Sentences (#17)

Another private conversation hack that says so many good things at once it comes close to rendering me insensible:

There are 100,000 VR hardware companies in China right now, but many of them are going to die …

April 15, 2015admin 15 Comments »
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15 Responses to this entry

  • Brett Stevens Says:

    Castles made of sand…

    I see several industries ready for collapse from irrelevance.

    The first is the Dot-Com 3.0s. Google is now a utility, like running water or electricity. The more they screw with it to maximize dollars, the less it works. All the other stuff and the apps bonanza were just windfalls within the industry.

    Another is the re-financialization industry. Selling debt as assets is dubious in the first place, but we have now taken it to an absurd level based on the assumption that God made the US dollar. Not so.

    And of course, the diversity industry is ready for collapse. It is solely a regulatory creation. The more it is forced on people, the less relevant it seems. I bet we see affirmative action fall in the US, with UK and EU following in a ripple effect, within three years.

    There’s a lot of stuff in tech that is going to die simply because of market consolidation. Tech loves standards. It will reduce fields of thousands of firms to a single standard with a few competitors, like Windows did for operating systems.


    Posted on April 15th, 2015 at 4:11 pm Reply | Quote
  • Kgaard Says:

    The big conflict of this century — both within individuals and within societies — will be where people choose to spend their time: In the virtual world or the “real” world.

    The shocking aspect of the 100,000 data point is simply the AMOUNT of resources Chinese entrepreneurs are throwing at the VR issue. With that kid of intensity, how long, really before we have fully-immersible VR worlds? Perhaps it will come sooner than people expect.

    When cell phones were getting going, you could look at the technology and say, “Everyone in the WORLD is going to have to have this.” And that’s what happened. All projections that called for less than 5 billion people having cell phones were wrong.

    With virtual reality it may be the same: Every projection that assumes less than 5 billion Oculus Rifts (and their competitor devices) are sold may prove to be wrong.

    The knock-on implications of VR are just spectacular. Entire industries will disappear. Television, for starters.

    How long before the airline industry takes a dive? Why go through all the hassle of going somewhere in a plane when you can go there virtually and skim all the best aspects of the experience?

    One industry that VR is really going to spur is AI: For once you have VR the next thing everyone will want is more intelligent and funner imaginary friends to hang out with.


    Bob Reply:

    People already spend an increasing amount of their time in the virtual world via their laptops, smartphones, and the internet.

    The 100,000 figure may be a bit misleading. A lot of them are probably just hackers and tinkerers calling themselves a company without much resources. Nonetheless, there are obviously a lot of people working on VR right now around the world and it’s just a matter of time now before decent VR becomes available.


    Erebus Reply:

    Not even that. The 100k number is clearly a wild exaggeration for effect — hyperbole, in other words…

    Let’s assume that there are a billion people of working age in urban China, which is probably a wild exaggeration in itself. Let’s also assume that there are really 100k VR hardware companies in China. This means that one in every ten thousand persons would need to be the proprietor or CEO of a VR hardware company. Which is, of course, absurd. Even if the majority of them are bedroom-based hackers and tinkerers, it’s still absurd.

    I don’t believe that there are 100k software companies in China, and I don’t believe that there are 10k hardware companies in China. To say nothing of VR-specific companies…

    …Which isn’t to say that it’s not a fast-growing field of considerable interest. I have agree, in large part, with Kgaard: VR is going to be a gamechanger, much like the PC was.


    kgaard Reply:

    Speaking of which, an interesting point Peter Thiel made in that interview in the Chaos Patch was that he is actually bearish on AI, saying it’s not as far along as people think it is, and that not as many people are working on it as one would assume.

    I found that an interesting comment. Though it’s not hard to see that VR is a MUCH easier technical problem to solve than AI.

    The idea of VR as an all-consuming killer app that keeps people locked in their houses for weeks on end will be much reduced if the VR apps don’t come with imaginary friends.

    VR without AI is just … what … a super-high-end video game or porn app? That only gets you a linear increase in popularity over existing paradigms.

