Samsung’s ‘artificial human’ project definitely looks like a digital avatar


It’s realistic, but can it walk and talk like a human?

On Friday we wrote about Samsung’s mysterious “artificial human” project Neon, speculating that the company was building realistic human avatars that could be used for entertainment and business purposes, acting as guides, receptionists, and more.

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Facebook can make VR Avatars look – and move – exactly like you


Research assistant Autumn Trimble sits inside “Mugsy,” one of the capture facilities Pittsburgh’s Facebook Reality Lab uses to create “codec avatars.”

“There’s this big, ugly sucker at the door,” the young woman says, her eyes twinkling, “and he said, ‘Who do you think you are, Lena Horne?’ I said no but that I knew Miss Horne like a sister.”

It’s the beginning of a short soliloquy from Walton Jones’ play The 1940’s Radio Hour, and as she continues with the monologue it’s easy to see that the young woman knows what she’s doing. Her smile grows while she goes on to recount the doorman’s change of tune—like she’s letting you in on the joke. Her lips curl as she seizes on just the right words, playing with their cadence. Her expressions are so finely calibrated, her reading so assured, that with the dark background behind her, you’d think you were watching a black-box revival of the late-’70s Broadway play.

There’s only one problem: Her body disappears below the neck.

Yaser Sheikh reaches out and stops the video. The woman is a stunningly lifelike virtual-reality avatar, her performance generated by data gathered beforehand. But Sheikh, who heads up Facebook Reality Labs’ Pittsburgh location, has another video he considers more impressive. In it, the same woman appears wearing a VR headset, as does a young man. Their headsetted real-life selves chat on the left side of the screen; on the right side, simultaneously, their avatars carry on in perfect concert. As mundane as the conversation is—they talk about hot yoga—it’s also an unprecedented glimpse at the future.

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Disrupting death: Technologists explore ways to digitize life


New technologies are opening the door to near-everlasting life as well as a myriad of ethical and philosophical questions.

Technologists are working on a variety of ways to avoid death — including uploading your brain to a computer.

Entrepreneurs in Silicon Valley and beyond are attempting to disrupt what has long been seen as one of the only inevitabilities of life: death.

Computer scientists and artificial intelligence specialists are developing programs that allow people to theoretically avoid death, opening the door to near-everlasting life as well as a myriad of ethical and philosophical questions.

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The rise of the computer-generated celebrity


A new generation of celebrities is selling out concerts, starring in commercials, and amassing huge Instagram followings. But none of them exist—corporeally, anyway. In recent years, and starting in Japan, technology and social media have spawned a digital demimonde of computer-generated stars, ranging from fake musicians and models to company mascots who appear as holograms (like Betty Crocker, with AI). When they’re not entertaining you, they’re trying to convince you of their humanity, and even the more cartoonish among them have fleshed-out personalities. In a way, it’s the purest expression of celebrity, which has always been an elaborate illusion. CGI starlets, though, “are much easier to control,” says Ryan Detert, CEO of the branding firm Influential. Except when they misbehave.

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UBS digitally clones it’s chief economist so he wouldn’t miss his meetings

Swiss Bank UBS Agrees To Turn Over 4,000 Plus Account Names

UBS Chief Economist Daniel Kalt is in very high demand. So, the Swiss investment bank decided to clone him, digitally at least. Now through a rendering captured by more than 120 high-definition cameras in over a full day of shooting, the company can have Kalt (or at least his likeness) meet with multiple clients at a time via interactive video chat, without ever even stepping foot in the conference room.

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Digital movies to replace film worldwide by 2015


The majority of cinema screens in the U.S. are expected to go digital in 2012.

We are used to seeing the standard 35 mm film in movie theaters but that will be replaced worldwide by digital technology in the next few years, and the hit blockbuster film “Avatar” is to blame for the shift, according to a new report.


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‘Avatar’ On Track To Sink ‘Titanic’ As Top Film Of All Time


‘Avatar ‘ will surpass ‘Titanic’ as top film of all time

Leave it to James Cameron to sink the Titanic.  His sci-fi opus Avatar sailed past The Dark Knight to become the second highest-grossing film of all time and is bearing down on his 1997 epic Titanic, which holds the title with $601 million.


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Digital Avatars Could Make TV Anchors Obsolete


“News at Seven”

Personalized newscasts culled from the web and presented by digital avatars. Baseball stories written by computers using raw data.  Television anchors and sports reporters may not need to start looking for other jobs just yet but students and professors at Northwestern University are working to make this futuristic vision of news a reality.

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Project Natal – Meeting Milo


Meeting Milo

Serious groundbreaking technology here. I have always said that motion controls for gaming, no matter what tech you used to derive your motion control, was a complete dead end for gaming, unless someone developed a revolutionary method to make it essential for gaming.

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Virtual Detective To Run Identity Parades

officer garcia

Officer Garcia, coming to an ID parade near you

A major cause of miscarriages of justice could be avoided if computers, rather than detectives, guided witnesses through the identification of suspects. That’s according to Brent Daugherty at the University of North Carolina in Charlotte and colleagues, who say that too often officers influence witnesses’ choices.


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