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Soul Machines' virtual humans go mainstream

17 Dec 2018

An Auckland AI firm renowned for its work creating ‘digital humans’ is now unleashing its creativity to the wider market.

Soul Machines, which created avatars for brands including Autodesk, the Royal Bank of Scotland, and ANZ Bank’s very own digital assistant called Jamie, has launched a new solution called Digital DNA to help brands create realistic digital humans.

The company says artificial intelligence is a platform that can help to drive the future of customer experience – namely the democratisation of personal services and the delivery of specialised knowledge. 

Face-to-face interaction with digital humans combined with AI’s ability to create engaging customer connections all feed into the emotional responsiveness of Soul Machines’ virtual nervous system called the Human Computing Engine. 

“The process of creating lifelike digital humans is time-intensive. Just look at the video game or movie industry where new releases take years to complete and huge investments,” explains Soul Machine chief business officer Greg Cross. 

Soul Machines has cut production time for its digital humans down to as little as two to three months – something the company says is already one of the lowest production times in the industry.

“Recently, we have seen brands release avatars and digital humans that are clunky, ugly and embarrassing they look like the digital equivalent old fashioned puppets without the strings,” says Cross. 

“Why would you invest so heavily in the future of AI and create a terrible customer experience. We understand that it can be complex to deploy a digital human but no company should settle for less than perfection because their customers will not buy it or engage with it.”

The company models its 3D faces as close to the real thing as possible, right down to the way facial muscles create expressions, as well as eyes that react to images relayed by a computer camera. Soul Machines says these features are important for emotional expression and engagement. 

Digital DNA was designed right down to options including eye, skin and hair colour, shape of face, age, and even blemishes or wrinkles.

“We are proud to be making Soul Machines Digital DNA technology available to companies so they can supercharge their online customer experiences in a high-quality way in a short amount of time,” says Cross.

The company has captured digital DNA from each digital human it has created to construct a virtual gene pool.

 This gene pool is used to synthesize new digital humans by blending Digital DNA together. This allows Soul Machines to create a completely new digital human in minutes versus the months it previously took.

The digital human comes to life when you “plug” the engaging and interactive artificial humans into the cloud-based Human Computing Engine and the result is an emotionally responsive, artificial human with personality and character that allows machines to talk to humans face-to-face.