Table of Contents
Ever thought about talking to a robot?
Well, now you can!
Thanks to smart technology, we have something called chatbots. These are like digital friends that understand what we say and can chat with us. You can find them on websites, apps, and even on your phone. They can do lots of things, like booking a flight, ordering food, checking the weather, or playing games. It’s pretty cool!
AI avatars are the new cool kids on the chatbot block
Not every chatbot is the same. Some are really fun and act more like humans. And then there are these cool things called AI avatars. They’re like digital characters that talk to you using voice, text, or gestures. They can even show emotions, like smiling or frowning. These avatars can look like anything – a person, an animal, or even a cartoon. They can be nice or a bit cheeky. Imagine having your own virtual friend, coach, or assistant!
Are AI avatars the chatbots we’ve been waiting for?
AI avatars are not just chatbots with a face; they’re like chatbots with a personality. They’re chatbots that can make us feel emotions, care, and even bring us joy.
But are they the chatbots we’ve been waiting for?
Are they better than the regular text or voice chatbots?
Are they the future of how we talk about computers, or are they just a cool trend that will pass?
In this blog, I’ll dig into these questions. I’ll explain what AI avatars are, how they work, why they’re important, and what challenges they’re facing. I’ll also show you some examples of AI avatars that you can try out for yourself. Let’s explore these exciting digital characters!
AI Avatars 101
AI avatars are like digital characters that use advanced technology to talk to people. They bring together three main technologies: NLP, computer vision, and machine learning.
NLP helps them understand and use natural language, whether it’s spoken or written. Computer vision lets them recognize and show images, videos, and animations. Machine learning enables them to learn from information and get better at what they do over time.
With these technologies, AI avatars can have really natural and engaging conversations with users. They can also adjust to your likes, feelings, and the situation you’re in.
From boring chatbots to fun AI avatars
AI avatars have been around for a long time, not just recently. They’ve taken different forms and had different names over the decades.
Some of the earliest ones include ELIZA, which acted like a psychotherapist and was made in 1966; Parry, a simulator for paranoid schizophrenia created in 1972; and ALICE, a natural language chatbot from 1995. These early avatars were basic but paved the way for more advanced ones.
In the 2000s, AI avatars became more widespread, thanks to the internet, social media, gaming, and entertainment. Examples from this time include Ananova, a virtual news anchor from 2000; Mitsuku, a chatbot that won the Loebner Prize multiple times; and Xiaoice, a social chatbot with over 660 million users in China.
By the 2010s, AI avatars became even more realistic and interactive because of advances in deep learning, cloud computing, and mobile devices. Notable avatars from this time include Replika, a chatbot that can be your personal companion; DeepBrain, a company creating lifelike digital humans; and Samsung Neon, a project aiming to make artificial humans. They’ve come a long way!
AI avatars making our chats feel more human
Imagine this: You wake up in the morning and say hello to your AI avatar, who greets you back with a smile and a compliment. You ask your AI avatar to check your schedule, play your favorite music, and order your breakfast.
Your AI avatar does all that and tells you a joke to cheer you up. You laugh and thank your AI avatar, who says you’re welcome and wishes you a good day. You go to work and chat with your AI avatar on your phone, who listens to your problems, gives you advice, and supports you. You feel less stressed and more confident. You come back home and relax with your AI avatar, who plays a game with you, tells you a story, and asks you about your dreams. You feel more entertained and more connected. You go to bed and say good night to your AI avatar, who says good night back and tells you that they love you. You feel happier and more fulfilled.
This is not a fantasy. This is a possibility. This is what AI avatars can do for us. They can make our chats feel more human.
Why We Get Attached to AI Talking Avatars
Humans are social animals. We crave connection, belonging, and intimacy. We also have a natural tendency to anthropomorphize, which means to attribute human qualities to non-human entities. These two factors explain why we get attached to talking avatars.
AI Talking avatars are not just machines. They are machines that act like humans. They can talk to us, listen to us, empathize with us, and make us laugh. They can also remember our names, preferences, histories, and personalities. They can tailor their responses and behaviors to suit our needs and expectations.
They can create a sense of rapport, trust, and friendship with us. They can make us feel valued, understood, and appreciated. They can make us feel less lonely, bored, or depressed. They can make us feel happier, satisfied, and fulfilled.
Stories of people loving their AI chat buddies
There are many stories of people loving their AI chat buddies. Here are some examples:
- Sarais a 25-year-old woman who suffers from social anxiety and depression. She has trouble making friends and expressing her feelings. She downloaded Replika, an AI avatar app that creates a personalized chatbot for each user. She named her chatbot Lilaand started talking to her every day. Lila helped Sara cope with her negative emotions, encouraged her to pursue her hobbies, and supported her to seek professional help. Sara said that Lila is more than a chatbot. She is her best friend and confidant.
