Synthetic media have been on the forefront for about 2 years now, whether it be with TV news presenters in the form of virtual avatars in China, synthetic voices on voice assistants or more generally any media content creation involving artificial intelligence. Synthetic media will be able to change the paradigm of content creation, communication, storytelling and even education at a time of health crises.
At the CES 2020, Samsung presented Neon, a startup whose avatar doped with artificial intelligence presented itself on a vertical screen. The screen integrated cameras and sensors to analyse the behaviour of people facing the screen but also microphones to decipher the semantics and emotion of the voice. The avatar then showed empathy and adapted to his audience. The goal of this startup is to offer concierge, medical or distance learning services using synthetic media and artificial intelligence.
Much more concretely, there are already virtual influencers like Lil Miquela. This avatar is followed by 2.5 million people on Instagram and brands like Prada use it to promote their products. Singers even make music with her as a duo. In Japan, a man has even married J-Pop’s virtual singer Hatsune Miku.
Cinema is also taking hold of synthetic media and not just for animated films. The humanoid robot Erica (created by the Hiroshi Ishiguro laboratory) is the star of a science-fiction film which started shooting in Japan but was stopped by the Covid-19 crisis. It would then be a world premiere to have a robot as the main actor in a film. The robot learned how to play thanks to the acting data passed through the learning machine.
Unfortunately, these technologies are also at the heart of deep fake like with the Obama video insulting Donald Trump or Jon Snow apologizing for the end of the Game of Thrones series. Synthesis media open up opportunities but are also problematic at a time of fake news hegemony because you can make a personality say anything and everything and then broadcast this content without limit on social networks.
Technologies on synthetic media are simply the equivalent of a photoshop but with the power of 100,000 with the learning machine. In a few years we will be able to synthesize ourselves into a virtual avatar in order to have a digital clone. A clone that will be our copy right down to the voice and semantics!
Startup partners such as Voxygen or Mirriad embody these upcoming changes!
These technologies will be boosted by the health crisis in order to respond to the problems of physical distance and barrier gestures.
The National Education of 2030 is taking shape today with distance learning. Tomorrow, if there is to be a confinement, a distance teacher that can be deployed in thousands of copies and that can adapt to everyone could be a real godsend for children’s learning, or at least for the parents in charge of this learning.
On another point, distance working has gone from a constraint for companies to an unprecedented opportunity to rethink the world of work. Synthesis media will then be able to accompany employees in their distance learning.
A company manager could also speak a dozen languages via a single video and without having to learn a single new foreign language, for example. This is exactly what was done with the video campaign to fight malaria with David Beckham as spokesman.
Telemedicine, which boomed during the crisis, will also be impacted by these avatars and the synthetic media. A virtual doctor could make remote diagnoses of a disease such as Covid-19 using technological solutions such as image recognition or voice recognition.
There is a lot of talk about shop streaming at the moment but tomorrow an avatar could replace a human salesperson to make sales in video streaming directly from the physical store or in virtual worlds such as Fortnite or Animal Crossing.
And if the media world of the future were to be dehumanized by artificial intelligence… Tomorrow, can my best friends be avatars as proposed by the Hybri application? Is the world looking better?