Synthesia Launches 'Expressive Avatars'

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Forget the rigid chatbots of the past! Synthesia's new AI avatars learn to express emotions. With support from Nvidia, these avatars offer more nuanced interactions.

The rigid mannequins of the past have disappeared with chatbots! Synthesia's new AI avatars have shed their poker faces and are learning to express emotions. Backed by tech giant Nvidia, Synthesia, an AI company focused on avatar creation, has unveiled a new generation of avatars called Expressive Avatars that can convey the full range of human emotions based on what you tell them.

This new army of characters can display emotions such as joy, sadness and frustration, offering a more nuanced and realistic interaction model for users. Synthesia's technology operates by analyzing extensive video data collected from human actors. The actors act out different emotional states in front of a green screen, which the AI system then uses to learn the nuanced facial expressions and body language associated with each emotion.

This data enables the creation of avatars that lead an emotional response to text inputs provided by users, making digital interactions feel more authentic and human.

Based in London, Synthesia has recently attracted significant investment, raising $90 million last year and reaching a valuation close to the usual $1 billion. This influx of capital underpins the potential of their technology. Currently, over 55,000 companies, including many from the Fortune 100, use Synthesia's avatars for tasks ranging from corporate presentations to training videos.

By eliminating the need for traditional video production elements like cameras and on-screen talent, Synthesia claims to significantly cut the cost and complexity of video production. The uses for Expressive Avatars are enormous. In customer service, AI avatars can not only provide information but also empathically relate to customer concerns.

Educational tools can be made more engaging by using avatars to simulate teacher-student interactions. Furthermore, the entertainment sector may see new storytelling techniques emerge, with avatars enabling new forms of narrative expression.

But the progress also brings challenges, particularly in the potential for abuse by creating misleading content such as fake news. To mitigate these risks, Synthesia insists that those who wish to create content with their avatars become business customers. They have also established a robust framework to ensure that their technology is used ethically, to protect against misuse.”

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