The International Conference on Distributed Artificial Intelligence first launched in Beijing last year. This year, the organizers partnered with NetEase to host the conference in a small palace among bamboo trees… in popular MMORPG Justice.


The event brought together over 300 researchers, with an option to join on Zoom or watch a live video feed on Bilibili.

As South Morning China Post reports, “participants could listen to talks inside the complex while some researchers had their posters displayed on billboards outside. Zoom videos were projected onto a screen.” Speakers and participants could communicate by tapping each others’ personalized avatars. Questions were asked in chat boxes.

The event became the first AI and deep learning conference ever held in a video game, according to NetEase. The company hopes events like these will shape the future of “immersive meeting solutions”.

Right now, though, the experience remains suboptimal. Many avatars are either frozen in place or seem to aimlessly move around. Participants often ignore messages “indicating that they were either unwilling to talk to me or unaware of the feature.”