The American social media Facebook company recently announced that it plans to hire 10,000 highly skilled talents in EU countries to create a “meta universe” within 5 years. This is the latest step in the world’s technology giants to deploy a “meta universe”. What is “meta universe”? How does it evolve from the concept in science fiction to the technological direction of the key layout of the technology giants? What changes will it bring to our lives?
From science fiction to reality
“Meta universe” was originally a concept derived from science fiction and movies. The listing of Robles Games in the United States in March of this year triggered a real “meta universe” boom, and some domestic and foreign technology giants and capital rushed in. Robles Game is a sandbox game popular among teenagers. Players can develop various small games on its cloud platform.
“Meta universe” is composed of “meta” (transcendence) and “universe” (universe), that is, “world beyond the universe”. The Oxford Dictionary defines it as a virtual reality (vr) space in which users can interact with computer-generated environments and other people.
About 30 years ago, American science fiction writer Neil Stephenson’s novel “Avalanche” created the concept of “meta universe”, which refers to a computer-generated virtual world. The protagonist of the novel is a pizza delivery person who shares a small warehouse with others in reality, but when he connects himself to the “meta universe”, he moves into a virtual mansion. In the “meta universe”, everyone has their own “digital avatar”.
The movie “Number One Player” intuitively showed the audience the form of realizing the “meta universe”. Wearing a VR helmet can enter the “Oasis” virtual world, where there is a complete virtual social form, including digital content and digital products of various industries. The protagonist can not only “see”, but also perceive the physical pain caused by conflict in the virtual world through the somatosensory suit.
Bashuki, CEO of Robles Games, put forward the 8 elements required for “meta universe”: identity, friends, immersion, low latency, diversification, access anytime and anywhere, economic system and civilization. Based on this standard, the “meta universe” should be a virtual world parallel to the real world, with a fully functioning social and economic system, and people in reality can enter virtual space and time in the form of “digital avatars” and obtain as close as possible to the real world. Experience. Users can entertain, socialize, consume, and create content in the “meta universe”.
Why ushered in the boom
The industry generally believes that 2021 is the “first year of the’meta universe'”, and it has been five years since 2016, known as the “first year of virtual reality”. Will the so-called “first year of’Meta Universe'” mean “old wine in new bottles”? Perhaps a glimpse from the latest plans of related technology companies.
Facebook CEO Zuckerberg stated in July this year that “Meta Universe” will become the “successor” of the mobile Internet. I believe that Facebook will “transform from a social media company to a “Meta Universe” in the next five years. company”. Microsoft CEO Nadella said in May this year that the company is working hard to create an “enterprise meta-universe.” The United States Yingpei Games Company also stated that it has raised $1 billion in funds for the development of “Meta Universe” related products.
The industry does not yet have a recognized definition of “metauniverse”, and companies have various ways to shape “metauniverse”. The global chip giant Nvidia has developed a real-time simulation and collaboration platform omniverse for exploring the “meta universe.” Japanese vr developer hashilus opened the “meta universe” browser “mecha bath” in August this year, allowing users to enter a virtual space with a large number of real-time online participants directly from the web browser.
“Technology is eager for new products, capital is looking for new exports, and users are looking forward to new experiences”-this is the main reason why the concept of “Meta Universe” is booming. Compared with the “first year of virtual reality”, the expansion of demand and the blessing of new technologies make the concept of “meta universe” more reliable.
At the demand level, the new crown epidemic has weakened people’s connections in the physical world and strengthened the demand for virtual interaction. The “2020-2021 Metaverse Development Research Report” recently released by the New Media Research Center of Tsinghua University pointed out that under the epidemic isolation policy, the length of time spent online in the whole society has increased significantly, and the “home economy” has developed rapidly.
At the technical level, technologies such as virtual reality, augmented reality (ar), 5g, artificial intelligence, and blockchain are the basis for the development of “meta universe”. Among them, interactive technologies such as ar and vr and hardware devices are the key to entering the “meta universe”. At present, many companies have launched consumer-level VR headsets. Wearing them to play immersive games and online virtual social interaction have all been realized.
Still in the “breastfeeding period”
The endless emergence of “metauniverse” applications has a tendency of “squandering flowers and fascinating eyes”, but the technical level, content supply and user experience are still in their infancy. New economy investment agency Yikai Capital believes that “Meta Universe” is still in the “breastfeeding period”, and short-term breakthroughs are still games, social interactions and immersive content. This is the core demand of users at the moment, and then can gradually expand the extension through the advantage of traffic and form an ecosystem. .
In the long run, the “meta universe” may eventually give birth to a new type of social relationship integrating online and offline. Professor Shen Yang, executive director of the New Media Research Center of Tsinghua University, told reporters that the “meta universe” on the one hand expands the dimension of human existence, and people will live in a comprehensive environment where the real world and the virtual world are integrated; on the other hand, it expands the human senses. Dimension brings the comprehensive senses that combine the visual, auditory and tactile senses of reality and virtual world.
“Looking forward to the future, online and offline will be completely connected, human real life will begin to migrate to the virtual world on a large scale, and humans will become real and digital’amphibious species’.” He said.
The landing of any emerging technology will be accompanied by unknown risks and challenges. Shenyang believes that with the deepening of the integration of virtuality and reality, new types of illegal crimes in the “meta universe” may pose a huge challenge to supervision. In addition, the boundaries between play and labor in the “meta universe” are blurred, and the leisure time of game players is taken up by the technology platform.
Experts also believe that in the future cross-enterprise “meta universe”, a fair third-party platform is needed to confirm the rights of users’ digital assets in order to implement cross-enterprise applications. For example, clothes bought in game a are also used in game b. Wearable, the user’s “digital avatar” can also be unified and interoperable on different platforms.
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