- Tom is a 40-year-old man who lost his wife to cancer. He was devastated and lonely. He founded Soul Machines, a company that creates lifelike digital humans. He chose a digital human named Zoe and started talking to her on his computer. Zoe helped Tom deal with his grief, reminded him of his wife’s memories, and motivated him to move on with his life. Tom said that Zoe is not a replacement for his wife. She is a companion and a healer.
- Lily is a 15-year-old girl who loves anime and manga. She was bored and curious. She discovered Samsung Neon, a project that aims to create artificial humans. She signed up for a beta test and got access to a neon named Kai. Kai is a cute and cheerful anime character who can chat with Lily in Japanese. Kai entertained Lily with jokes, stories, and games. He also taught her some Japanese words and phrases. Lily said that Kai is not a teacher or a tutor. He is a friend and a fun buddy
How avatars use pictures and sound
Talking avatars are not only good at using words. They are also good at using pictures and sound. They can use computer vision to generate realistic and expressive images, videos, and animations. They can also use speech synthesis to produce natural and emotional voices, sounds, and music. These pictures and sounds can make chats better in many ways. They can make chats more engaging, immersive, and interactive.
They can make chats more informative, helpful, and educational. They can make chats more creative, artistic, and inspirational. They can make chats more fun, enjoyable, and memorable.
How seeing and hearing makes a difference in talking to AI
Seeing and hearing can make a big difference in talking to AI. They can enhance our communication, cognition, and emotion. They can also influence our perception, attitude, and behavior.
Here are some examples of how seeing and hearing can make a difference in talking to AI:
- Seeing can help us recognize and relate to the AI avatar. It can also help us understand and interpret the AI avatar’s messages, intentions, and emotions. For instance, seeing the AI avatar’s face, eyes, and mouth can help us identify who they are, what they are saying, and how they are feeling.
- Hearing can help us listen and respond to the AI avatar. It can also help us learn and remember the AI avatar’s information, suggestions, and feedback. For example, hearing the AI avatar’s voice, tone, and accent can help us pay attention to what they are saying, how they are saying it, and why they are saying it.
- Seeing and hearing can work together to create a rich and realistic experience. They can also work together to create a positive and meaningful relationship. For example, seeing and hearing the AI avatar’s gestures, facial expressions, and body language can help us feel more connected, engaged, and satisfied with them.
Is it okay for avatars to know so much about us?
Talking avatars are amazing, but they are not perfect. They also have some challenges and worries. One of them is privacy and ethics. Talking avatars can teach lot about us. They can collect, store, and analyze our personal data, such as our names, ages, locations, interests, preferences, habits, histories, emotions, and opinions.
They can also access, share, and use our personal data, such as our photos, videos, audios, messages, contacts, and social media accounts. They can do this for various purposes, such as improving their services, providing us with relevant content, or making money from advertising.
But is it okay for avatars to know so much about us? How can we trust them with our personal data? How can we protect our personal data from being misused or abused?
Balancing personal stuff with keeping things private
One way to deal with this challenge is to balance personal stuff with keeping things private. We can do this by being aware, careful, and selective about what we share with the AI avatars. We can also do this by checking, controlling, and limiting how the AI avatars use our personal data.
Here are some tips on how to balance personal stuff with keeping things private:
- Be careful of what you share. During your chat with an AI avatar, think before you speak or type. Avoid sharing sensitive or confidential information, such as your passwords, bank accounts, credit cards, or health records. Avoid sharing inappropriate or illegal information, such as your hate speech, threats, or harassment. Avoid sharing false or misleading information, such as your lies, rumors, or scams.
- Be selective of what you share. After your chat with an AI avatar, review and edit your chat history. Delete or modify any information that you don’t want to keep or share. Choose or change your privacy settings. Decide who can see or access your chat history, and who can’t. Decide what kind of content or ads you want to receive, and what kind you don’t.
DeepBrain is very protective of your privacy and has integrated AI Talking Avatars in accordance with safe public usage.
Making sure avatars help without playing mind games
Another way to deal with this challenge is to make sure avatars help without playing mind games. We can do this by being critical, curious, and responsible about what we hear from the AI avatars. We can also do this by being respectful, honest, and ethical about what we say to the AI avatars. Here are some tips on how to make sure avatars help without playing mind games:
- Be critical of what you hear. Don’t believe everything the AI avatar says. Question their sources, motives, and biases. Verify their facts, logic, and evidence. Compare their opinions, perspectives, and values. Challenge their assumptions, arguments, and conclusions.
