Avatars are commonly known as computer characters representing a real-life person, concept or artificial entity. Quite often this term is used to address human-like online assistants representing organizations, commercial firms and brands.
…you wouldn’t like to share your elevator with any of these guys below, would you?
As virtual humans are close to photo-realistic perfection, they risk making real humans uncomfortable. This intriguing phenomenon, known as the “uncanny valley”, is well known but not well understood.
The uncanny valley has even led studios like Pixar to shy away from human photorealism, instead choosing cartoony stylization (like the characters of “The Incredibles”). The uncanny valley especially worries video game designers, because their animations are rendered instantaneously, without time for careful staging or touching up.
You can read more about the “Uncanny Valley” at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Uncanny_valley
Surprisingly enough, some natural language vendors, chat bot producers, and self-service specialists seem have not learned this lesson, and they use some human-like implementations with very scary looks, that fall completely into the “zombie” category, such as the ones shown above…
At Inbenta we work hard to offer a next generation of avatars that will look awesome, based on 3D modeling, like Veronica our virtual assistant:
We would love to hear your feedback! Do you think our avatars will overcome the uncanny valley? Let us know your thoughts at @inbenta.
And always remember: if you plan to use an avatar, choose a good one!