On July 16, Taihe Institute and the SCOLAR Network jointly organized a panel on the Metaverse. The event, titled “Metaverse or MEHtaverse: Is Metaverse an escapist world of lying flat 2.0?” hosted three prominent speakers: Tang Xingtong, Biman Najika Liyanage, and Jiang Qidi, who shared their thoughts on the topic from three different perspectives.
Tang Xingtong, a Fellow of Taihe Institute, thinks Metaverse is a business concept. Humans are in the migration process, moving from the physical world into a cyber realm, a new domain where both physical and digital spaces co-exist. The key element driving the transition from the physical world to cyberspace is the rise of the Internet and its transformation into society. Changes to the social environment inevitably lead to a change in the social rubric. The rules that govern traditional human society may not work for a digital one. Thus, it is necessary to reconsider or rebuild traditional approaches to perceptions of the world in a digital age. Shortly, to enhance one’s competitiveness and gain a favorable position, it is crucial to familiarize themselves with the new social context and the rules that govern digital society. Only by understanding the rules governing digital society can people accrue benefits and reap richer rewards socially and commercially.
Biman Najika Liyanage, Co-Founder of Wonder Technologies, shared with the audience that he has been researching and working on large-scale commercial applications about digital twins and human behavior for the past 10 years. The Metaverse concept differs for different cultures and countries because no unified definition exists. He walked the participants through the history and the development of Web 1.0 to today’s Web 3.0 concerning the technology transformations and value systems, explaining the key features of each of the stages. Biman believes that Metaverse is a space where humans enter as guests, not creators, especially considering how AI is taking the role of a creator with recent advancements in projects like DALLE-2. We need to give time and opportunity for AI to understand humans better; that could be the recipe for living in harmony with technology. He has also advised the participants to focus on what individuals are passionate about and not just follow the trends but to use technology as a tool and be mindful when interacting with them.
Jiang Qidi, Chief Strategy Officer of GSDATA Innovation Institute, introduced the achievements and challenges faced by China in building a convenient, open, and economical Metaverse virtual space from a technical point of view. Referring to “Yuanwa”—a virtual human platform developed by GSDATA, Jiang introduced the three key points of building the Metaverse: Human, Goods, and Space. Human refers to virtual humans that can perform or partially perform human activities like humanoid robots. So far, Yuanwa has several avatars available on the market. Users can choose their avatars according to different scenarios to have virtual meetings, live streams, etc. Goods refer to how people conduct social and commercial behaviors in the Metaverse, often known as digital assets. At present, secondary transactions of digital assets are not allowed in China. Space refers to the environment where people conduct social behaviors in the Metaverse. The “Infinity Tower”, for example, is a platform developed by GSDATA that incorporates “people” and “goods” into the smart space that enables its users to perform social activities and manage their digital assets.
The event ended with an interactive Q&A session, where participants raised more questions on the current and future states of the Metaverse and its impact on our daily life.
Moments of the Event
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Taihe Institute (TI) is an independent think-tank headquartered in Beijing with research centers in the U.S. and Germany. Housing more than 130 fellows whose expertise covers five research areas: international relations, religion, education and culture, economy, and science and technology, TI aims to facilitate mutual appreciation between civilizations and promote global peace and development. Our major research output can be accessed on the TI library’s TI website and the monthly English publication TI Observer.