Five worthy reads is a regular column on five noteworthy items we’ve discovered while researching trending and timeless topics. In this edition, we’ll learn about digital humans, which can be used in virtual spaces to enable operations of various industry applications.
Amidst the hybrid work culture, wouldn’t it be great if we had a replica of ourselves taking on online meetings while we concentrate on finishing pressing tasks? Having our own personal replicas to take meeting minutes would do wonders in terms of deadlines and time management. As impossible as it sounds, this may not be as far off from reality as it sounds, because along the lines of personal digital replicas are the digital humans that are created to facilitate similar applications in the virtual world.
But what exactly are digital humans? Digital humans are AI-based virtual characters with which humans can interact. Digital humans can take on the role of virtual assistants, but because they’re tuned to be sharp, are equipped with emotional intelligence, and are taught how humans work and engage, they’ll be capable of much more.
Digital humans are gaining popularity, especially in the last three to five years, through the metaverse. Due to new advances in AI and simulation, their context-based behavior helps initiate and engage in conversations with humans. This is particularly essential in fields like healthcare, where digital humans give doctors the opportunity to perform simulation-based surgeries before operating on patients to provide better results.
Further, in service-oriented fields like retail, these digital humans can deliver personalized shopping experiences after a quick conversation with humans. On top of this, there are virtual influencers that have begun popping up on social media. Lil Miquela on Instagram is one such digital human celebrity with three million followers, supporting various causes and collaborating with actual human influencers for various promotions.
Here’s a list of reads to build on your understanding regarding digital humans and to help you discover use cases relevant to your industry:
Consisting of three crucial steps of creation—model creation, motion capturing, and real-time rendering—digital humans are either made to develop a unique character along with their own scripts or directly resemble a real person in a virtual world. Although we have already seen its use in movies like Avatar, it is set to disrupt other industries soon, especially to keep up with customer service requirements.
To revolutionize digital experiences, digital humans are designed to have a layer of artificial intelligence that can process speech and text and a layer of visual technology to pick up commands and facial expressions. This makes for an interesting development, as it can add emotions and persuasion in automated conversations.
For accurate digital human creation, technologies and algorithms including computer vision, big data, artificial neural networks, machine learning, and affective computing are combined and worked on for months. However, it needs mindful integration as digital humans must be used just as an advancement and not as a replacement for human touch.
One of the existing and popular applications of digital humans is to enable them as virtual assistants in the metaverse. Another application is to employ them as virtual investigators of office mock-up spaces to analyze optimal occupancy for a real-time scenario. Yet another application is to improve soft skills by getting trained by digital humans without any human intervention.
Since digital humans enable us to create a replica of ourselves, they can facilitate remote and hybrid work. Moreover, for migration and visa issues, digital humans can be used to work from anywhere. However, one major challenge is to have continuous digital connectivity. 5G and 6G will play a crucial to make this a reality in the days to come.
With a positive cultural shift to adopting such advances, the day when digital humans will be widely available to take on mundane tasks while humans focus on accomplishing higher-value jobs isn’t far away. In the future, digital humans could reinvent various facets of communication, interaction, and the overall user experience, both for employees and end users alike.