The technology giant has revealed a kind of super-realistic digital person, unlike anything seen before. The mysterious project – called neon had been suggested weeks ago, but so far no one had any idea what it really was or what it could do.
Now, finally, Samsung has revealed that Neon is not an artificial intelligence – AI, but an artificial human – an extremely realistic and animated computer reproduction of a person with movement and emotions.
Developed by Samsung’s advanced research and technology labs and unveiled at CES in Las Vegas on Monday (6), the Neon has been described as “a computationally created virtual being that looks and behaves like a real human being, with the ability to show emotions and intelligence ”. Samsung reported:
Neons are not AI assistants. Neons are more like us, an independent but virtual living being who can show emotions and learn from experiences. Unlike AI assistants, Neons don’t know everything and are not an Internet interface for requesting weather updates or playing your favorite song.
What this means is that Neon won’t directly replace something like Amazon Alexa, but in the future may act as spokesperson for personal assistants and other similar devices.
Imagine a medical AI that looks like a real human doctor, for example.
Neon CEO Pranav Mistry said:
The Neons will be our friends, collaborators, and companions, continually learning, evolving, and forming memories of their interactions.
Pranav also posted an image of one of the project’s avatars. Images of several more artificial people were posted on the project’s Reddit page. Later they were removed, but they managed to be “cut” and published on Youtube. It should be noted that artificial people look very realistic, like real people, and not the usual computer animation.
A beta of the technology is expected to be released later this year.
There are several questions to the specialists of the Neon project. To what extent are avatars computerized? That is, are they based on high-quality video of people, or are they animated after the fact? And more importantly, how good are these avatars when talking to them and how appropriate are their emotions?
The resulting avatars can be mistaken for real people, which means the technology developed by Samsung is a huge step forward.
Mistry believes that digital people will become the mainstream technology of the 2020s:
“There are many examples in films of how AI interacts with our world. A digital person can become a part of our daily life: a virtual news anchor, a virtual administrator, or even an AI movie star.”