Five reasons to get excited about the next wave of digital human innovation

Why are we so excited about the imminent future of digital humans? Let us explain with five examples.

July 22, 2020
Five reasons to get excited about the next wave of digital human innovation

The history of artificial intelligence plots a timeline of AI moving from being a cultural phenomenon to a scientific one.

We’ve spent decades knowing AI was going to be a big part of mankind’s future – through both works of fiction and pioneering creations like Deep Blue – but it’s only been in the past few years when growth in commercial AI-powered digital humans has reached the beginnings of an exponential curve.

By 2030, Emergen Research estimates that the digital human market will be worth $528 billion, growing 46.4% (CAGR) each year until then.

As always, those who experiment with new technologies now are the ones who’ll be ahead in the future – and that particularly applies to digital humans who require a level of ongoing training and development to become most effective at their jobs.

You might be able to tell that we’re pretty pumped. Here are five reasons why we should all be excited about the next wave of digital human innovation that’s just started.

1. Because they’re helping to serve the underserved

If you’re one of the nearly three million wheelchair users in the United States, you’ll know your shopping experience isn’t the same as everyone else’s.

Going into a fashion store is often difficult, sometimes impossible. So you go online, but struggle massively to find well-fitting clothes for your situation without trying them on first and without speaking to someone who can help.

Inclusive fashion company All is for All first conceptualized how to make fashion fairer by building a digital human helper who can talk about the accessibility features of garments online.

Other under-serviced people include those who find having real face-to-face conversations difficult, those who live in remote areas and can’t access the same services as others, and those who live in poverty.

Currently, more than 260 million children worldwide don’t go to school. Imagine what could go right if they all had – at very least – a digital human teacher to give them the basic skills they need in life.

They’re just some of the ideas we’d love to see built on Creator. So if you’re aiming to service those underserved by technology or society, please let us know and, if you need help, we’ll work with you to get the ball rolling.

2. Because they’re free of judgement – and that really matters

You don’t know what you don’t know. But most people will never know what they don’t know for fear of asking.

For example, two-thirds of Americans cannot pass a basic financial literacy test. So what are the chances they’re making the types of financial decisions that put them in good stead? Money in particular is one of those things most people don’t seek help with because they feel embarrassed.

Another is our health, where people feel too much pressure to open up to a real human – a human with the undoubted ability to help, but also capacity to judge and show bias.

Digital humans don’t have that capacity. In fact, the University of Southern California found that US soldiers returning from conflict opened up more to their “virtual therapist” than they did on official evaluations, helping medical staff better identify signs of PTSD and poor mental health in veterans.

If you’re using UneeQ Creator to build a similar advisor, companion or support worker, take into account what questions end users would shy away from in a human-to-human conversation – because they just might come up in a human-to-machine one.

3. Because the world is only getting more digital and less personal

Gartner predicts that soon 85% of all communication organizations have with people will be non-human. Chatbots, self-service portals, self check-out kiosks and other digital “things” have replaced what used to often be a personal experience with a real person.

That trend isn’t going to slow down – 95% of customer interactions will be with AI by 2025, says Servion Global. But think about what we’re losing in the process; the opportunity to have our needs taken care of with a smile, a show of empathy, a reassuring tone and a natural emotional connection.

Perhaps that’s why 71% of Americans would rather interact with a human than a chatbot or some other automated process.

Let’s be real, digital humans aren’t as good at forming a human connection as a real human (nothing could be) but they are the only way to emulate it virtually and at scale. Why is that important?

4. Because we’re actually hard-wired for these types of human connection

Humans are emotional beings, all the way down to our basic hardware.

In 1981, Roger W. Sperry won the Nobel Prize for identifying the split nature of the brain. The left side is analytical and deals in recognising language, while the right side works on the sensory dimension of things, like observing feelings and understanding non-verbal cues such as tone of voice.

“Unlike other aspects of cognitive function,” Sperry wrote, “emotions have never been readily confinable to one hemisphere. The emotional effects tend to spread rapidly to involve both hemispheres.”

So, while conversational AI – voice assistants and chatbots – or even live chat functions with a real human can converse in a very left-brain way, they’re missing out on things like body language and tone of voice – the right-brain elements of natural conversation that make emotional connection possible. Digital humans use their voice and animation to convey these cues.

Considering that emotionally connected customers are found to be more than twice as valuable to businesses as highly satisfied customers, it’s something businesses and customers can look forward to when digital humans are everywhere.

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5. Because you can innovate with digital humans today

Don’t be fooled into thinking digital humans are a future-state technology. There’s nothing to stop your brand employing them right now – as many other major brands have done already.

Digital humans are working in banking, wealth management, insurance, retail, healthcare, property development, tourism and automotive industries.

And it’s also never been a better time to experiment with your own digital human concepts. Just jump on to UneeQ Creator, design your employee, integrate your conversational platform (or just chat with your creation) and get a feel for whether the concept could fly in your organization.

No PhD necessary. If you have an idea to explore, you can do so right now.