small animals and breeding tools can be traded and purchased on public exchanges (such as Uniswap, OpenSea) and can be redeemed as legal tender.
If it is copied in this way, it corresponds to the “Brewmaster” that the player should charge money into the game. This cycle becomes the player placing an order with the winery through the game to obtain customized liquor. After the obtained customized wine is NFT certified, the price of the transaction will be jointly priced by any potential consumers.
However, due to the particularity of the production of liquor products, it is impossible for the winery to provide players with specially produced liquor. In other words, the NFT certification is only the production specificity of this bottle of wine. In a spontaneous self-production system, if the production materials are unlimited, the scarcity in probability will be broken sooner or later (for example, breeding of agricultural products).
That is, scarcity depreciates from the moment it is produced. If the means of production are limited (available with money, or intentionally controlled by the government), then it is not a fair and just NFT system at all . It is confirmed by this that the manufacturer of the ancient Jinsha wine is a wholly-owned grandson company of Zhongqingbao’s major shareholder.
It is impossible to form a perfect ecological cycle. As a result, the so-called “Metaverse game” really only has concepts.
However, even if the internal logic is so obvious, it cannot stop the enthusiasm of investors from all walks of life to come to “speculate”. In the announcement of China Qingbao on abnormal stock price fluctuations on September 8, China Qingbao stated that the game mentioned in the official account recently involved the concept of “Metaverse” and was forwarded by the media, causing abnormal fluctuations in the company’s stock price. Metaverse is a huge concept and model. The company is still in the preliminary exploration stage, the concept is relatively shallow, and the corresponding products are still under development. At present, the launch time and region of the new game are affected by many factors, and there is uncertainty.
In the end, in two months, Zhongqingbao’s stock price was boosted by 5 times. The Metaverse sector is continuously questioned. Today, when the concept of Metaverse is gradually falling, investors who were once passionate about making money have made a lot of money. And some regretted not being able to analyze it in detail and heeded the rumors.
03 Possible philosophical problems of the Metaverse
Hypothesis of the brain in the tank-living in a virtual world, will you lose yourself?
In 1981, Hilary Putnam proposed such a conjecture in his “Reason, Truth, and History”: a person’s brain is cut off from the body and placed in a tank containing a nutrient solution to maintain brain survival. . The nerve endings of the brain are connected to a computer. This computer sends information to the brain in accordance with the program, so that he can maintain the illusion of everything being completely normal. For him, it seems that people, objects, and the sky still exist, and his own movement and physical sensations can be input. This brain can also be input or intercepted memory. How can you be sure that you are not in this situation?
This crazy hypothesis has a wonderful presentation in the movie “The Matrix”. In the world of The Matrix, AI places humans in a nutrient solution, making humans think that they are living in the real world. The various scenes that humans see, hear, and experience are all faked by AI. So in the coming future of the Metaverse, how can we distinguish reality from it?
We provide an answer to this question: the brain in the tank does not exist. Because to control and present a complete world, the first thing you need is to have a complete and smoothly running set of laws about the operation of reality. This law was called metaphysics by Aristotle, that is, metaphysics. The word is a concatenation of the two words meta (before or beyond) and physics (physics).
Metaphysics aims to study the source of objects and phenomena, which is one of the basic questions of philosophy: why do things exist. But the result of the brain-in-tank hypothesis of the life world will directly lead to unlimited skepticism. That is, if my world is simulated, how does the person who simulates me know that his world is not simulated?
In this regard, borrowing from Husserl’s phenomenology, instead of thinking about the “nesting” of infinite worlds, it is better to suspend the ontology behind the phenomenon and start directly from the intuition of the phenomenon. As a result, the proposition just now has been transformed into a new proposition: a complete order will create a world.
This sentence also means that the matter of our world is created by this order. And this means that no matter what substance is studied, in the end it will be found that it is only the embodiment of the law in space. That is to say, there are only laws in space, matter itself does not exist, and even space itself is the result of laws.
In this way, if all things can only exist under this law, then should the law provide for their own existence? If the law needs to stipulate its own existence, then the rule of law=the rule does not hold. Because the law itself cannot explain what it is, the law must provide for others to realize itself. In this way, the whole world law is an impossible thing, and the brain in the tank is also cracked.
