With the announcement of Facebook’s official name change to “Meta”, the rapidly popular concept of “metaverse” has once again set off a wave of attention. What is the Metaverse? Under the heat, is the Metaverse a “wind outlet” or a “tiger mouth”? How should we rationally view the metaverse? Recently, Li Yang, an associate professor at Cheung Kong Graduate School of Business, analyzed issues related to the Metaverse.
What is the “metaverse”?
The term “metaverse” has received a lot of attention recently, but in fact, the metaverse is not a new concept.
Li Yang pointed out that the term “metaverse” is translated from the English “Metaverse”, which was first coined by American writer Neal Stephenson in his science fiction novel “Avalanche” published in 1992 (meta+universe). ). This time Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced that Facebook has officially changed its name to “Meta”, the word “Meta” is taken from the prefix of “Metaverse”.
Li Yang introduced that the word “meta”, in addition to the translation of “yuan”, actually also contains the meaning of “transcendence” and “after”. For example, “metaphysics” (metaphysics) has a meaning beyond the material world itself.
”If you want to translate it more vividly, the metaverse or postuniverse may better reflect the difference between the metaverse and our current real world. It is beyond our reality and observable universe and virtual world, it is an artificially created illusion of a digital world. and mapping.” Li Yang said.
Just like the metaverse described by Neil Stephenson in the novel “Avalanche”, as long as people put on headphones and eyepieces and find the connection terminal, they can enter a virtual space simulated by a computer and parallel to the real world in the form of a virtual avatar.
Regarding the concept of “metaverse”, Li Yang admitted that there is currently no unified definition. In his view, the metaverse actually describes a vision of the future world after the development of digital technology: a world where the boundaries between the virtual world and the real world are further blurred.
How far is the Metaverse Era?
Li Yang pointed out that in order to create a “reality” comparable to the real world, the Metaverse not only needs to focus on the “five senses” of the human body (sight, hearing, taste, touch, and feeling), but also the reality of the environment and social experience. sense. This requires different cutting-edge technologies behind the scenes, involving VR (Virtual Reality), AR (Augmented Reality) technology, as well as big data, transmission technology, edge computing, cloud computing, graphics computing, AI (artificial intelligence), etc.
”It requires a high degree of integration of a variety of cutting-edge related technologies to be realized, but now it seems that we are far from reaching this stage.” Li Yang said.
Since the metaverse is still far from us, why is this concept suddenly spreading widely during this time? Li Yang analyzed many reasons.
First, from a technical perspective, the Metaverse is relevant to certain current technological aspects. Such as VR, AR, artificial intelligence, graphics computing, etc. that we are familiar with. In other words, many of the current cutting-edge digital technologies belong to the technical details of the metaverse.
Secondly, it carries the expectation and sustenance for the future Internet form. At present, after the brutal growth of the global Internet industry, it has ushered in greater pressure from supervision and public opinion, and it is necessary to seek new opportunities for development.
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Finally, from the perspective of the general environment, due to the continuous impact of the new crown pneumonia epidemic, more and more work is done online, and the boundaries between reality and virtual are increasingly blurred. While the epidemic has accelerated the integration of online and offline, it has also become a reason for people to discuss the future world.
From the perspective of potential application scenarios, Li Yang pointed out that the virtual economy and game industry are currently relatively close to the application scenarios of the Metaverse. In this regard, the commercialization of the Chinese market is also in a leading position relative to other countries. If the metaverse is realized in the future, the Chinese game industry may usher in new opportunities.
“Outlet” or “Tiger’s Mouth”?
While the concept of Metaverse is hot, it also drives the rise of related concept stocks, which seems to have become an important investment outlet overnight. But there are also voice reminders to beware of the “wind” becoming “tiger’s mouth”.
”Almost every time a big concept or a global concept appears, there will be similar capital market fluctuations, such as the blockchain bubble a few years ago.” In Li Yang’s view, this is just “the constant repetition of history”.
In terms of investment, he emphasized that when making judgments, institutions with professional investment experience will pay more attention to the evidence and details of investment, and will not be easily influenced by illusory concepts. In addition, in the current epidemic environment, economic uncertainty is increasing, and investors need to view the concept of bubbles more rationally and cautiously, and do not forget the basic logic of the market and economics.
In his view, there is still a long way to go before realizing a true parallel virtual world. When investors bet on concepts related to the metaverse, they must clearly recognize the hidden risks, which include not only the risk of public opinion bubbles, but also economic risks, regulatory issues, and ethical constraints. and other series of issues.
Li Yang said that a few years ago, the blockchain was also popular in the market and capital, but it turned out that there are still many immature links that need to be improved. In the same way, the related technologies behind the Metaverse are still in an immature development stage, and they are also facing the test of “history repeating itself”.