Global technology competition between the US and China has created its own Cold War-like dichotomy: the West’s open entrepreneurial model versus China’s top-down state control.
What does this mean for the metaverse, a technology whose promises are based on its openness and interconnected character?
While American tech giants like Microsoft and Meta are competing to build their virtual presence, Chinese firms are in a similar race. Companies such as Creator of TikTok ByteDance and search giant Baidu have invested heavily in both the hardware (headsets, cameras, I think) and software (games and live entertainment) that will make the metaverse “work.”
If the metaverse takes the form of the interconnected virtual world that its creators envision, then this could happen in a number of ways. It may have discrete “spheres of influence” like in the real world of geopolitics, or more likely, it may have a hard split – with the Chinese version behind the same “great firewall” that keeps its current digital infrastructure largely isolated. from the rest of the world.
In any case, what exactly is a “metaverse with Chinese characteristics”? Watch as?
Hanyu Liu is an analyst at Daxue Consulting, a firm that has carefully studied the advancement of Chinese tech companies into the metaverse and the corresponding government response. Having studied the digital landscape of the country, he sees that its virtual dimension is developing in many ways similar to the development of the Chinese state itself.
“They will take the path of centralization,” Liu said. He cited Baidu’s XiRang platform, a 3D environment that provides the same level of virtual immersion as popular American platforms like Facebook Horizons or games like Roblox or Minecraft, but most importantly, offers they are not customizable.
“In the West, the metaverse will be very interconnected and promoted by users, while in China it will be very isolated and there will be almost no connection between them,” Liu said. status quo for China and the US on the Internet in general: Facebook itself has been blocked for the country for more than a decade, and China’s “Great Firewall” is built on a staggering level of government control, censorship and surveillance this ousted many American technology companies. (The Chinese government also cracked down hard about video games, around which a huge part of the emerging metaverse revolves today.)
“A lot of the conversations that come up in the metaverse are about ‘national security’, and ‘national security’ in China basically means ‘talk about things you’re not supposed to,'” Liu said. Chinese censors can, for example, monitor voice chats between teammates in a multiplayer video game.
Even though the Chinese metaverse is under government control, it may develop faster. Take the most fundamental concept of the metaverse: the integration of physical and digital life. Apps like Alipay and WeChat are almost completely replaced cash in China, which means that the country’s more than a billion potential users are already intimately familiar with the seamless digital transactions that Western Web3 mavens consider the backbone of the virtual world.
” super app The ecosystem in China is a huge advantage over the US,” Liu said, noting that apps like Alipay already function more or less like a metaverse in their own right, enabling everything from personal delivery to movie rentals—an ideal conceptual framework for the all-encompassing virtual world that the architects of the metaverse envision.
And as busy as China’s gaming industry is, there are plenty of other potential uses for metaverse technology, especially when it comes to entertainment given the country’s recent boom.”virtual idols”, “Or computer-generated singers and models. At the end of 2021, Chinese tech giant Tencent held the first in China virtual music festivalwhich reportedly attracted 100,000 concurrent users at its peak.
Not bad, considering just last month China’s top anti-money laundering regulator singled out the metaverse and NFT for verification. Like everything else in the world of technology, China’s metaverse will be under the same control of the state, as well as the hype and financing of the private sector.
“It will be pretty isolated,” Liu said. “It will look completely different than how it will work in the West.”
In today’s Power Switch Newsletter, Arianna Skibell of POLITICO describes the resurgence of interest in carbon capture and storage, a technological solution to climate change with major implications. long and complicated historywith several notable setbacks and disputes over how much carbon it can deflect.
The resurgence of carbon capture is inspired by a recent Supreme Court ruling in West Virginia vs. EPA, where it limited the agency’s ability to regulate power plants’ carbon emissions. With that in mind, what about some of the other proposed future technologies to address climate change?
- Cloud Lightening: Some scientists have proposed pumping sea salt into the sky, which would brighten the clouds and therefore reflect more solar radiation back into space. Group of climatologists wrote in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences this year suggest that further research is possible, but only with a series of checks on technical feasibility and potential financial costs that will provoke their abandonment.
- Space Bubbles: Last month, a group of MIT researchers proposed sci-fi solution placing a shield of artificial bubbles the size of Brazil between the earth and the sun, the better it will reflect warming in a similar way to a cloud brightening strategy – and with much less risk to the earth itself. (The proposal sounds promising and risk-free, but is still not fully tested and will require a lot more research to even get started.)
- Tree planting: Mass planting of foliage that will suck carbon out of the atmosphere, including the well-known goal of the green planting movement. trillion treesis a popular and simple solution to the problem of climate change, but it is still unclear how and if this goal can be measured at all.
Scandalous artificial intelligence company Clearview was subject to another major fine and national ban as Greek regulators ruled on the company. published today.
The core of the Clearview controversy has to do with face recognition technology, which cleans up public databases en masse to identify people without their consent. Among the nations that decide it’s decisive not good:
Francewho ordered him delete all data against its citizens in December; Italywhich did the same in februaryby imposing a fine of 20 million euros on the company; in United Kingdomwhich released £7.5 million fine in May; Australiawhich prohibited the collection of data on individuals and ordered him to destroy In November; as well as Canadawho was ahead of the game and banned the company in July 2020.
in United Statesthe company settled with the ACLU in May and agreed to ban use of its database by private enterprises. Of course, it is one thing to ban it, but quite another to enforce it. Lucy Audibert of Privacy International told me in May since the UK ban, the volume of Clearview data collection is so massive and indiscriminate that it is likely impossible to single out citizens in their database affected by such bans.
- Advanced batteries for electric vehicles can transform Transport landscape.
- Mining industry automation could be the driving force demand for… miners.
- The creators of DALL-E sift image requests submitted by users.
- What does artificial intelligence do Tell us about the real (read: human) version of said intelligence?
- It is becoming increasingly difficult for scientists to collaborate on a global scale, and this may a big problem to solve, well, big problems like climate change.