Never be lonely again: Digital humans

I spend a fair amount of time in my book chapter talking about intelligent (AI) bots / artificial humans and how brands can use them to create more meaningful relationships with customers. Fascinating stuff. And as AI and natural language processing improves (eg, real conversation) continues to improve in parallel with improving graphics and streaming, we’ll be able to interact in ways that will be indistinguishable from “real”.

This New Zealand based company is one of a handful working on developing that dream.

UneeQ (previously FaceMe) has taken in $10 million in funding so far to develop digital representations of humans that interact with you in much the same way as a real person would to drive emotional connection, loyalty, and trust between a business and its customers. And while this is a business application, I have no doubts that we will “have” digital humans as friends, companions, advisors – whatever we need. Interacting with computing through natural language, and with something that looks, sounds and “feels” completely human is the ultimate goal of spatial computer.

Competitios to Uneeq include Neon, Didimo, Soul Machines (love that name), and others; and while many currently think the uncanny valley a barrier, I believe that as time progresses we’ll *expect* our technology to seem natural.

Reading my mind

Fascinating stuff. And, whoa. The inevitable march towards brain-computer interface continues! “Researchers from Russian corporation Neurobotics and the Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology have found a way to visualize a person’s brain activity as actual images mimicking what they observe in real time. “

We are rapidly moving from keyboard and mouse input – which, although we’ve done it so long that it *seems* natural, but it is not – to spatial input; this is truly an astounding leap towards natural computing.

I applaud the application that this particular work is working towards (helping post-stroke patient with rehabilitation devices controlled by brain signals), but imagine a world where we don’t have to interact with technology – and each other – through screens!

One of the many challenges is that although there is a standard model for brain architecture, everyone has their own variation, so there are no specific templates that can be applied. No doubt there will be a “training” period for the interface. But once “trained” our personal brain reader will be able to function across all interfaces; unless of course Apple and Microsoft put up the usual walled garden model (personal gripe, also true with VR headsets; this game only works with this system etc).

But inevitably, the early stage development is paid off, enough people adopt, the squinky convoluted hoops early adopters need to jump through are ironed out, and mass adoption takes off. And while I realize that true brain computing interface is a long way off, I’m heartened by all the work I’ve seen by teams like this (CTRL-Labs in particular – interestingly, just bought by Facebook) . And hope that it will help the quality of life for both patients with limitations, and mundane every day life.