"I'm here today to convince you that the next operating system (OS) will be a virtual being," declared Edward Saatchi, CEO and co-founder of Fable, a company pioneering AI virtual beings, as he opened DATAx San Francisco.
After its beginnings as a VR studio, Fable relaunched as an AI-based virtual beings company during the Sundance Film Festival in January, refocusing its efforts on creating "virtual beings" – or digital humans – which are believable human characters created using AI. The company has created its own virtual being, Lucy, a young female character who talks in a human-like way and can remember conversations to learn and to use in the future.
"Visionary people 15 years ago saw a gradual slowdown in the desktop", remarked Saatchi. "And they started to think about how we could interact with technology in a completely different way". Saatchi said that as we witness a slowdown in the smartphone industry, we need to start thinking about what the next OS will be. Saatchi said that while AI and VR were a long way off from being the technology humankind required, voice assistants such as Alexa – which many people already have in their homes, – could instead provide digital characters that would fuel the next OS revolution.
While voice assistants are currently confined to speakers, Saatchi predicted that the next phase would be of the revolution be via digital characters.
"What would an OS be like in 2020?" he asked. "I think it would be a virtual human."
For these virtual humans to operate, Saatchi noted, it will need to be an OS that works across all devices, eventually working in augmented reality (AR) and VR. AI will be what makes a virtual being possible; for example, the technology will provide the being with ears to listen to music and to hear what we say. It will also form a brain for deepening relationships and learning, in addition to eyes, to recognize poses, eye contact and look through your photos.
Saatchi said that he believed these technologies together would usher in a new era of entertainment. He noted, however, that the sectors were not currently working together, calling for these two technologies to develop a closer working relationship to welcome this new age.
"We need AI and VR to come together to create a new world."