    Erebus Reply:


    I don’t think that VR needs AI — as long as people still interact with each other. If there’s one thing our society has excelled at, it’s networked communications and the ability to transmit data quickly through all kinds of optical and wireless schemes. I don’t doubt that in the absence of AI all sorts of VR social networks and gaming communities will emerge. That these communities will generally trend towards puerile, lowest-common-denominator activities and discussions is also probably inevitable. (High tech, low life.)
    …And then, of course, there’ll be various travel, business/conferencing, and retail apps — none of which require strong AI.

    You know, there’s a pretty large multidisciplinary scientific project where computer scientists, cyberneticists, and biologists are trying to simulate the brain of c.elegans — a nematode which has something like 900 neurons. Last I looked into it, about 4 or 5 months ago, they were still nowhere near success. I don’t know what this bodes for the future of AI — but a bearish interpretation is not unwarranted, I think, especially where whole-brain emulation is concerned. At the same time, I think that we may be hitting up against a sort of basic exponential problem where, if the initial solutions can be worked out and all systems fall into place, development could scale upwards very rapidly…

    admin Reply:

    “I don’t know what this bodes for the future of AI …” what it says is that people are capable of doing much more than they can understand. That’s what technology is about.

    Erebus Reply:

    Yeah, by extension — and pardon me for stating the obvious — I think it implies that the first strong/general AIs are going to be quite alien. All indications are that they’re not going to be painstakingly simulated human brains, but something else entirely. It really is very interesting stuff…

    Kgaard Reply:

    Being in finance, I sometimes think I should move out to San Francisco and track the developments in this space full time. If VR + AI is going to totally change the way people live on a day to day basis, any earnings model you make today for a non-VR company (cars, airlines, carpeting, restaurants, you name it) will be fundamentally altered or rendered farcical by a mass gravitation of humans to VR. So why bother working on any other problem?

    Ruco Reply:

    Who or better yet What will determine this skimming process of best experiences? VR tripadvisor?

    For instance I’m in Zermatt at that moment. I really could’ve done without the overseas flight, sleeplessness and Swiss drivers, not to mention the cost incurred. Supplanting myself here through VR would be far more convenient and cost effective but only relative to the general economy we find ourselves in. VR would make this very economy obsolete which would be the immediate game-changing factor.

    Perhaps I’d miss the hassle, perhaps that’s part of the experience. In this case we’ll just have to code in remorse. That’s a form of expertise in which AI’s got nothing on us lumbering humans.


    Hegemonizing Swarm Reply:

    > The big conflict of this century — both within individuals and within societies — will be where people choose to spend their time: In the virtual world or the “real” world.

    Seeing how much time many people spend online, in social networking, MMOs and other games, chats and forums and such, it looks likely what side that conflict will resolve to. Technology successfully substitutes.

    Also the “real” and the virtual are converging, in a sense. Speaking of that, what happened to the Augmented Reality hype? A while ago it was all about AR, with AR apps and of course Google Glass. Now that’s mostly shuttered and the pendulum is at VR again – which brings back memories of the 90’s.

    Of course the VR technology is a lot more advanced today, and more ‘immersive’, so we’ll see if it sticks this time.

    > The knock-on implications of VR are just spectacular. Entire industries will disappear. Television, for starters.

    Netflix and similar companies are already doing a good job there. They may be wiped in turn by VR, but on the other hand, old media hardly ever disappear. For example people still read and write books – more than ever, even.


    Posted on April 15th, 2015 at 4:48 pm Reply | Quote
  • Sentences (#17) | Neoreactive Says:

    […] Sentences (#17) […]

    Posted on April 15th, 2015 at 5:00 pm Reply | Quote
  • Orthodox Says:

    There can be only one! One VR hardware to rule them all, One software to find them,
    One killer app to bring them all and in the darkness bind them


    forkinhell Reply:

    The LOTR stuff got boring even before it started. Can we do something else? I could read Beowulf I suppose.


    Posted on April 15th, 2015 at 5:31 pm Reply | Quote
  • md Says:

    Did VR hardware write that sentence?


    Posted on April 16th, 2015 at 5:12 pm Reply | Quote

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