Virtual You – Coming Soon

October 20, 2019
Virtual You – Coming Soon

Imagine using cloud supported technology and mixed reality headsets to create a virtual you, capable of using your own voice to deliver flawless speeches in languages you don’t actually speak!

This technology was recently showcased by Microsoft.  While the technology is currently expensive and requires some changes or improvements to be a reality in the business world, it holds interesting promise for the future of video conferencing, making it even more versatile and realistic than ever before.

Other companies have various holographic communications technology in the works as well.

Video Spotlight:

This post is based on the Video Conferencing Daily article, Azure Video Conferencing Impresses at Inspire 2019, by Ethan J., October 8, 2019; the Business Wire article, Double Me brings the Jedi Hologram Conference to every home by 2020, by Albert Kim, September 5, 2019; and the YouTube videos, Move over Tupac! Real Life-size Holograms set to Revolutionize Videoconferencing, by Human Media Lab, April 18, 2018, and Demo: The magic of AI neural TTS and holograms at Microsoft Inspire 2019, by Microsoft, July 17, 2019. Image source: Colin Anderson/Blend Images LLC

Discussion Questions:

1. Is this technology useful enough to become a viable option for business or personal communications in the future?

Guidance: Such technology may strike many as science fiction, or as unnecessary given current video conferencing technology. Students may enjoy reflecting on how many other now widely-used technologies were initially perceived the same way.  Many businesses are pursuing this idea, which could bring new realism to future communications that was never before possible.

2. How might holographic communications change the shape of various industries in the future?

Guidance: While it remains to be seen if the technology can be rendered inexpensive and simple enough to become widespread, imagine the advantages of being able to communicate realistically, with authentic vocal renderings and inflection in multiple languages. There are implications for the world of business, political and personal communications.

The need to travel by plane, stay in hotels, and use various other sorts of intermediary transportation could be rendered unnecessary, reshaping those industries as a result.  The need for security and the difficulty of moving celebrities or politicians from place to place could be greatly reduced.  The safety, security, and efficiency of communicating with holographs could markedly improve speed and productivity for those who need to speak or work with others in remote locations.

3. What ethical issues might accompany the ever-increasing use of lifelike technology such as holographic communications?

Guidance: It may become increasingly difficult for people to distinguish between what is real and what is not.  To what extent are communications or events portrayed as real or true actually happening, versus being manufactured to accomplish a particular end or to advance a certain agenda?

These ethical issues are unlikely to slow the development of these types of technology, but they will may become forces to be reckoned with if the technologies become widely used.


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