Digital humans, virtual humans, digital doubles… what’s the difference?

A breakdown of the portrait of Scott Eaton by Ian Spriggs, 3D artists specialized in digital humans

Digital – or virtual – humans are everywhere. They are among the major trends coming up in 2020 and are sure to decisively reshape human-machine interactions with the help of emerging and booming technologies like AI and real-time graphics.

Industry specialist Mike Seymour held a Ted Talk in 2018 in which he envisioned a future where conversational human interactions were at the heart of technology. This shift to more natural and intuitive interfaces would not only be a welcome improvement but also a necessity for many elderly, disabled, or struggling members of a society in dire need of human contact.

“Faces are brilliant communicators of emotion, and emotion is powerful. I want to give the world a better face by putting a face on technology. But we have to be aware that faces can be very powerful, influential, emotional and persuasive.”

Mike Seymour

Consequently, a lot of hype is forming up in the tech and startup world, but with hype comes confusion: buzzwords are thrown around unwittingly as onlookers mix digital humans with virtual assistants, virtual influencers with deepfakes or even robots. So what are the differences between concepts like virtual humans, digital humans or digital doubles, and can we establish a clear map of what they mean where they stand?

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Virtuals: exploring the future of virtual experiences

Japanese Virtual Human Saya by Telyuka

Hello world! We’re excited to launch Virtuals, an organization created to analyze the emergence of virtual experiences and their effect on the virtualization of society.

Virtuals will be taking a closer look at the economic and technological aspects of virtual reality, virtual production and virtual beings, bringing together a community of stakeholders who will share their knowledge and experience, creating new opportunities to collaborate and further revolutionize the entertainment industry all over the world.

1. What is a virtual experience?

Virtual experiences seek to emulate and blend with real life experiences like face to face conversations or traditional film-making techniques through innovative hardware and software. Virtualization is a phenomenon that tends to mix the real and virtual world together, slowly changing the daily life of creators, audiences and consumers who gradually and naturally spend more and more time online, interacting with virtual avatars, AR or VR experiences. A VTuber like Kizuna AI is  a good example of this trend, replicating the experience of interacting with a streamer or youtuber (including chats, donations and gifts) through an animated avatar.

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Virtual celebrities: in-depth analysis of the tech and business behind the next generation of idols

Virtual celebs Imma, Kizuna AI and Lil Miquela

Virtual celebrities, virtual influencers, VTubers… Computer-generated celebrities have entered mainstream media, striking prestigious collaborations with luxury brands. Many have speculated about their true nature and impact on the world of entertainment, but very few speak about what’s really going on under the hood. What exactly is a virtual celebrity, how are they created and what business model do they follow?

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