Towards an increased economic role of virtual humans

Every Monday, a young and pretty anchorwoman named Xiao C appears in an online video program broadcast by CCTV.com, a news website owned by China Media Group. Wearing a pink T-shirt and her hair in two buns, she broadcasts sporting events involving football, basketball, volleyball, swimming and athletics, also asking questions from the public. She can even interact naturally with human sports commentators, going so far as to discuss tactics in a football match.

Xiao C is a virtual replica of real female TV news anchors developed by Chinese technology company Baidu Inc. distinguish her from a flesh-and-blood person.

The virtual presenter offers insight into the wide range of industries that have begun to adopt digital human models powered by artificial intelligence (AI). New advances in technology have made virtual humans, who eerily resemble real humans in their appearance and behavior, increasingly visible in a wide range of activities such as broadcasting, distribution; finance, leisure, education, culture and tourism.

From digital financial advisors introducing bank customers to their wealth management services, to virtual presenters providing live commentary on sign language for hearing-impaired viewers, digital humans are set to play a greater role in life. people’s daily lives, say specialists in the sector.

China’s digital human market size is forecast to reach 270 billion yuan (38.9 billion euros) by 2030, says an industry report by QbitAI, a service platform focused on digital technology. AI and the latest technologies.

Revenue generated from virtual humans designed to be unique, such as virtual celebrities, is expected to reach 175 billion yuan by 2030, while that from virtual humans for services is expected to exceed 95 billion yuan, it said. The report. “Digital humans are already providing evidence of clear business value in many areas today,” notes Lu Yanxia, ​​associate research director at consultancy IDC China.

Shen Yang, a professor at the School of Journalism and Communication at Tsinghua University in Beijing, points out that breakthroughs in machine learning, deep learning and semantic understanding – as well as the technological maturity of sensors 3D images and the increase in computing power – are all elements of a solid foundation on which the development of the digital human sector is based.

Chinese AI pioneers SenseTime, Xiaoice and Huawei Technologies Co have also made strides in the digital human market.

Tian Feng, dean of the intelligence industry research institute at SenseTime, says digital humans are evolving into more advanced and intelligent models, comparable to human beings. “Intelligent AI-based services provided by digital humans have the potential to singularly increase productivity and facilitate the integration of digital and physical economies.”

Xiaoice has developed Cui Xiaopan, the first virtual employee of Chinese promoter Vanke. The digital human is responsible for reminding administrative staff to track and pay invoices. Huawei Cloud created and implemented its first virtual human employee, named Yunsheng.

“Although the avatar industry is still in its infancy, the appearance, gestures and actions of digital humans will become more and more refined and close to those of real humans,” said Yu Jianing, executive director of the committee. of the meta-universe industry within the China Mobile Communications Association in Beijing.

The accelerated application of 5G, coupled with the research and development of 6G – the next-generation wireless technology – will fuel the digital human industry, Yu said, adding that virtual humans will become smarter and be able to give personalized answers based on real-time information, thanks to advances in the field of artificial intelligence.

But for Pan Helin, co-director of the digital economy and financial innovation research center at Zhejiang University’s international business school, interactive experiences with digital avatars will need to be further improved to give users meaning. sharper of reality when they interact with virtual humans.

By FAN FEIFEI – CHINA DAILY reporter

Content provided by CHINA DAILY

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Towards an increased economic role of virtual humans


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