What is Couger’s Virtual Human? Why is it drawing so much attention from people around the world? What has made prestigious organizations like Nikkei Shimbun and Stanford University interested in it? Is it a game?
What is the first thing that comes to mind when you hear of an AI Virtual Character?
Maybe the character in the game called “SEAMAN” which enables you to interact with humans in the game. Or, maybe you imagine something that looks like a person and lives with you.
Couger is developing an AI virtual character, but it is called a “Virtual Human Agent” (VHA). There are several reasons why it is called a “virtual human” rather than a virtual character.
It is neither a game nor a communication tool
Couger’s virtual human agent is the “Next Generation Interface” between humans and technology.
A timeline of how we interact with modern electronic technology would look something like: button → controller → keyboard → mouse → touch panel → smart speaker. It is an evolution that is set to continue as technology keeps advancing.
In the near future, self-driving vehicles will take to the streets and our cities and homes will become smart. We will need a new way to interact with all of these systems. Couger believes that the Virtual Human Agent can be used in all these scenarios.
The company’s Virtual Human Agent is made to be “real-life oriented” and is not limited to certain services. It is the next-generation interface that blends into every scene.
A VHA has a sense of sight and can recognize people and objects. It has a sense of hearing and can recognize people’s words. It has emotional capabilites, including the ability to recognise and express feelings like happiness and sadness. It has a memory and can recall previous remarks, interactions, and behavioural patterns so it can better react according to your personal preferences.
We do not want it to become just a convenient tool that just follows orders. We are aiming to make an “agent” that is able to gather and analyze information from various external sources, such as weather reports or your own personal calendar, and capable of proposing services that suit every situation.
The members of Couger are highly experienced in the game industry, and during the development of the virtual human agent, they have been able to leverage their experience of developing game character AI and creating believable, relatable virtual characters.
The human-like nature of Couger’s VHA is part of what makes it trustworthy enough for humans to accept it and its suggestions. Therefore, its appearance, communication, and gestures are all being perfected to make it ー and interactions with it ー more human.
A unique quality of this development is that it combines various branches of AI such as “machine learning,” “game AI,” and “AI-based human science,” and also uses cloud robotics and Blockchain technology.
In summary, the points that are being focused on are “thorough realistic orientation” and “the AI character as the next generation interface,” and combining these latest technologies has given it features and abilities that make it different from other AI characters. This is one of the main reasons it has been drawing attention from prestigious media and organizations.
Unknowingly introduced by overseas media
Couger presented at the Tech Conference “EDCON” that was held in Toronto, Canada this May as one of the ten teams selected from around the world. They introduced the Virtual Human Agent to the large audience.
Rumors spread widely.
It was taken up on the cover page of Nikkei Sangyo Shimbun.
In June, Couger carried out a Virtual Human Hackathon together with the Blockchain company Ocean Protocol from Berlin, Germany.
This October Couger was requested by the prestigious Stanford University to give a lecture.
These examples illustrate how the Virtual Human Agent gets attention from around the world. You may get an idea of why in the videos below.
▶︎ Video 1
- Recognizing a person with a smart camera
- Linking with home appliances
- Having a conversation about the weather and calendar information
- Moving between a monitor and a smartphone
- Recognizing objects with a smart camera
- Approaching people
- Turning around and coming over to you when you call
▶︎ Video 2
- Recognizing when people have entered the conference room
- Recognizing that there are not enough drinks for everyone in the room
- Proposing that the staff bring drinks to the conference room
- Recognizing individuals, making comments that are linked to the calendar and weather
- Making proposals based on the individual’s hobbies and location
- Understanding the content of conversations and proposing suitable actions
In the movie list above, 1 is the oldest and 3 is the latest movie. It is continuously evolving.
Couger is looking for collaborators that want to work together to make a “never before seen structure” that draws the attention of the world.
Welcome! We are waiting for entries from people excited to make new things!