How virtual humans could transform the brand experience

The rise of artificial intelligence is bringing with it the advent of a new age of robotic humans. We look at their impact on service and engagement


Up next: How human-like robots are changing government's approach to dealing with the community

Community link

Virtual assistants are also popping up in some surprising places, including as the ‘human’ face of the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA), which is currently implementing the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS).

As part of that project, the NDIA has created Nadia, a virtual person human on the voice of Cate Blanchett, with a face and personality created by Soul Machine’s Sagar. Managing director and chief digital officer for the Centre for Digital Business, Marie Johnson, was involved in the creation of Nadia, and says it represents a reversal of almost everything government agencies have historically done online.

“In government over the last 20 years, it has all been about ‘put everything online’. The result of that has been all forms, and the complexity is pushed out to the citizen to figure it out,” Johnson says. “What are seeing now - and the thinking behind Nadia - is that the channels, technologies and interfaces need to adapt to the person.”

Creating Nadia involved extensive consultation with people with various forms of physical and mental disability, to build the most effective personality and language.

“It came from the community, and it was of the community,” Johnson says. “These are things that brands would equally need to consider.  What is the personality of their digital human representation?

“AI is not UX, and it is not IT. It is about the contextual experience. The training and development always needs to have an engagement from consumers at the beginning. Don’t think you can do it inhouse and pop it out and everything will be fine.”

Importantly, Johnson says Nadia was designed to operate across multiple channels from the outset to create a consistent interaction for clients, with the face being just one representation. Also, Johnson says it would be possible for virtual people such as Nadia to have other faces that might be more acceptable to different groups in the community.

“The face is part of the context, and so are the mannerisms and the gestures that come with that,” Johnson says. “There will be layers of that brand for other segments – you can have more than one face of the brand.”

Your own digital persona

But while virtual people might become the face of brands, it will not necessarily always be people they are interacting with.

Cross says that while Soul Machines can now create a virtual human in eight weeks, the company will release a set of tools in the next 18 months that anyone will be able to use to create a virtual representation of themselves.

“We definitely envisage a world in three to five years where everybody will be able to create digital personas to interact in the world for us and represent us,” Cross says. “We are building out something we call digital DNA, by capturing the digital faces of men and woman of different ages and ethnicities. Our objective is to build enough digital DNA that we can very quickly create any face in the world.

“We see a future where we will have digital versions of ourselves and digital companions.”

Perhaps the future of marketing won’t be all about business-to-consumer models, or even virtual-to-consumer, but virtual-to-virtual.

Read more of CMO's coverage on AI and its impact in marketing:


Follow CMO on Twitter: @CMOAustralia, take part in the CMO conversation on LinkedIn: CMO ANZ, join us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CMOAustralia, or check us out on Google+:google.com/+CmoAu

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Show Comments

Latest Videos

Conversations over a cuppa with CMO: ABC's Leisa Bacon

In this episode of Conversations over a Cuppa with CMO, ABC's director of audiences, Leisa Bacon, shares how she's navigated the COVID-19 crisis, the milestones and adaptability it's ushered in, and what sustained lessons there are for marketers as we start to recover.

More Videos

Very insightful. Executive leaders can let middle managers decide on the best course of action for the business and once these plans are ...

Abi TCA

CMOs: Let middle managers lead radical innovation

Read more

One failing brand tying up with another failing brand!

Realist

Binge and The Iconic launch Inactivewear clothing line

Read more

I am 56 years old and was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease after four years of decreasing mobility to the point of having family dress ...

Nancy Tunick

The personal digital approach that's helping Vision RT ride out the crisis

Read more

I am 57 and diagnosed in June 2009. I had a very long list of symptoms, some of which were. Keeping right arm close to my side while walk...

Nancy Tunick

Gartner survey: CMO spending hit by COVID-19

Read more

Audible did such a great job on their marketing and at the same time, there are no false promises. The support, quality, variety all good...

Vitaliy Lano

Audible's brand plan to build the value of audiobooks

Read more

Blog Posts

MYOD Dataset: Building a DAM

In my first article in this MYOD [Make Your Organisation Data-Driven] series, I articulated a one-line approach to successfully injecting data into your organisation’s DNA: Using a Dataset -> Skillset -> Mindset framework. This will take your people and processes on a journey to data actualisation.

Kshira Saagar

Group director of data science, Global Fashion Group

Business quiet? Now is the time to review your owned assets

For businesses and advertiser categories currently experiencing a slowdown in consumer activity, now is the optimal time to get started on projects that have been of high importance, but low urgency.

Olia Krivtchoun

CX discipline leader, Spark Foundry

Bottoms up: Lockdown lessons for an inverted marketing world

The effects of the coronavirus slammed the brakes on retail sales in pubs, clubs and restaurants. Fever-Tree’s Australia GM Andy Gaunt explains what they have learnt from some tricky months of trading

Andy Gaunt

General manager, Fever-Tree Australia and New Zealand

Sign in