Monday, 13 january 2020 | Redacción CEU
Once again, the city of Las Vegas hosted one of the most important and also bizarre international electronics events in the world: the Consumer Electronic Show (CES). It is an exhibition that serves as an international technological showcase, which invites us to guess which devices and technologies will become popular in the coming years. Many of the products presented at CES remain only as concepts, some evolve or give rise to other ideas while others end up in the market. Sometimes, it is easy to guess which projects will reach the general public and what they will look like when they do so, but other times things get complicated. For example, this is the case of Samsung’s "artificial humans". What does the idea of the Korean firm entail?
Have you ever met an "ARTIFICIAL"? That was the question that appeared on Neon's official account on Twitter last month. This is how Samsung managed to create expectation about the innovative idea that it would finally present at the last edition of CES, which took place last week in Las Vegas.
Actually, STAR Labs, whose initials refer to Samsung Technology & Advanced Research, is the firm that hides behind the development of what they call "artificial humans". What exactly do they mean when they talk about this technology? The Samsung subsidiary explains that Neon is a computationally created virtual being that looks and behaves like a real human being, with the ability to show emotions and intelligence.
Why is Neon different?
STAR Labs wants to make it clear that Neon is not just an AI assistant, an Internet interface or a music player. In order to ensure this, the firm emphasizes that this technology has nothing to do with the Samsung's virtual assistant known as Bixby, but rather with something that has never been seen before. Specifically, what would differentiate these avatars from the rest of them is the fact that they have a hyper-realistic appearance, answer immediately and behave in a very similar way to human beings. They might even get angry if we mistreat them. The idea of the company is that we think about them as friends, collaborators and companions, since, according to them, they are able to connect with people, learn from them, acquire new skills and evolve.
These virtual beings answer to their name, and not to an impersonal call such as "Hello, Neon". In fact, one of this project’s features that attract the most attention is that the avatars have not only a single personality, but different ones depending on what they are used for. To make them as human as possible, STAR Labs uses two technologies: CORE 3 and SPECTRA. The first one is a kind of behavior guide that enables them to interact and respond in real time. The second one is still in a development phase. This one is related to their intelligence, learning, emotions and memories.