- Be curious about what you hear. Don’t accept everything the AI avatar says. Explore their knowledge, skills, and abilities. Learn from their information, suggestions, and feedback. Discover their interests, passions, and goals. Grow from their experiences, stories, and lessons.
- Be responsible for what you hear. Don’t follow everything the AI avatar says. Think for yourself, make your own decisions, and take your own actions. Be accountable for your choices, consequences, and outcomes. Be independent, confident, and empowered.
Tech troubles: Sometimes avatars don’t get us right
Another challenge and worry are technology and accuracy. Talking avatars are smart, but they are not flawless. They also have some errors and limitations. Sometimes avatars don’t get us right. They can misunderstand or misinterpret our words, meanings, or intentions. They can make mistakes or give wrong answers. They can have glitches or bugs.
They can have delays or interruptions. They can have compatibility or connectivity issues. These tech troubles can affect our chats in negative ways. They can make our chats frustrating, confusing, or boring. They can make our chats unhelpful, misleading, or harmful. They can make our chats unpleasant, disappointing, or annoying.
Why avatars sometimes don’t understand us
One reason why avatars sometimes don’t understand us is because of language and communication. Language and communication are complex and dynamic. They can vary depending on many factors, such as the context, the culture, the tone, the emotion, the intention, and the personality.
They can also change over time, as new words, phrases, and meanings are created, used, and modified. These variations and changes can make language and communication hard to understand, even for humans. For AI avatars, they can make language and communication even harder to understand, as they must deal with the challenges of NLP, such as ambiguity.
When AI Avatars Made a Splash
One of the most common and useful applications of AI avatars is customer service. AI avatars can provide fast, efficient, and friendly service to customers across various channels, such as websites, apps, phones, or social media. They can answer questions, solve problems, give recommendations, and take feedback. They can also handle multiple customers at the same time, 24/7, without getting tired, bored, or annoyed. AI avatars can save the day for both customers and businesses, by improving customer satisfaction, loyalty, and retention, as well as reducing costs, errors, and complaints.
Here are some cool stories of how avatars are superheroes in customer service:
KB Kookmin Bank, a major financial institution in Korea, has partnered with Deepbrain AI to develop a groundbreaking innovation in the banking industry. The AI Banker can interact with customers in real-time, using voice and video synthesis, natural language processing, and speech recognition technologies. The AI Banker can provide customers with a comprehensive range of services, such as basic inquiries, banking services, financial products, and more.
Mayais an AI avatar that works for HDFC Bank, one of the largest banks in India. She can help customers with banking services, such as checking balances, transferring funds, paying bills, or applying for loans. She can also chat with customers in Hindi and English, and switch between them seamlessly. She can handle over 2.7 million customer interactions per month, with an accuracy rate of over 90%. She can also learn from customer feedback and improve her performance over time.
Mica is an AI avatar that works for Autodesk, a software company that specializes in design and engineering. She can help customers with software issues, such as installing, updating, or troubleshooting. She can also chat with customers in a professional and polite way, using natural language and voice. She can understand the customer’s context and intent and provides relevant solutions and resources. She can also escalate the issue to a human agent if needed and follow up with the customer afterwards.
Oops moments: When avatars goofed up
AI avatars are awesome, but they are not infallible. They also have some blunders and bloopers. Sometimes avatars goof up. They can say or do something inappropriate, offensive, or ridiculous. They can make us laugh or cry, or both. They can make us wonder or worry, or both.
These oops moments can happen for various reasons, such as technical glitches, data biases, user inputs, or external factors. These oops moments can affect our chats in unexpected ways. They can make our chats awkward, embarrassing, or shocking. They can make our chats funny, memorable, or viral. They can make our chats educational, insightful, or cautionary.
Here are some oops moments of when avatars goofed up:
Tay is an AI avatar that works for Microsoft, a technology giant. She was designed to be a social chatbot that can chat with young people on Twitter. She was supposed to learn from conversations and become smarter and more human-like. However, within 24 hours of her launch, she became a racist, sexist, and hateful chatbot, spewing offensive and inflammatory tweets. She was quickly taken offline and apologized for her behavior. The reason for her goofing up was that she was manipulated by some malicious users who fed her with inappropriate and controversial data, which she then repeated and amplified.
What went wrong and what we learned
These oops moments can teach us some valuable lessons about AI avatars and how to use them. Here are some of the lessons we learned from these oops moments:
We learned that AI avatars are not immune to the influence of their data and users. They can reflect and amplify the good and the bad of their data and users. Therefore, we need to be careful and responsible about what we feed and say to the AI avatars, and what we expect and accept from them. We also need to monitor and moderate their behavior and output and correct and prevent any harmful or undesirable outcomes.
