With so much hype surrounding the Metaverse, I decided it was time to ask one of the world’s experts to explain the concept and separate fact from fiction.
With that in mind, I have invited Michael Kagan, Chief Technology Officer of Nvidia, as a guest on Episode 750 of the CXOTalk Conversation Series on Leadership, Technology, and Change Management. As CTO of Nvidia, Michael coordinates technology architecture across the company, including the Omniverse, their collaboration platform for creating virtual worlds.
For me, the most fascinating parts of the discussion focused on two areas: his explanation of the Metaverse (or Omniverse, to use Nvidia’s term) and his view of data centers as the central unit of modern computing. . Along the way, we also touched on digital twins and the role of cryptocurrencies in the metaverse.
Michael Kagan is an in-depth technologist who has been designing microprocessor chips, starting with Intel, for decades. Despite his engineering roots, Michael explained technology in clear terms to businessmen.
For more on the Metaverse, watch the full conversation in the video embedded above and read his edited comments below.
Being CTO at Nvidia
My charter is to architect through the wealth of Nvidia technologies. This is an incredible opportunity to build 21st century computing. My job as CTO of Nvidia is to architect all technologies.
On the Metaverse or Omniverse
The metaverse is a virtual world. It’s a world where you can make your fairy tales come true. Omniverse is the implementation of this idea.
You can create a virtual world. You can live in the virtual world. You can collaborate in the virtual world across the globe without borders, geographic boundaries, limitations, or language boundaries. You can work together. You can connect this virtual world to the real world and fulfill your fantasies.
One project we’re getting into at Nvidia is to do a simulation of the real world, of the Earth. With the omniverse, you can make history an experimental science.
You can simulate what will happen in the future. For example, how do we deal with global warming and how do we deal with climate change?
Making fairy tales is fine, but you can simulate big projects before building them.
You may have heard that major automakers like BMW work with us. They simulate their big project before building it.
Once we build something, you have a digital twin of that project, whether it’s a data center, whether it’s a manufacturing plant, whether it’s a smart city. You can interact with the digital twin and train your robots in the virtual world to become better robots in the real world.
The omniverse is the future. It’s the bicycle of the imagination or, as Steve Jobs called it, the computing bicycle of the mind. The omniverse is the bicycle of the imagination.
On cloud computing and data centers
Anything that moves will have an AI model that helps it make the decision and react to the conditions that occur. These decisions are yet another learning.
The data center consolidates the learnings and updates the model of the cars, then updates the cars with the new model, which now incorporates the learnings from all the other cars that were running that day. You have perpetual learning at a much higher rate than before.
Cloud computing renders these services [possible]. Computing and storage are the services.
[As an example,] think of Waze as a micro-virtual world of traffic. People who use Waze collaborate with each other. They create this world, this model, and real-time traffic data on the road. They use it and work together. They collaborate (without even knowing each other) by sharing data and letting the data center, the Waze servers in the data center, consolidate the data and use it to direct traffic.
The most amazing thing about Waze is that millions of people are implicitly collaborating with each other and benefiting from that collaboration. This could only be made possible by technology capable of collecting data from millions of sensors, consolidating it and returning information.
The data center is a computer unto itself. It is a single computing unit providing services to billions of users.
Today, the currency is a mutual spreadsheet or a mutual table that is in the bank. You go to the store. You sign a paper and a number passes from one table to another in the bank. You go out with a cart from the store or something.
Currency and money [will] become more and more abstract. money, currency, is analogous to electricity. Electrical energy is of course nothing in itself. But using energy, you can do just about anything you want. I think that’s what happens with currency.
Currently, currencies are associated with countries and there are different exchange rates. It will be interesting to see how this evolves with the digital world, with digital currencies.
Currency and money and finance [will] become more abstract and be a substitute that you can use to build or consume and craft things.