Metaverse

How to Create Your Digital Avatar for Metaverse |

How to Create Your Digital Avatar for Metaverse |

 

If you’ve ever seen my TikTok channel, you’ve come across Bernard Marr 2.0. He looks and sounds like me, but he is, in fact, my digital twin – an avatar that drives AI and machine learning.

Avatars are our digital representatives in the virtual world. The characters we control in video games can be considered avatars, and we will increasingly adopt avatars that will represent us as we shop, socialize, learn, and work in connected online environments we call metavers.

Bernard 2.0 has my face and voice because it was built by Synthesia from pictures and shots and merged using machine learning. He introduces me to videos – not necessarily because I couldn’t present them myself, but because it’s a great thing, and the technology is a lot of fun.

And one day, in the future, as AI becomes more capable, it could do a lot more. He could give lectures, teach, lead meetings and seminars on my behalf – and maybe even write my own books!

 

In fact, it is possible that one day everyone will have their own digital avatar that they can send to the digital domain to do whatever it takes. Even today we see that they are used in an increasing number of ways, such as:

Many companies use digital avatars to provide customer service – they can be managed directly by one person, for one-on-one interaction, or they can be powered by chatbots, allowing them to process many customer inquiries at the same time.

They can also add a human touch to synthetic video – appearing in content such as corporate training videos and instructional guides instead of more expensive and unpredictable human actors.

Digital avatars have also been used in health and therapeutic settings – such as teaching social skills and children’s interaction skills with autism.

They are also increasingly used in media and entertainment. Businessman Alan Sugar has emerged as an avatar who has set tasks for contestants in the latest British series The Apprentice, and Game of Thrones star Maisie Williams has emerged as an avatar to promote her role as global sustainability ambassador for H&M.

How to create your own avatar today

There are a number of tools and services that anyone can use right now if they want to start making their own digital avatar.

Traditionally, digital avatars can be as simple as a 2D image used for identification on social media or in an online chat room.

The next step in their evolution came with the advent of 3D online environments such as Second Life (in many ways an early prototype of the metaverse) and later platforms such as Meta Horizon Worlds.

However, these days they can also look super-realistic – like mine, which is made of video images and is almost indistinguishable from the real thing.

Each has its advantages. More realistic avatars could create more impressive experiences for viewers or anyone who communicates with them. They are simpler, much faster and cheaper to make, and they can be more flexible. For example, you can quickly change their clothes, accessories or hairstyles to suit different purposes or environments!

Numerous providers offer the service. Synthesia allows you to create very realistic, premium avatars for use in synthetic video content.

Ready Player Me is a service for creating 3D full-body avatars that can then be exported to a variety of different metaverse environments, including VRChat and Somnium Space.

Bitmoji is a tool that has been around for some time and allows anyone to create an avatar from a cartoon. Using software development tools, they can then be introduced to a large number of games and applications, allowing users to carry their personality as they move between virtual worlds.

You can even use a service like Tafi that lets you tweak and decorate your personalized avatar with world-renowned brands including DC Comics, Coca Cola and Champion. The accessories are sold as NFT, which allows you to show the fact that your digital twin is wearing something authentic and unique!

What’s next?

As the technology used to create avatars improves, we can expect them to start living their own lives both inside and outside the virtual world.

One of the most interesting aspects of the metaverse concept is the ability to merge the virtual and the real. Soon we will not be limited to creating avatars that look and sound like us – we can expect them to become an extension of our personality so that we can use them to express ourselves in any way we want. It is not inconceivable that my avatar will one day appear as a hologram for a presentation or lecture in the real world.

Looking ahead, the words he utters may not be anything I’ve ever said myself – using AI, I could formulate speeches and lessons myself! One way to imagine this is to think of avatars evolving from puppets under our direct control into autonomous beings capable of acting in ways that, although we inform them, are all themselves.

Early steps in that direction can already be seen in projects such as the partnership between GeeneeAR and Ready Player Me, which allows anyone to switch computer-generated avatar images to real-life shots of themselves.

This mixing of the real and the virtual lies in much of the creative value at the heart of the metaverse and the web3. We know that even if it is possible, people do not always want to spend all their time in virtual worlds. We don’t have to with avatars – they can be our representatives in these worlds, using the convenience, flexibility and instantaneity of the digital domain for the benefit of our real world.

It is also interesting to note that this “I 2.0”, unlike the true self, in all its intentions and purposes, is immortal – meaning it can continue to learn, communicate and teach long after the true self has ejected this death spiral. The ethical and philosophical implications of this are already being discussed.

As the real and virtual worlds get closer, avatars are likely to play an increasingly important role in our lives. Through them we will be able to spend more time with friends and loved ones, even when we are physically many miles away. Geography will cease to be an obstacle to what we can learn and experience. Virtual reality and augmented reality will make these experiences seem more real and impressive than ever before. It’s definitely a future I can’t wait to see!

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