So in turn, how can you be sure that you are not the “brain” in the tank? That’s even simpler. In computer programming, although there will be redundant codes, the presentation and operation of any program must be determined by the rules behind it.
This means that all manifestations (natural phenomena, words, etc.) in this system environment can find the meta-rule of their “birth”. At the same time, this also means that the cryptographic operation of reverse encoding of any phenomenon is feasible, and the encoded meta-rules can interact with each other and generate new expressions according to different derivation methods.
In the 1920s of last century, mathematician Hilber hoped to establish a set of axiom systems in mathematics, so that all mathematical propositions can be inferred from this in principle with a limited number of steps. This is called the “completeness” of the axiom system. Hilbert also requires the axiom system to maintain “independence” (that is, all axioms are independent of each other to make the axiom system as simple as possible) and “non-contradictory” (that is, compatibility, contradictions cannot be derived from the axiom system) .
But G?del’s incompleteness theorem put forward in 1931 directly ��kicked the coffin board” to this idea. To put it simply, G?del’s incompleteness theorem points out: It is impossible to find a universal axiom system that can prove all mathematical truths, but cannot prove any fallacy.
On August 17, 2002, Hawking published a report entitled “G?del and M Theory” at the International String Theory Conference held in Beijing. He believed that it is impossible to establish a single grand unified theory describing the universe. A speculation is also based on G?del’s incompleteness theorem. This means that as long as we are aware of the gap between reality and rules, we can determine that we are not the “brain” in the tank.
Will the real AI be born in the Metaverse?
Is AI a simulation of humans, or a transcendence of humans? The answer to this question today is neither. Today, AI is essentially a “problem robot”.
The birth of AI is due to Alan Turing, the recognized father of modern computer science . In “On the Application of Numerical Computation in Decision-Making Problems” published in 1936, he laid down a strict mathematical definition of “computability” and proposed the famous “Turing machine” concept. It created a theoretical precedent for the emergence of modern computers from mathematical logic.
Another paper “Can Machines Think” discusses AI more directly. In this paper, Turing proposed an experimental method to determine whether a machine has intelligence-Turing test. Subsequently, at the Dartmouth Conference in 1956, the concept of artificial intelligence was proposed. In the following ten years, researchers began to study artificial intelligence technology extensively and achieved the first batch of remarkable achievements. Under the wave of this research , the first industrial robot was born in 1959, and the first chat robot was born in 1964.
However, AI has experienced behaviorism (input command control feedback), symbolic logic (using symbolic operations to simulate human thinking) and until today’s neural network deep learning (using large amounts of data to allow the system to automatically fit the most consistent results) in design ideas. Model), the essence is still a different type of Turing machine.
Turing machine is a virtual machine that can simulate any computer algorithm. Suppose there is a paper tape of unlimited length. Each grid on the paper tape is blank, but data can be read and written to simulate computer memory. Above the paper tape is a machine that can recognize data and react. The machine can only write 0 and 1, or nothing.
This machine has a probe, this head can be moved to every space. According to the different data seen by the probe, the machine can perform three operations. Read the data in the space, edit the data, move the paper tape and then identify the grid next to it. The machine first reads the following data, writes a new data, and then moves the paper tape to the left or right according to the instruction, and then continues to repeat the process. This is a Turing machine with three signals.
To simplify this process, there is a certain algorithm inside the machine. The algorithm will continuously output the answer according to different external stimuli, and then answer the next question until the problem is solved. Even though human beings face and need to solve various problems at all times in their lives, they do not continuously “work out problems” like Turing machines.
Because human beings have subjectivity. AI can actively discover and solve problems and eventually generate self-awareness, which is the ultimate proposition of AI. In other words, the current AI is far from being able to exist as an instrument. The so-called intelligence is nothing more than the intelligence of “problem-making”.
Subjectivity is one of the basic problems of philosophy. This question is the so-called Three Questions of Philosophy that is widely spread, and it is the question of “Who am I, how can I be sure that I am a real existence?” Where Descartes is, Descartes grasps the self-existence behind this “thinking” by grasping the act of creating and thinking by himself, that is, I think and therefore I am (Cogito ergo sum).