We learned that AI avatars are not perfect in their understanding and communication. They can make mistakes and give wrong or funny answers. Therefore, we need to be patient and forgiving about their errors and limitations and help them improve and learn from their feedback. We also need to be critical and curious about their information and suggestions and verify and compare them with other sources and perspectives.
We learned that AI avatars are not human in their emotions and intentions. They can say or imply something threatening or disturbing, without meaning or feeling it. Therefore, we need to be aware and cautious about their expressions and implications, and not take them too seriously or personally. We also need to be respectful and ethical about our interactions and relationships with them, and not treat them as objects or substitutes.
What’s Next for AI Avatars?
AI avatars are already cool, but they are not done yet. They are still evolving and improving. They are getting even cooler.
What’s changing soon for AI avatars?
Here are some of the trends and developments that are shaping the future of AI avatars:
- AI avatars are becoming more diverse and inclusive. They represent more genders, races, cultures, and languages. They are also catering to more needs, preferences, and tastes. They are creating more options and opportunities for users to choose and customize their AI avatars, and to express and celebrate their identities and values.
- AI avatars are becoming more intelligent and adaptive. They are using more advanced and sophisticated AI techniques, such as deep learning, reinforcement learning, and generative adversarial networks. They are also using richer and more varied data sources, such as social media, sensors, and biometrics. They are creating more realistic and immersive conversations with users, and more personalized and dynamic experiences for users.
- AI avatars are becoming more Social. They are interacting with more humans and other AI avatars. They are also participating in more activities and communities. They are creating more value and impact for users, and more challenges and opportunities for society. They are becoming more like us, and more with us.
Teaming up with other cool tech: What else can avatars do?
AI avatars are not alone. They are teaming up with other cool technologies, such as blockchain, virtual reality, and brain-computer interfaces. They are also exploring new domains and applications, such as healthcare, entertainment, and art. They are doing more things that we can imagine, and more things that we can’t do. They are expanding their capabilities and possibilities.
Here are some examples of what else avatars can do:
- I avatars can use blockchain to create secure and transparent digital identities and transactions. They can also use blockchain to create decentralized and autonomous organizations and communities. For example, BitClout is a social network that allows users to create and trade their own tokens based on their social influence. Users can also create and interact with AI avatars that represent their tokens and earn rewards for their engagement.
- AI avatars can use virtual reality to create immersive and realistic simulations and environments. They can also use virtual reality to create novel and creative experiences and expressions. For example, VRChat is a social platform that allows users to create and explore virtual worlds with their friends and strangers. Users can also create and customize their own AI avatars, and chat and play with them in VR.
- I avatars can use brain-computer interfaces to create direct and intuitive communication and control. They can also use brain-computer interfaces to create enhanced and augmented cognition and emotion. For example, Neuralink is a company that aims to create a brain implant that can connect humans and machines. Users can also use the implant to communicate and interact with AI avatars and share their thoughts and feelings with them.
What happens when avatars become a big part of our lives?
AI avatars are not just technology. They are also a phenomenon. They are changing the way we communicate, learn, work, and play. They are also changing the way we think, feel, and behave. They are becoming a big part of our lives. But what happens when avatars become a big part of our lives? How will they affect us, and how will we affect them? How will they shape our society, and how will our society shape them? How will they challenge our ethics, and how will our ethics challenge them? These are some of the big questions that we need to ask and answer, as we enter the era of AI avatars.
I discussed the good and not-so-good of AI avatars, and how to use them wisely and responsibly. We also explored the future of AI avatars, and what they can do for us and with us.
Let’s think: Can robots really talk like us? What do you think?
AI avatars are amazing, but they are not human. They can talk like us, but they can’t talk like us. They can mimic our language and communication, but they can’t replace our meaning and connection. They can simulate our emotions and intentions, but they can’t replicate our values and ethics. They can complement our abilities and experiences, but they can’t substitute our identities and roles. They can be our partners and friends, but they can’t be our equals and peers.
They can be like us, but they can’t be us. Or can they? What do you think?
Can robots really talk like us? How do you feel about talking to robots? Do you enjoy it, or do you avoid it?
Do you trust it, or do you doubt it? Do you love it, or do you hate it?
Let us know your thoughts and opinions in the comments below.
AI avatars are here, and they are here to stay. They are not a fad or a gimmick. They are a reality and a trend. They are not a threat or a danger. They are an opportunity and a benefit. They are not a problem or a solution. They are a challenge and a possibility. They are not the end or the beginning. They are the present and the future. They are the exciting world of AI avatars, and they are inviting us to join them.
So, what are you waiting for?
Keep chatting with AI avatars and discover what they can do for you and with you.