Auckland AI at Forefront of New Virtual Workplaces

Auckland-based AI developers UneeQ and Soul Machines’ “array of digital colleagues act as advisors and assistants, doing much of the heavy lifting of work in the metaverse and, in theory, free up human workers for more productive, value-added tasks,” Mark Purdy reports for a Harvard Business Review article discussing how the metaverse is changing work.

“Recent years have seen tremendous progress in conversational AI systems – algorithms that can understand text and voice conversations and converse in natural language,” Purdy writes. “Such algorithms are now morphing into digital humans that can sense and interpret context, show emotions, make human-like gestures, and make decisions. One example is UneeQ, an international technology platform that focuses on creating ‘digital humans’ that can work across a wide variety of fields and different roles. UneeQ’s digital workers include Nola, a digital shopping assistant or concierge for the Noel Leeming stores in New Zealand; Rachel, an always-on mortgage adviser; and Daniel, a digital double of the UBS Chief Economist, who can meet multiple clients at once to provide personalised wealth management advice.

“Emotions are the next frontier in the metaverse. Soul Machines is bringing together advances in AI (such as machine learning and computer vision) and in autonomous animation (such as expression rendering, gaze direction, and real-time gesturing) to create lifelike, emotionally-responsive digital humans.

“Digital human technology opens up a vast realm of possibilities for workers and organisations.”

Original article by Mark Purdy, Harvard Business Review, April 5, 2022.


Tags: AI  Harvard Business Review  metaverse  Soul Machines  UneeQ