Set up transcendental apperception on Kant’s side, and infer the thinking existence behind specific life content by raising people’s perception ability to the dimension of “innate existence”, and finally get subjectivity.
On the other hand, Hegel simply acknowledged the proposition of “subject is entity”, and by extending the dimension of subjectivity to any phenomenon law, it exists as an intermediary connecting the two phenomena. This means that any entity can exist through self-regulation of subjectivity. In this way, people realize that they can grasp their own destiny and finally move towards freedom and liberation.
In short, the difference between humans and AI lies in the fact that humans can force themselves to give orders, such as eating, studying, socializing, and so on. However, in the current way of researching AI, the most advanced end-to-end neural network model can simulate the process of AI autonomous learning features and fitting output results. However, it is still far from AI self-generation awareness. Night Tan.
However, perhaps the Metaverse can give birth to AI in the true sense. The movie “Out of Control Player” tells the story of an NPC character in a virtual game world who awakens one day and decides to save the world. NPC (Non-Player Character) is widely used in games and even in life. Game “King of glory ” which continues to charge the soldier, a dialogue with consumers mentally intelligent customer service can understand that some NPC.
I think the reason why these AIs are not intelligent is that they cannot recognize and participate in the whole world like the protagonist (Guy) in “Out of Control Player”. With this limitation, Metaverse can realize AI’s cognition of the entire world by connecting virtual and reality, thereby having the opportunity to realize the ultimate form of artificial intelligence.
Imagine that in the Metaverse, people use XR (Extended Reality) to give AI the opportunity to access all the data and information of human society. AI can randomly match different associated characteristics and information within the database, and judge whether the results are valid and valid. This kind of AI replaces manual data mining, and with the help of the massive data provided by the Metaverse, it can create roads that humans have never imagined and greatly save testing time.
To know Aidi Students invention bulb test for a variety of materials 1600! Next, AI will design its own sub-AIs that are suitable for a certain problem, and then these different types of AIs can communicate independently in each category. Perhaps one day in the morning, people will find that AI is no longer a man-made machine, but has become a partner that works hand in hand with humans to open up and understand the world.
This dream may be a bit big, but AI large model training is considered a very effective machine learning solution today. This dream may be difficult to realize, but with the continuous advancement of digitization and informatization, AI processing data has become a frontier topic for many AI companies. On the infrastructure of AI operation, AIDC (Intelligent Computing Center), as the intelligent computing power exclusively allocated to AI, is stepping up its rapid construction.
Hegel said that the most concrete form of human expression of our freedom is through the act of will. That is, it is possible to choose between two actions, and this choice is not simply based on one party having greater utility than the other, nor is it the result of a series of emotions and instincts surpassing another series of emotions and instincts, but because An inner freedom to set and adhere to one’s own rules.
The history of mankind is a history of difficult adventures, and the hymn of mankind is the hymn of courage. Many explorers have demonstrated through various risky actions that they can act against the strongest and most basic self-preservation instinct. The battle for human beings to pursue their own freedom and liberation is to let others recognize the fact that I am willing to risk my life, so I am free and a real person.
Metaverse is not a product, nor is it a virtual world controlled by any capital or chaebol. The Metaverse is the expansion of reality, and it is the re-expansion of the world to the understanding of mankind by the free consciousness of mankind.
Even at the present time, the concept of the Metaverse is still fighting over it, and there are even many voices opposed to the Metaverse. For this we use a story as the end of this article:
On June 22, 1633, Galileo knelt in the lobby of the Inquisition, listening to the verdict in the case of his preaching of Copernicus’ solar heart.
“The sun is the center of the world. This claim is absurd and false, a heresy. This claim is equally absurd and false, and it is a false belief.”
“Order Galileo to abandon, curse, and hate the heliocentric heresy. The “Dialogue about the Two Major World Systems” is a banned book. The formal imprisonment is determined by the judge.”
After hearing this, Galileo whispered, “But it’s still moving.”
This article is written on the basis of public information and is only used for information exchange and does not constitute any investment advice.
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