Samsung wrote about its mysterious “artificial human” based product, Neon, on Friday. Earlier, there were speculations that the company was planning to create realistic human avatars. The use of these avatars would be either for entertainment or business purposes, such as receptionists, guides, etc.
A tweet from Samsung’s project lead and some leaked videos are now confirming the speculations. Though leaks do not provide much information on the product, the rendered images confirm the human avatars.
Flying to CES tomorrow, and the code is finally working 🙂 Ready to demo CORE R3. It can now autonomously create new expressions, new movements, new dialog (even in Hindi), completely different from the original captured data. pic.twitter.com/EPAJJrLyjd
— Pranav Mistry (@pranavmistry) January 5, 2020
Pranav Mistry, Neon’s lead and a computer-human interaction researcher, tweeted images, which show the avatars of the project. He says that Samsung’s Core R3 technology can now “create new expressions autonomously, new dialog (even in Hindi), new movements, completely different from the originally captured data.”
Unreported videos from the source code on the home page of Neon exposed even more of these same human figures. The videos initially posted on Reddit but now deleted. You can watch them in the YouTube video below, and they do look incredibly lifelike. They just look like videos, but not computer-generated graphics.
A big question raised about Neon at this point is to what extent are these avatars computer-generated? Most importantly, how good are these artificial humans at emoting and talking like humans? A big claim correlated with Neon is that these avatars can be mistaken for real humans, but that would be a big leap ahead over current technology.
Mistry, in his recent interview, cleared that in his view, “digital humans” will be a major technology for 2020.
He told LiveMint, “Movies are full of examples where Artificial Intelligence is bringing into our world. In Blade Runner 2049, Officer K forms a relationship with his AI hologram companion, Joi. While films may obstruct our sense of reality, ‘digital humans’ or ‘virtual humans’ will be a reality. A digital human could make its role to be a part of our everyday lives like a virtual receptionist, an AI-generated film star, or even a virtual news anchor.”
But we will have to wait and watch if the Neon’s avatars can live up to the expectations. As of now, the company is mainly offering us hype. Whatever may be the case, Samsung is showcasing its Neon at CES.