Competition for Talking Avatars is a good thing [Future of Artificial Intelligence]

Traveling Windfairy in Meez

Traveling Windfairy (my alter ego) in Meez

Talking avatars  instead of flat still pictures in IM, representing our real persona while conversing with others, will soon be rather the norm; enhance the animated figurines with AI (Artificial Intelligence) and you can survive the economic downturn by hiring 24/7 employees that never sleep and never complain: Talking Avatars with pre-scripted knowledge or even self-learning skills are in the works all over the worlds (post about it coming soon) and they can help out as greeters, talking FAQs, sales representitives, entertainment characters or automated teachers and tour guides. Their workspace will be where ever real people go wearing an avatar – virtual worlds, 2.5 and 3D chat rooms and the 3D Web.

Freddie McMahon lists some of the movers and shakers for talking avatars in his blog.

via The Future of Artificial Intelligence: Competition for Talking Avatars Benefits from More Venture Capital Funding >>

Bigstage: Create the digital you in 3-D and put yourself into photos, videos

Johnathan Strietzel from Big Stage is showing Craig Raymond (Intel „demo guy“) how to get his virtual me into a TV series and publish that video on Facebook.

All it takes is three pictures of your face (taken with any ordinary digital camera) and you’re off to posing with historical figures or playing a real acting character in a real movie or your favorite TV series. Then show off your new entertainment career on Facebook etc. Runs on Windows XP/Vista only (and under Bootcamp on a Mac).

Here’s a full review by Mashable: http://mashable.com/2008/09/03/big-stage/

Bigstage Homepage>>

Look like yourself in Twinity…or rather not?

I just received news from Twinity, the virtual world that builds real cities (along with real names and realtime weather/daytime, but I’ll talk about that later).

The Twinity team promoted ther new “Photo Fit feature”: “Want to personalize your virtual you? In Twinity, you can individualize your avatar to look just like you do in real life!” Just upload a photo and then adjust your avatar until the little pixel thingy looks JUST like yourself in real life. While this could be exactly what you don’t want when entering a virtual playground, there are other situations – for example business meetings – where that feature comes in handy.

Well, while I like the possibility very much and think that Linden Lab should long ago have offered an easy way to import a portrait picture and transform it automatically to 3D (you still have to use expensive thirs party services to do that) their demo pictures fail to convince me. Look here:

Twinity virtual me

I don’t know about you, but to me all Twinity characters look a little neckless and women are repeatedly broad-shouldered (to be honest I think the woman in the following picture is a transvestite).

Twinity Avatars

„(…)als Avatar in einer virtuellen Welt in der Lage zu sein, überall hin zu gehen und seine Identität überall hin mitzunehmen(…)“

“Wir sind, wenn man das Wachstum des WWW betrachtet, sicher, dass es viele Lektionen zu lernen gibt. Eine Lektion ist sicherlich, dass die virtuelle Industrie nur durch eine Öffnung und nicht durch getrennte Erfahrungen heraus wachsen kann. Der Sinn liegt darin, in einer kontinuierlichen Erfahrung als Avatar in einer virtuellen Welt in der Lage zu sein, überall hin zu gehen und seine Identität überall hin mitzunehmen. Wir müssen bedenken, dass diese Art von Standards im Web über 15 bis 20 Jahre hinweg gewachsen ist. Es ist wahrscheinlich, dass es in einer virtuellen Umgebung ebenfalls einige Zeit dauert”
Ginsu Yoon, Vice President Business Affairs von Linden Lab, in einem Interview auf Create or Die