This feels like a headline or title to a science fiction movie, one that would bring panic to the human race, taking your imagination to iconic films Matrix or iRobot where AI or robots run the world.
The intent of the headline was to make this short article thought provoking and start a debate, not to scare you into a panic frenzy shopping trip to stock up on a years worth of toilet paper.
Let's start with what are digital humans, here I found a quote form deloitte: Digital Humans are AI powered human-like virtual beings that offer the best of both: AI and Human conversation. They can easily connect to any digital brain to share knowledge (i.e. chatbot and NLP), interact using verbal and non-verbal cues -- tone of voice and facial expressions.
The best way to create a Digital human or MetaHuman is via the Unreal engine using the MetaHuman Creator , which is a Cloud-based app to create high-fidelity digital humans in minutes.
You can sign up for early access to the generator, and it's true I was able to create my own MetaHuman in a matter of minutes, they give you a starting structure and from there you can blend in up to three people, change everything from eyes to outfit. I would highly recommend spending 15 mins playing with the app.
You will also have to connect speech and AI together to make the MetaHuman actually interact with you, but this isn't a tutorial on how to do it, more why you should explore MetaHumans
So, what are the uses for Digital humans and will they really take over the world? the best way to answer that or give my opinion is to show an example that UNEEQ created to share the wisdom of Albert Einstein, enabling school children to ask Mr Einstein all about his life and work.
Using the Albert Einstein example you can see how such a thing can help, other use-cases are help centers, we have all experienced calling our internet supplier for technical support and them reading from a list of actions, such as "have you turned it on and off at the wall socket and waited 10 seconds before plugging it back in". The trouble is most call centers are not open 24hrs a day, and we live our lives on 24hrs day, so having a MetaHuman to answer and solve 80 percent of calls out of hours will only add to the customer satisfaction, win win situation.
In the future when the AI is more advanced the MetaHuman could also be used on helplines for more sensitive subjects like addiction, but we are still a long way off from here, its one thing looking human, its another having emotional responses.
Because of the realism like below you can also film Brand Commercials (TVC's) and even films in the future, in fact lots of films have already be created using MetaHumans, MetaHumans will never take the main roles in my view... (I know I'm wrong with the film Avatar), but I can't see a MetaHuman taking the place of a Robert DeNiro and delivering the role as well.
Coming back to the headline, I don't believe MetaHuman / Digital Humans are taking over the world, but what they doing is supporting when real humans can't interact, making a connection, answering questions and giving a more emotive experience than just voice or text interactions.
Therefore my view is - NO MetaHumans are not taking over, but YES they are the future.
This was just a quick intro into what MetaHumans are and what they can be used for, below there are a couple of Links for further reading.
- Darren Richardson is Global Chief Creative Technologist at VMLY&R COMMERCE