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WHY THIS MATTERS IN BRIEF

You’re a human flesh bag, but today the technology to create virtual beings and digital humans is accelerating fast.

 

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Humans aren’t what they used to be. For a start we’re digital now – in case you hadn’t heard. And we also have DNA with four strands not just two and we can be turned into super advanced biological computers. Yep, life is getting weird for us humans, and now rather than using a human to give its CES 2021 press conference LG brought out a digital human to make their announcements for them. And as a keynote speaker myself I look forwards to the day when I can hand my keynotes over to Ana, my own digital human, and live life on the beach. Provided she doesn’t replace me of course. Argh! Honestly I’m worth the cheap hotel room and rubbish hotel buffet …

 

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Reah Keem, a “virtual influencer” created by LG especially for the event served a dual purpose in highlighting some of LG’s upcoming products while serving as an advertisement for some of the company’s technology just by performing its task.

 

Meet virtual influencer Reah. Courtesy: LG

 

Virtual influencer Reah Keem is a composer and DJ, with a single song on SoundCloud, according to LG. Keem’s non-existent body somehow lives in Seoul and has about 6,000 Instagram followers. LG spent several weeks building up the virtual human’s following and refining its look before getting it to promote a new brand by wearing a hoodie with the words “Stay punk forever” on it.

 

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Trained with Artificial Intelligence Keem was designed to express a realistic personality, which is akin to what Fable Studios are trying to re-create with their virtual beings, complete with an interest in music and travel, and a very human-like disappointment at how the COVID-19 pandemic is limiting it from going places.

 

… and in the digital flesh.

 

The virtual human explained that that was why it was excited for LG’s new line of CLOi UV-C robots. Keem described how the robot, first unveiled last month, can reduce the presence of germs in places with a lot of traffic by shining a UV-C light on surfaces. Keem then waxed lyrical about how the robot would make it safe for it to travel again, despite being a virtual being itself without a body or the need to worry about disease.

 

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“Having said that though looks like it’s gonna be a while until we can have gigs and parties back on,” Keem said, “So until then, I’m going to call in my studio and work on my videos and stuff.”

LG’s decision to have a virtual human take over part of the talk fit well with the totally virtual CES this year. The technology was already taking off in some quarters, but the COVID-19 pandemic has likely helped accelerate the trend.

About author

Matthew Griffin

Matthew Griffin, described as “The Adviser behind the Advisers” and a “Young Kurzweil,” is the founder and CEO of the World Futures Forum and the 311 Institute, a global Futures and Deep Futures consultancy working between the dates of 2020 to 2070, and is an award winning futurist, and author of “Codex of the Future” series. Regularly featured in the global media, including AP, BBC, Bloomberg, CNBC, Discovery, RT, Viacom, and WIRED, Matthew’s ability to identify, track, and explain the impacts of hundreds of revolutionary emerging technologies on global culture, industry and society, is unparalleled. Recognised for the past six years as one of the world’s foremost futurists, innovation and strategy experts Matthew is an international speaker who helps governments, investors, multi-nationals and regulators around the world envision, build and lead an inclusive, sustainable future. A rare talent Matthew’s recent work includes mentoring Lunar XPrize teams, re-envisioning global education and training with the G20, and helping the world’s largest organisations envision and ideate the future of their products and services, industries, and countries. Matthew's clients include three Prime Ministers and several governments, including the G7, Accenture, Aon, Bain & Co, BCG, Credit Suisse, Dell EMC, Dentons, Deloitte, E&Y, GEMS, Huawei, JPMorgan Chase, KPMG, Lego, McKinsey, PWC, Qualcomm, SAP, Samsung, Sopra Steria, T-Mobile, and many more.

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