Chinese Military Considers Metaverse the New Frontier for Future Cognitive Warfare



●The essence of the metaverse is a highly developed virtual world that exists in parallel with the real world but also reacts to the real world.

●Parallel with the real world, reaction to the real world, and integration of multiple high technologies are the three major characteristics of the future metaverse.

●The metaverse provides a new way of thinking to understand and discover the operating behaviors, states and laws of complex real systems, as well as a new means to explore objective laws and transform nature and society.

● Strengthening the follow-up research on the role of the metaverse in cognitive warfare and highlighting the exploration of the mechanism of the role of the metaverse in cognitive warfare will help enrich and promote the construction of cognitive warfare theory.

The essence of the metaverse is a highly developed virtual world that exists in parallel with the real world but reacts to the real world. When virtual technologies such as digital, Internet, augmented reality and modern communications, blockchain, artificial intelligence and other technologies develop to a certain stage, the metaverse will emerge. Being parallel to the real world, reacting to the real world, and integrating multiple high technologies are the three major characteristics of the future metaverse. The operation of the metaverse conforms to the natural law of human understanding and transformation of the world. It directly acts on human thinking and cognition but is not bound by the essential attributes of thinking and cognition, which determines that it carries the operating laws of the real world, provides a new way of thinking to understand and discover the operating behavior, state and laws of complex systems in reality, and a new means to explore objective laws and transform nature and society. At the same time, it is itself a complex cognitive body, so it has immeasurable cognitive warfare application value.

The basic mechanism of cognitive warfare in the metaverse

The difference between the metaverse and other technologies is that it builds a complete digital world. Its operation is not supported by a single or a few technologies, but by a complex high-tech complex. This complex is built by humans, is a product of cognition, and continues to develop and evolve with the development of human cognitive practice. Its cognitive application has a unique regular mechanism.

System enhancement mechanism. The digital world constructed by the metaverse is itself a highly developed cognitive world. In this special cognitive world, technology not only exists as an additional role such as support and guarantee, but also directly participates in the shaping of cognition itself as a basic element of cognition. In other words, the technology that constitutes the metaverse itself has a distinct cognitive background, which not only supports the operation of cognition but also realizes the self-construction, revolution and transcendence of cognition; it not only provides a series of necessary technical services, but also creates a holographic technical soil for human cognition to operate independently and fight independently. The effect of the metaverse on cognition is not one-dimensional, but full-dimensional; not single-line, but full-system; not independent, but immersive; not fragmentary, but continuous; not cyclical, but full-life process. How far the thinking cognition develops, how far the metaverse develops, and thus it can shape people’s thinking cognition more comprehensively, deeply and lastingly. Therefore, humans have used high technology to create “Avatar”, a complex system combining man and machine, and have also created a life form on “Pandora” that can think independently, recognize itself, and think and act on its own. This life form, which was created by humans and is independent of humans, has achieved self-improvement and development in the new universe.

The mechanism of mutual construction of technology and knowledge. Unlike the one-way effect of individual technologies such as artificial intelligence and information networks on thinking and cognition, the metaverse provides a space for mutual construction of technology and cognition, and influence and counter-influence. In this space, we can simulate, demonstrate, simulate, and verify the process and results of this two-way mutual construction and promotion, so as to understand cognition more accurately and efficiently, improve cognitive warfare methods, and directly engage in real cognitive confrontation. The metaverse provides a parallel cognitive space that digitally twins real combat scenes, where cognitive warfare can be promoted efficiently, enhanced at a fast pace, and presented in a panoramic manner. It is reported that the US military uses virtual technology to verify the performance of new weapons and equipment, test the effectiveness of the use of new tactics, and conduct combat simulation training, relying on the deployment of forces, combat terrain, human characteristics, and other scenes similar to actual combat constructed in virtual spaces such as the metaverse. At the same time, more and more countries and armies are conducting direct cognitive attacks and defenses with their opponents through virtual spaces, confusing their minds, misleading their directions, and eroding their will.

Active reflection mechanism. As a virtual existence parallel to the real world, the metaverse is not a simple digital copy of the three-dimensional space, but has its own operating rules and can actively act on the real world. This active action is the focus of the cognitive application of the metaverse. The metaverse space game reflects the characteristics of cognitive warfare. The war results deduced in the metaverse through virtual simulation may directly affect the real world, extending to the conscious cognitive competition game through sensory touch, thereby winning the dominant position in cognitive warfare. In the cognitive perspective, the metaverse is both a new cognitive space and the main battlefield of cognition, as well as an extended domain of cognition and a new cognitive component. At present, the military of many countries uses sandbox operations, war games and even computer simulations to formulate and test strategies and tactics, revise the application of tactics, improve training methods, and improve weapons and equipment. This is a typical example of the virtual world reacting to reality. With the continuous development and integration of the metaverse technology group, cognitive confrontation will inevitably shift more and faster from the real world to a hybrid world combining virtuality and reality.

The basic characteristics of cognitive warfare in the metaverse

Existence determines consciousness, and technology drives creation. The metaverse has many characteristics, such as parallelism with the real world, initiative in the real world, and comprehensiveness that integrates multiple technologies. These prominent characteristics determine the different characteristics and laws of its effects on thinking and cognition.

