Interview with Jensen Huang: The physical world and the metaverse can be connected

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Jensen Huang, CEO of Nvidia, has been talking about the metaverse for years. It has little to do with the company’s revenue, which is driven by sales of AI and graphics chips and reached $ 6.51 billion in the last quarter.

But Huang likes to inspire his engineers with the idea that their advances in AI and their graphic innovations will one day bring us the metaverse, the universe of virtual worlds that are all interconnected, as in novels such as Snow accident and Loan Player One. Huang said that “we live in science fiction” considering all the technological advancements made possible by advancements in Moore’s Law and accompanying software updates.

I like this stuff. But it surprised me when a financial analyst asked Huang on an earnings call about the Metaverse and Nvidia’s version, the Omniverse. I joked with Huang about whether Omniverse or cryptocurrency mining is more responsible for Nvidia’s revenue. The truth is of course much more mundane, as it’s the graphics and AI chips that drive the sales. But inspiration is important, and hearing Huang’s take on the future is just as interesting, or probably more so, than talking about the latest quarterly news.

Huang was shortlisted by his peers to receive the semiconductor industry’s top honor, the Robert N. Noyce Award at the upcoming Semiconductor Industry Association in November. I spoke with him about the Metaverse and a few other topics this week. And for the record, we’re having another GamesBeat Summit: Into the Metaverse event in January.

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Here is an edited transcript of our interview.

Above: Jensen Huang is the CEO of Nvidia. He gave a virtual address at the recent GTC event.

Image Credit: Nvidia

GamesBeat: Congratulations on your [Robert N.] Noyce Award.

Jensen Huang: Good thanks alot. But I was going to congratulate you on coming up with that perfect phrase, the “metaverse for engineers”. I tell people all the time that you can say all the right things, but the ability to distill something into one sentence and capture the whole essence of it is so wonderful. You did it. Metaverse for engineers.

[I think that came from an interview I did with Omniverse guru Richard Kerris of Nvidia, and I can’t remember who actually said it first].

GamesBeat: I was waiting for the day when the analysts were going to ask you about the metaverse. I don’t think they have already.

Jensen Huang: Ha. I know! I was actually quite surprised. I was going to say something at the end anyway, because it’s one of the most important things we do. It’s a bit like the start of the Internet. People did not understand it then. No one had spent so much time with it. Time has proven otherwise. The same will happen to the Metaverse and the Omniverse.

A lot of people think that – when you say “metaverse” they imagine putting on VR headsets, but that’s obviously not all. You can do it, but you can also enjoy it in 2D. One of my favorite ways to enjoy the Metaverse is a whole bunch of robots in the Metaverse that work and communicate with robots that are outside of the physical world. The only thing that passes are just ones, zeros and messages. The physical world and the metaverse can be connected in different ways. It doesn’t just have to be humans. It can be machine to machine.

GamesBeat: Well, we’re having another Metaverse talk in January.

Huang: We will then have beautiful things to show.

Nvidia's Omniverse is a way to collaborate in simulated worlds.

Above: Nvidia’s Omniverse is a way to collaborate in simulated worlds.

Image Credit: Nvidia

GamesBeat: Now that the Blender community has arrived, I wonder if there’s a porous line between the engineering side of the Metaverse and Omniverse, and the consumer side as well.

Huang: When I think of Omniverse, I see it as a metaverse for engineers and designers. It is connected to the metaverse of consumers. It’s porous that way. But the question is, just like with the Internet, you can have consumer sites, industrial sites, corporate sites. They can be connected in one way or another. I see it pretty much the same way. But the main use of Omniverse, I think, is going to be for digital artists doing things that are pretty good, where they need a lot of technology to do it. Everything has to be simulated from scratch, as its creation is otherwise too difficult. And industrial use. This is where I see our solid foundation today.

GamesBeat: I have a quick trick question. Does the Omniverse or Cryptocurrency have more to do with your good quarterly financial results?

Huang: He h. Or! As you know, our results are driven by, number one, artificial intelligence. Deep learning moving from research to applied engineering: When deployed, deep learning models are so computationally intensive that accelerating with our GPUs is the right approach. We are seeing a very large-scale deployment, scaling and scaling of deep learning AI models.

The second driver is the one that you and I love that we really care about, namely gaming, and all the derivatives markets associated with gaming like digital art and computer graphics for workstations. Everything is derived from that. So the first is AI and the second is RTX. It resets around 20 years of infographics and 20 years of Nvidia’s installed base. We have to evolve a lot of people in the RTX world, whether they are gamers, designers or artists.

BMW Group is using Omniverse to build a digital factory that will reflect a real world location.

Above: BMW Group uses Nvidia’s Omniverse to build a digital factory that will reflect a real-world location.

Image Credit: Nvidia

The third concerns autonomous systems. The point is that whatever moves will be autonomous. Planes, trains, automobiles, trucks, shuttles, last mile delivery, pick-and-placers. Entire retail stores will be self-sufficient. They will even do the trick. A retail store will show up at your doorstep, a robotic retail store. Logistics warehouses – even the buildings will be self-contained. The world of autonomous machines is experiencing extraordinary turmoil. The number of robotics startups we work with around the world is in the hundreds.

These are the three dynamics: AI services and AI applications, [GeForce] RTX and raytracing, then autonomous machines. And then I hope they all meet in Omniverse, which I really believe. Everything will converge in Omniverse. This is where all of this work we do will be created, tested, simulated and deployed.

GamesBeat: Is game demand the challenge, or is it still some sort of component shortage?

Huang: Our problem is that the overall demand for RTX is really, really high. We just announced that our workstation business – it’s an industry, a business that’s been around for 35, 40 years. We just had a record quarter and a record quarter by far. Our games business is growing fantastically, and now people are working on cloud graphics for desktop applications, PCs, and games. The graphics go to the cloud. All three are doing well. I think we’re going to be limited by demand for a while.

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