In our interview, we touched on Huang’s perspective on the metaverse, or the universe of virtual worlds which are all interconnected, as in novels such as Snow accident and Ready Player One. I also asked him if the game will emerge from the pandemic as the biggest entertainment industry in all respects.
I also asked him what was the best idea of Nvidia for his employees and if he was a fan of employees working at home permanently. We talked about the company’s earnings growth for the first fiscal quarter ended April 26 and what it sees for the second half, and whether we will see delays in autonomous cars due to the pandemic.
Here is a revised transcript of our interview.
GamesBeat: I’m fine. I’m growing a beard now.
Jensen Huang: You actually look like a type of beard. I have the feeling that you are your happiest fishing, having the opportunity to play video games every day.
GamesBeat: That’s right. I played Call of Duty: Warzone a lot. I even won a match. I heard (via Jae Kim) that your [world’s biggest graphics processing unit] Oven GPU card was a great idea for heating your oven.
Huang: Ha. Yes, to preheat the oven.
GamesBeat: Do you think we will soon have a metaverse, perhaps sooner because of the pandemic. And what form would it take? Like a Fortnite or a collection of games or something else?
Huang: The answer is absolutely yes. I think it is time, and it will not be one. We’re going to have a whole bunch of metaverse. Each one will be based on the stories you love. There will be some based on Minecraft, Fortnite, Battlefield or based on Call of Duty. There are all kinds of styles and personalities. You will see one based on The Witcher, one based on Warcraft and all kinds of genres. There will be hundreds of metaverse. This is the exciting part.
GamesBeat: Do you think the game will emerge from this pandemic as the number one form of entertainment? Will it surpass anything that is a rival?
Huang: Well, the world of entertainment and leisure is huge. When you combine it with all aspects of entertainment and leisure, going to the movies or traveling or going to a restaurant, staying in a hotel, skiing, it’s huge. All the major leisure areas will all be affected and there will be changes. People will stay at home and more people will spend time on the metaverse and I think home entertainment will undoubtedly be much, much larger in the future and will represent a larger percentage of the global entertainment and leisure budget. And so I think it’s probably a lost conclusion at this point. It’s my feeling.
GamesBeat: What do you think about letting employees work away from home forever?
Huang: I had no problem with that. And I think there will be many of our employees who choose to work from home several days a week, and they will still want to go because they may have cooperative meetings. Perhaps there are very close collaborative meetings to be held. Maybe go to a lab or just go out, take a day off. Ha, let’s take a day off and go to the office.
You’re going to get all of this stuff. Some are going to be for social reasons. Some are for collaboration. Partly because you have to be physically there for the lab. But I think we’re going to have people working from home a few days a week, three days a week, four days a week. And I’m perfectly comfortable with it all. And I think digital technology will continue to progress. There is no doubt that we will do it. We are going to do videoconferencing and virtual reality. And we’re going to get much better AI-assisted video conferencing and augmented reality video conferencing systems. You know, there will be all kinds of new innovations in this area.
GamesBeat: And what do you think was the best idea your company had to help its employees during this period?
Huang: The idea I like the most is to pull their six month increases and put money in their hands. The number of people worldwide who are newly unemployed is close to 200 million, as you know. And many of these people are family members. They have children. They are our friends and relatives. It is therefore important to provide additional security to employees, to give them that little extra something so that they can be useful to other people. They pay their gardeners and babysitters even when they come to work and give people a little more extra tip. Small acts of kindness can go a long way.
And so I like it the best, which is just being able to take care of our employees. I love the fact that the work we do is so vital to science. We are in many ways on the scientific front line. The work we’re doing to set up the computer defense system for infectious diseases, whether it’s finding the vaccine as quickly as possible this time or next time to detect early outbreaks. All of this work is so important to humanity. We are really proud of the fact that half a million players have contributed to participatory computing. It’s incredible.
I love the fact that the work we do allows workers to walk through hospitals and dispense drugs and sanitize hallways and rooms. And then and then all the work we do to lighten the load on the staff, you know, so that the AI keeps an eye on, monitors the patients. And so I think the work we do is so revolutionary and we are on the front line of the first scientific line. I’m really proud of it. It is really sad to see human suffering everywhere. But it was also a great time for us to get up and do our part.
GamesBeat: I noticed that there was a lag in progress on autonomous cars and the automotive unit. Do you think it’s like an opportunity to get the technology into better shape because of this delay?
Huang: I think the robot taxi market has been delayed a bit because they just can’t test on the road. But it’s level two, with autopilot systems. It continues to happen. And I think it’s pretty clear now because Tesla has found a great business model for monetizing its fleet with software. It is an opportunity for the entire automotive industry to change its business model from a traditional fully capitalized and fully monetized point of sale opportunity to something different. They can benefit from an installed base defined by software, computational and endowed with the advantages of things like the iPhone. They can benefit from the advances in the smartphone industry, and the automakers are really excited about it. And I think the auto industry, the leading automakers, continues to move very fast. But what’s really interesting is that all of the robot taxis that you know of are fully autonomous robotic taxis are potentially a bit delayed, you’ll see a whole bunch of design for grocery deliveries due to the high increased demand.
But the idea of being able to do some of this in cities and urban areas, with a robot, is quite attractive. And so a lot of work continues in this area. And on large campuses, for example, many large campuses are essentially like a sprawling factory. There are currently people who transport things. They will ask robots to do this in the future. And so, you are going to have many types of autonomous mobile robotics on campus or on the last mile that will emerge.
GamesBeat: Do you have solid information about the second half, such as how the economy is reopening? Or is it foggy now?
Huang: Well, I don’t have a better understanding than anyone. I think we are fortunate to benefit from powerful economic forces. They are happening now, namely cloud computing and AI. And so we are really lucky to be solidly positioned. But the second thing is that we are in a whole new multi-year ramp of the A100. And that will give us some immunity. And the third is that it’s really rare to have a company that, on the one hand, does scientific computing and works with, with scientists around the world, in AI and cloud computing and robotics, and also benefit from staying at home because video games are popular, people have to buy cars to do their jobs and they need workstations at home to work. So we are diverse and we are working on futuristic things and these futuristic things have been accelerated because of the pandemic. We are lucky, but we will see how it goes.
GamesBeat: Thank you very much.
Huang: Nice to talk to you. I hope you’re okay. Yeah, play lots of games. Stay safe.