Статья 'Анализ военных метавселенных: на примере США, Индии и Китая' - журнал 'Мировая политика' - NotaBene.ru
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World Politics

Analysis of Military Metaverses: the Case of the USA, India and China

Vinogradova Ekaterina Alekseevna

ORCID: 0000-0001-8055-6612

PhD in Politics


141207, Russia, MO, Pushkino, 3rd Nekrasovsky ave., 3. bldg. 1. sq. 21










Abstract: The era of digital revolution and introduction of artificial intelligence in political, economic, military and social spheres have created conditions for emergence of a new form of informational and communicative interaction in society, the so called metaverse. The theory of parallel virtual worlds, described by science fiction writers in the 20th century, has been put into practice by major technological giants in the 21st century. From 2019 to 2022, global technology corporations have begun to develop industry-specific metaverses aimed at further digitalising economic, political, military and social spheres of life. Military rivalries and the rapid arms race, which have spawned new global conflicts, have contributed to emergence of the military metaverses and new types of weapons rooting from the use of artificial intelligence and advanced VR-technologies. This article presents an analysis of military metaverses, new types of weapons made with the use of artificial intelligence technologies.


China, US, India, metaverse, cognitive warfare, artificial intelligence, digitalization, intelligence, network society, virtualization

This article is automatically translated. You can find original text of the article here.


The first quarter of the XXI century marked an accelerated transition from a post-industrial to a networked society.

The new era of the Internet and the Covid-19 pandemic has pushed global communication processes to virtualize global public life and changed international trends in foreign policy interaction.

The information technology revolution has helped developing countries such as China and India to become key players in the market of digital and information and communication services, receiving huge dividends and competently building a digital economy.

At the same time, the new arms race and the world conflicts that followed it accelerated the process of creating military information and communication centers developing new types of weapons based on artificial intelligence (AI).

The strategic communication of the leading world powers is based on the creation of a new generation of weapons aimed both at protecting national interests and at using information and cognitive military practice in foreign policy activities.

The methodology of this study is based on a systematic approach to assessing the role of military metaverses, as well as on the analysis of new types of weapons created with the help of AI.

The study used the following group of sources.

1) Official publications of military departments and state bodies, statistical data, interviews of military experts and commanders.

2) Research articles by the world's leading experts in the field of the study of metaverses and artificial intelligence, mass media.




One of the most important directions of modern digital communication is the creation of metaverses.

The term "metaverse" was first used in the science fiction novel "Snow Disaster", written by Neil Stevenson in 1992. In the novel, real people communicate with virtual people through virtual reality (VR) devices[1] in a virtual space called the metaverse.

In 1999, the Wachowski brothers' film "The Matrix" had a great impact on culture and brought the topic of simulated reality to the fore. In this picture, many characters were completely unaware that they were not living in reality, but in a fully simulated virtual world.

In 2018, the cult fantasy film "Get Ready for the First Player", shot by the legendary director Steven Spielberg, was released on the screens. He touched upon a very important and relevant topic today: "the virtual world", which, according to many researchers, pushed the Internet industry to create the concept of the metaverse and digital avatars[2].

However, several decades before the term "metaverse" appeared in the United States, there was already a broad concept of interconnected virtual worlds.

The term "virtual reality", which appeared in 1984, is attributed to Jaron Lanier, founder of VPL Research.

In 1978, Air Force Captain Jack Thorpe published an article describing a network of network simulators for distributed mission planning. Thorpe continued to lead DARPA's SIMNET program, which by the end of the 1980s had resulted in the creation of more than 200 local and global network simulators[3] of tanks and aircraft launched in the United States and Europe.[9]

There are several interpretations of the term metaverse in the scientific literature.

According to the definition of most theorists and developers, the metaverse is a centralized virtual world that exists parallel to the "physical world". [2, p.5] This theory is adhered to by Colonel and senior researcher of the Center for the Study of Land Warfare of India Gurpreet Singh Bajwa, American military analyst John Bauman [3], Chinese scientist Wang Bing. [20]  

Another research group, which includes the president and co-founder of the VetCoin Foundation, Aaron Bazin [4], adviser to the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Italy, Fabio Vanorio [16], Chinese researcher Yujun Huang, attribute the metaverse to a multi-user environment [18, p.2], combining physical reality with digital reality.

A number of Chinese scientists and economists note that the metaverse is a new Internet concept aimed at modernizing the digital economy. [22]

The author of this study defines the metaverse as an artificial virtual information and communication environment created to accelerate the digital pace in the economy, politics and social sphere.

       Chinese researchers identify four key elements that influenced the creation of the metaverse:

· increase in the number of Internet users;

· long time to attract investments;

· active virtual economy;

· standards and protocols for interoperability. [23]

To date, in countries such as the USA, China, India, South Korea, Japan, several industry metaverses are being developed aimed at communicating certain groups of target audiences.

The supercomplex of existing metaverses consists of many advanced technologies. Content production relies on AI and digital twin technology. Blockchain technology is used for the mechanism of storing and authenticating information[4]. AI, cloud computing[5] and cloud storage technology[6] are used for data processing.

The construction of a network environment is based on 5G technology[7]. Virtual-real interaction and communication use human perception, 3D rendering,[8] augmented reality[9], brain-computer interface,[10] robotics. [23]

In the period 2020-2023, there is an active increase in the investment activity of virtual real estate.

According to Newzoo, 78% of the Chinese target audience is interested in communication in the virtual world. In the USA, this figure is 57%, in the UK 47%.[6]  

A few years ago, Facebook acquired Oculus, a manufacturer of virtual reality devices for deeper development of VR and augmented reality (AR) technologies [11].

Epic Games also stated that they raised $1 billion to create a metaverse, and Sony invested $200 million to support the Epic concept.

Chinese tech giants Baidu Inc, Alibaba Group Holding Ltd and Tencent Holdings Ltd, are among the top 10 firms worldwide that have filed the largest number of patent applications for VR and AR over the past two years. In 2019, most of these developments were successfully implemented in the areas of retail shopping, education, games, marketing, media and industrial production. By the end of 2020, China's VR industry alone accounted for about 44 percent of the global market with an estimated value of $8 billion. [6]   

International tensions and a rapid arms race in the period 2019-2022 actualized the creation of military metaverses aimed at modernizing and coordinating the army in the United States, China, South Korea, India and other countries.


VR and AR reality have been successfully launched into regular elements of US military training over the past two decades.

The first prototypes of modern VR technologies were used by the United States back in the 1990s during the Gulf War.The U.S. Army bombed and shelled Iraq from miles away using digital maps and television screens.

Currently, the Predator Mission Aircrew Training System (PMATS) and operator pilots' workstations use a more immersive and advanced version of the Gulf War for reconnaissance and elimination of threats from a distance of several miles, developed in the laboratory using a video signal and augmented multilayer digital maps.[17, p.88]   

In 2000, Army Brigadier General William Glazer (Florida) created an environment for virtual army training (STE), which can be considered a prototype of the first military metaverse.

STE is a virtual training environment that complements live training and simulates combat scenarios for the army in any geographical area in which soldiers may find themselves. According to information posted on the army's website, it combines "a live, virtual and constructive learning environment into a single network." [14]  

In 2002, the US Department of Defense created a committee for modeling military operations.

In the same year, the popular game America's Army was launched in the United States, developed by the command to attract talented young people to the armed forces. [12]  

ESports is a continuation of this trend. Each service now boasts its own team that participates in national and international video game competitions.

Thus, the US Department of Defense has more opportunities to attract potential fighters through esports[12] and advertising.

For example, the Air Force Gaming community has already taken the first step towards uniting Air Force personnel in a digital environment through video games, providing opportunities for leadership development, teamwork, morale building and mental health support for military personnel.

With the advent of massively multiplayer online role-playing games, leaders often appear in the gaming environment who have the skills that are applicable in a corporate environment. The metaverse can also provide alternative ways to identify future military leaders.

In the absence of combat operations, virtual experiments allow the military to go beyond the existing reality and, ideally, imagine new concepts of military operations.

The US military successfully uses the Distributed Interactive Simulation (distributed interactive simulation) and High Level Architecture (high-level architecture) standards to integrate disparate training simulators, allowing the military to design the course of the battle in virtual space. A technology company, Improbable has created entire virtual battlefields.

One of the approaches of digital engineering – model–based system engineering - has helped the US Department of Defense to increase the speed of design and development of major weapons systems. For example, the Air Force's ground-based strategic deterrence megaproject uses model-based systems engineering to quickly evaluate billions of scenarios, which helps procurement specialists determine the exact design and placement of munitions in nuclear bunkers. [12]  

In 2014, the Office of Naval Research and the Department of Defense-affiliated Institute of Creative Technologies at the University of Southern California presented the BlueShark project. [8] This is a VR project that demonstrated a virtual world that allows sailors to control a ship with 3D situational awareness and repair ships by collaborating with a designer from a distance.

To date, innovative VR developments have been implemented and launched for use in the military metaverse:

·         High-tech helmets for the new F-35 fighter jets;

·         The Avenger project, which is used to train pilots of the US Navy; [9]

· VR will be used to work with post-traumatic stress in hospitals for veterans.

AR Red 6 technology was used in October 2020 to test the collision of a real fighter pilot with an AI-controlled aircraft, as part of a study of aerial combat by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA).

The combination of AR, AI and VR video games allowed fighter pilots to practice air combat with virtual opponents, including Chinese and Russian aircraft.

The company Red 6, which developed this technology, believes that it gives a much more complete assessment of the pilot's abilities than a traditional flight simulator. "We can create a threat to any opponent,"[10] says Red 6 founder and CEO Daniel Robinson. "And this threat can be controlled either by a person remotely or by artificial intelligence." [10]

EpiSci has developed an AI pilot who, through trial and error, has learned to maneuver and outperform the enemy. As a result, the AI pilot achieved superhuman abilities and was able to surpass his human opponent. [11]

Another DARPA project is aimed at creating an AI assistant that monitors what a soldier is doing and gives instructions using speech and visual images. Such a system will have to understand the real world.[11]

According to the US national security strategy, published in October 2022, the main military threats to Americans are China and Russia. In the text of the report, the United States is once again trying to undermine Russia's international authority, accusing it of launching cyber attacks "to undermine the ability of countries to provide services to citizens." [15]

For the United States, China is "the only competitor with the intention to change the international order, using economic, diplomatic, military and technological power for this. Beijing has ambitions to create an expanded sphere of influence in the Indo-Pacific region and become a leading world power. It uses its technological potential and growing influence on international institutions to create more favorable conditions for its authoritarian model, as well as to change the global use of technology in favor of its interests and values."[15]

The training of the US military using virtual simulators is the main component of the effectiveness on the battlefield, so the military metaverse can become a key factor in improving the effectiveness of combat operations.

The author of this study gives the following definition of the military metaverse. The military metaverse is a virtual communication environment for army training, testing new types of weapons and modeling cognitive military strategies. It combines a live, virtual and constructive learning environment into a single network. 

Back in 2006, JFCOM (the Joint Command of the US Armed Forces) developed a VR training called "Urban Resolve", aimed at developing the skills of conducting combat operations in urban conditions for future commanders of the united forces. During the training, more than 2 million individually modeled objects were created, directed against an enemy operating in an urban environment.

JFCOM also announced that it plans to conduct a series of experiments with VR training, called "Noble Determination", which include scenarios of internal security in case of a possible nuclear attack by terrorists in a realistic environment.[17, p.87]

In 2012, the US Army Virtual Environments (STRIVE) project, called "Virtual Iraq", was released to develop cognitive warfare using VR technologies. [17, p.87]

Within the framework of this program, cadets could study enemy threats and analyze the battlefield in order to choose the most effective actions, as well as process the psychological consequences of combat in a virtual environment.

Nowadays, this game simulation is used to provide cultural awareness among military personnel to assess possible threats, specific socio-cultural actions (or inactions), the mentality of the enemy, psychological influence on the population, improving interaction with other subjects in the area of operation, justifying their own actions.


The main competitor of the USA in the field of AI technologies is China, which in August 2022 announced the creation of the "Joint Research Institute of the Metaverse and Virtual Interaction" in Shanghai. The participating companies include such giants as Tencent, Huawei, Epic Games, Migu.

The popularity of the metaverse in China is evidenced by the fact that several local governments, such as Shanghai, Wuhan and Hefei, have begun to include this topic in their government reports for 2022.

In October 2021, the Chinese Institute of Modern International Relations (CICIR), an analytical center affiliated with the Ministry of State Security, released a document on the metaverse in China, which spoke of the need to legislatively combat virtual crimes.[6] In November 2021, the Zhejiang Provincial government organized a "symposium on the development of the metaverse industry".[6]

China dominates in terms of investment in AR and VR. According to International Data Corporation (IDC), in 2020 China accounted for 54.7% [15] of commercial and consumer spending on AR and VR worldwide.

To date, China is testing the Battlefield Metaverse training base ( Zh Zh?nch?Ng yu?n y?zh?u) to simulate future warfare projects. It differs from the usual metaverse in some key aspects. For example, it has stricter security and privacy standards, more powerful computational modeling capabilities, more subtle requirements for real-time interaction, uniformity of battle time, real-virtual integration, border security, decision-making intelligence[13] and performance accuracy.[4]

The military metaverse, as the authors imagine, needs breakthroughs in several technologies, including virtual reality, augmented reality, mixed reality[14], digital twin technology, cloud computing, blockchain, high-speed network, AI.

According to a recent article published in the official newspaper of the People's Liberation Army Daily, the Chinese army is reforming methods of combat training using the metaverse. [21] The authors note that the creation of Battlefield creates potential advantages over the enemy army and will allow in the future to carry out offensive digital operations on the enemy's metaverse.

The main tasks of the military metaverse of China, according to the reports of the People's Liberation Army (PLA), published in the PLA Daily:

· exercises using military equipment simulators conducted in virtual space;

· simulation of military action scenarios;

· creation of powerful AI bots that will give commands and supervise military exercises. They can act as instructors, examiners, staff officers, system and technical personnel to assist individual users in making decisions and actions.

· centralized online military education across the country;

· improvement of cognitive warfare methods [15] at the expense of metaverse resources. Chinese military experts believe that attacking the enemy's metaverse can influence his thinking and decision-making.


In May 2022, the Indian Army signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Rashtriya Raksha University (RRU) located in Gandhinagar to develop the WARDEC system. The University is subordinate to the Ministry of Home Affairs and the Government of Gujarat. RRU will develop WARDEC together with tech giant Tech Mahindra.

WARDEC will conduct hands-on training of soldiers to test strategies and develop a Wargame simulation[16] with the help of "Metaverse-enabled gameplay".[13] Vargem simulator models will be developed to prepare for combat and effectively conduct counter-terrorism and insurgent operations.

According to Indian military experts, wargame models and AI-based simulations will allow soldiers to test their skills in the metaverse using a combination of virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR).

The metaverse of the Indian army will simulate the battlefield in real time. The use of AI and the metaverse will increase the training experience of soldiers in modern world conflicts.

Thus, the wargame simulator will help the army to think through all possible scenarios. Aspects such as the geography of the terrain, weather conditions, time, atmospheric pressure, enemy visibility, artillery reach, the position of troops, the health of soldiers and the possibility of enemy reaction, which are taken into account when using AI.

Among the advanced technologies of the military metaverse in India, one can single out the development of a unique holosuit [17], which is used by the Indian military for tactical military training.

At the moment, India imports this development to more than 19 countries. Kaaya Tech has 12 patents in eight countries, including Japan, Australia, and Russia. [7]


The creation of industry metaverses and the modernization of advanced information and communication technologies in countries such as the United States, China, India, South Korea and Japan creates new conditions for more intense technological competition between countries.

In the scientific circles of China, the following threats are identified associated with the emergence of metaverses.

· Digitization of state ideologies. The metaverse has the potential to form a new transnational ideology, which, in turn, will have a direct impact on the policies of various countries. [22]

In the political sphere, the metaverse will become an integral part of the state ideology and social culture of the country and will have a cognitive impact on political and cultural security.

·         The emergence of new subjects of power. The owners of the metaverse platforms will become new subjects of power or even new centers of power trying to share power with the nation state.

Already, Facebook is promoting the "political strategy" of the metaverse, putting pressure on the American political elite to introduce the metaverse map into the country's state bodies.

· Countries that do not have their own metaverses will be at a disadvantage and may face discriminatory thresholds and requirements.

The metaverse will become the main model of the future digital economy. A new international system of division of labor is likely to be created, and countries that lack the appropriate chips and competitiveness will be marginalized in this new system.

· Cybersecurity.Cyberattacks pose a serious threat to the digital ecosystem, and the metaverse cannot avoid it.

Cyberattacks can target both specific users and device terminals in the metaverse, as well as operators or key service providers in the metaverse. The merging of the virtual world and the real world caused by the metaverse will make cyberattacks more dangerous, potentially having systemic consequences for the country.

Russian researcher E.N. Pashentsev in his article "Malicious use of artificial intelligence: new threats to international information and psychological security and ways to neutralize them" notes that "numerous infrastructure facilities, for example, robotic self-learning transport systems with centralized control through AI, can become a convenient target for high-tech terrorist attacks. The interception of control over the transport management system in a large city can lead to numerous victims. This will undoubtedly cause panic and create an informational and psychological climate that facilitates further hostile actions." [1, p.285]

The developers of the metaverse are trying to use blockchain technology to ensure the information security of users in the metaverse, but this technology is still very vulnerable to cyber attackers. If the assets of the user's "avatar" and information in the metaverse are stolen, their user value will instantly return to zero. The huge potential benefits will allow the global hacker community to make metaverses the next big target for cybercrime. [19]

·         New forms of international conflicts in cyberspace.

A clash between countries in military metaverses. VR attacks on the enemy's metaverse in order to hack the blockchain and use the enemy's information.


Summing up, we note that the creation of a new era of the Internet has pushed global communication processes to the virtualization of global public life and changed international trends of interaction.

In the next few years, target audiences and military structures of different countries will face different versions of metaverses.

At its core, the metaverse is a new social environment designed to provide deeper communication for interaction and exchange between people.

The first prototypes of metaverses were used by the US armed forces in the 1980s.

In recent decades, standards such as distributed interactive modeling and high-level architecture have contributed to the integration of disparate training simulators, allowing the military to train in virtual space, modeling a new concept of military operations and testing new types of AI-based weapons.

The armed forces of the world's technology giants the United States, China, and India have been using effective modeling for several years for basic military training and the creation of advanced tactical weapons based on AI.

Thus, the artificial intelligence of war games has been introduced into regular military training — an algorithm capable of accurately simulating real combat operations (Vinogradova E.A.).

Training is the main component of efficiency in military operations, therefore, the military metaverse can become a key factor in increasing the effectiveness of combat operations, which will entail new forms of informational and psychological confrontations and real military clashes.

The active creation of military metaverses and the accelerated digital arms race require new solutions in the field of global cybersecurity.



[1] Virtual reality (VR) is a simulated experience that can be similar to the real world or completely different from it.

[2] Digital avatar (digital double) is a virtual image of a person.

[3] A network simulator is a software that can predict the performance of a computer network or wireless communication.

[4] Blockchain is a registry for storing and transferring digital assets. Assets can be anything: money, stocks, game characters, works of art — anything.

[5] Cloud computing is a model for providing convenient on—demand network access to a certain general fund of configurable computing resources that can be promptly provided and released with minimal operational costs or calls to the provider.

[6] Cloud storage is a cloud computing model that makes it possible to store data and files on the Internet using the services of a cloud computing provider.

[7] 5 G technology — fifth generation wireless networks.

[8] 3D rendering is the process of converting 3D models into 2D images on a computer.

[9] Augmented Reality (XR) is a complex of immersive technologies that combine the physical and virtual worlds.

[10] Brain-computer interface (BCI) is a machine that is a direct communication channel between the electrical activity of the brain and an external device, most often a computer.

[11] Augmented reality (AR) is the result of introducing any sensory data into the visual field in order to supplement information about the environment and change the perception of the environment.

[12] Esports is a team or individual competition based on computer video games.

[13] Decision-making intelligence (DI) is a decision-making technology that combines key knowledge from the applied field of data science, social sciences and management science.

[14] Mixed reality (MR) is a combination of the physical and digital worlds, providing interaction between a person, a computer and the environment.

[15] Cognitive warfare is the process of cognitive attack and defense, which is a way of covering military operations and dominating the cognitive space with precision and efficiency.

[16] Wargame is a game genre designed to simulate a military conflict, real or fictional.

[17] A holosuit is a special suit used for tactical training. It is a bidirectional device that reacts to digital space and simulates physical activity in real time. It has 40 built-in sensors on the hands and feet, including all fingers. It is made of mesh material. It is used for tactical training

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The subject of the reviewed study is the specifics of the use of artificial intelligence technologies in the military-political sphere on the example of metaverses. The author rightly notes the rapid growth in the number and quality of new types of weapons based on artificial intelligence, which cannot but have a decisive impact on the military industry of all countries involved in the arms race. Accordingly, the relevance of the topic chosen by the author for research can hardly be overestimated. As a research methodology, the author declared a systematic approach, although in addition to the above, the case study method was clearly used in the research process (when analyzing three key cases of the military metaverses of the United States, India and China), critical content analysis of publications on the topics of metaverses and artificial intelligence, as well as some elements of an institutional approach in studying the processes of formation and adaptation of institutional the environment for the introduction of artificial intelligence technologies into the military industry of the studied countries. The correct application of these methods allowed the author to obtain results with signs of scientific novelty. First of all, the very topic of military metaverses is innovative. Accordingly, the author's conclusions about the peculiarities of using this technology not only in the military sphere of developed countries like the United States, but also about the difficulties and prospects of its implementation in the armies of developing countries like China and India are of scientific interest. No less interesting is the analysis of new risks and threats associated with the emergence and military use of metaverses. Unfortunately, the author focused on the use of this technology in training military personnel and simulating combat operations in decision-making centers, leaving out a very interesting area of its application directly on the battlefield. It can be assumed that the author left this aspect for the future of his research. The structure of the reviewed work also makes a very positive impression: its logic is consistent and reflects the main aspects of the conducted research. The following sections are highlighted in the text: - "Introduction", where a scientific problem is posed, a brief description of its relevance is given, the methodology and sources of empirical material are described; - "Conceptual assessments of the metaverse", which analyzes the conceptual framework of the concept of the metaverse; - "Artificial intelligence in the US military industry", "The military metaverse in China: cognitive strategy and artificial intelligence", "Creation of the WARDEC military metaverse in India", which consistently reveals the features of the development and application of metaverses in the armies of the United States, China and India, respectively; - "Metaverse – a threat to international cybersecurity" – a section that goes somewhat beyond the thematic scope of the article, but is of scientific interest due to some generalization the main risks and threats associated with the spread of the military use of metaverses; - "Conclusion", which summarizes the results of the study, draws conclusions and outlines some prospects for further research. A stylistically reviewed article also makes a positive impression: It is a scientific work written in a good scientific language, with the correct use of scientific terminology. There is a certain (uncritical) number of grammatical errors in the text (for example, an incorrect verb form in the sentence "Strategic communication of the leading world powers is based on ..."; or a missing comma after the introductory word "for example" in the sentence "... Numerous infrastructure facilities, such as robotic self-learning transport systems ..."; etc.), but in in general, it is written quite competently. The bibliography includes 23 titles, including sources in several foreign languages, and sufficiently represents the state of research on the subject of the article. An appeal to opponents takes place when discussing the main approaches to the interpretation of the phenomenon of metaverses. GENERAL CONCLUSION: the article proposed for review can be qualified as a scientific work that meets the requirements for works of this kind. The results obtained by the author correspond to the subject of the journal "International Relations" and will be of interest to military theorists, political scientists, conflict scientists, specialists in the field of public administration, state security, world politics and international relations, as well as to students of these specialties. According to the results of the review, the article is recommended for publication.
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