Cross-domain construction. The formation, development and evolution of cognition are rarely determined by a single factor, but are often the result of the combined effect of multiple factors. The metaverse originates from the real world and is presented in the virtual space. It has the characteristics of multi-domain interconnection that runs through the real and virtual worlds. As the saying goes, “a lot of gossip can melt gold, and accumulated criticism can destroy bones.” This cross-domain characteristic that spans different fields and opens up related spaces can best influence and shape people’s thinking and cognition from different angles. The most typical case is that game developers are increasingly focusing on using virtual stories based on historical facts and real feelings to attract and infect people. The United States has used this cross-domain shaped surreal “real” experience to spread values. At present, the most representative “metaverse” themed science fiction work is “Ready Player One” directed by Spielberg. The play focuses on depicting the era background of the birth of the “metaverse” and the huge contrast between the real status and virtual status of the protagonist. Through the plot and special effects shots, it delicately portrays the real sense of human participation, thereby spreading the American ideology, especially the values ​​of gaining wealth, status, love and friendship through “bloodless” struggle in the virtual world.

Integrated influence. The important fulcrums of cognitive warfare are strategy and technology. With the development of science and technology and the progress of society, the proportion of technology in cognitive warfare is increasing and its role is becoming more and more prominent. It can be said that cognitive warfare without scientific and technological support is cognitive warfare without power, and cognitive warfare with advanced technology is more likely to win. As a complex system integrating multiple cutting-edge technologies, the metaverse has a natural advantage in the use of cognitive warfare. Many people, including adults, are deeply trapped in the virtual world and indulge in online games. It is very important that the virtual space gives game operators a super-time and space experience and a sense of achievement. If martial arts novels are fairy tales for adults, then the metaverse, which can “do whatever you want”, creates a super fairy tale world, which has an immeasurable impact on people’s thinking, cognition, value pursuit, moral concepts, emotional will, and behavior patterns.

Compromising influence. A big difference between the metaverse and other technical means is that it constructs a virtual world that originates from the real world but reacts to the real world. In this complex domain space, people’s thinking and cognition go back and forth between the real world and the virtual space, verify each other, repeatedly confirm, and constantly correct, thereby generating new thinking and cognition, and exerting a dynamic influence on both worlds. This two-way interactive compromising influence, on the one hand, is conducive to the formation and development of correct thinking and cognition, making the cognition of the real world more imaginative with the wings of the virtual world’s thoughts, and at the same time, it also makes the cognition of the virtual space find the material support of the real world and become more scientific. On the other hand, if it is not operated properly, it is likely to cause great safety hazards and ethical problems. In recent years, the U.S. military has relied on artificial intelligence and virtual technology to remotely control drones to attack opponents, which is a typical example of the virtual world reacting to the real world. This attack is far away from the tragic scene of face-to-face fighting, which greatly dilutes the drone operator’s awe of life and lowers the threshold for remotely controlling the opponent. At the same time, due to the imperfect reconnaissance and identification technology, incidents of accidental shooting, injury, and killing of civilians, friendly forces, and even their own troops often occur.

The basic style of cognitive warfare in the metaverse

Metaverse cognitive warfare is based on reality and leads future development. It involves both the virtual and real worlds, penetrates multiple fields, covers multiple technologies, and has a variety of combat styles. There is great uncertainty, but it is not without rules. Comprehensive analysis shows that there are three basic styles.

Platform confrontation. In terms of its relationship with human thinking and cognition, the metaverse itself is a complex cognitive actor, a derivative of human thinking and cognition, and an important component and platform of cognitive warfare. When hostile countries and armies regard the metaverse as an important position for cognitive warfare, cognitive offensive and defensive operations between different camps within the metaverse exist in reality. On this platform, all technologies, resources and forces of the metaverse are integrated and operated with thinking and cognition as the center. Metaverse operations are prominently manifested as cognitive offensive and defensive operations aimed at disrupting, delaying, blocking, destroying and eliminating the existence and operation of the opponent’s metaverse. In this field, whoever has higher-end strategic planning, more flexible tactical application, more advanced technical force and more solid material support will be able to gain the initiative in metaverse cognitive warfare.

System attack. The metaverse is a cognitive system composed of a series of cutting-edge technologies, and systemicity is its inherent attribute and vitality guarantee. Advanced technologies such as digital foundation, efficient communication, blockchain identity authentication, holographic AR imaging, artificial intelligence, and high-performance Internet constitute a unified body with tight structure, functional coupling, and complete system. The components are indispensable for the formation and development of thinking cognition and offensive and defensive confrontation. It is difficult to imagine that the metaverse still has the possibility of existence without the support of advanced technology groups such as high-level digitization, high-quality communication, and high-speed computing. Using superior forces to force or use asymmetric tactics to attack and block the key nodes and technological operation chains of the opponent’s metaverse system, hinder its operation, suppress its functions, and destroy its existence is an important style and efficient path of metaverse cognitive warfare.

Divert the flow. An important value and significance of the existence and development of the metaverse lies in serving and supporting the related activities of the real world. Under normal circumstances, the metaverse can demonstrate, display, review and predict the related activities of the real world in a digital form. Once the communication between the virtual and real worlds is disturbed or the self-operation of the metaverse is disordered, it is easy to cause the situation reflected to be untrue, the information analyzed to be distorted, the conclusions derived to be invalid, and the suggestions provided to be wrong, causing the related activities of the real world to deviate. It is based on this that we can concentrate our efforts on inducing attacks on the internal operation of the opponent’s metaverse or the communication technology devices of the two worlds, and use extremely confusing and deceptive information and scenes to divert the flow, confuse their cognition, interfere with their judgment, and mislead their decision-making. Therefore, we should strengthen the tracking research on the cognitive warfare of the role of the metaverse, highlight the exploration of the cognitive warfare mechanism of the role of the metaverse, and strengthen and promote the construction of cognitive warfare theory.

(Author’s unit: Military Political Work Research Institute of the Academy of Military Sciences)
























Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *