The virtual human being separated from the Metaverse is just a “digital worker”

Three Questions for Virtual Humans: Who Are You From Where Are You Going?

According to the United Nations’ World Population Prospects report, by the end of this century, the world’s population will exceed the 11 billion mark.

11 billion. According to academic predictions, this is the peak state of the earth’s population, and then the population will gradually decrease.

One and the other.

“The number of virtual humans will be 10 times that of humans in the future.” In the imagination of artificial intelligence “Xiaobing”, virtual humans seem to be the masters of the future world.

We can’t completely believe Xiaoice’s words, because TA is a member of the virtual human. But at the same time, it cannot be denied that this “ethnic group” is gradually infiltrating human life.

Clothes, the virtual anchor will receive you in the live broadcast room; food, the virtual spokesperson recommends you a hamburger set meal; live, the virtual employee of a real estate company won the Best Newcomer Award; OK, the virtual person has become a hot car model.

In short, in the past two years, the east wind of the Metaverse has become more and more popular, and more and more virtual people have been blown into the public eye.

But everyone knows virtual people, but they don’t know the real face of virtual people. Objectively speaking, the vast majority of the people who are watching the lively melon eating people’s cognition of virtual people only stay on the literal.

It’s time to ask the three soul questions to the virtual human: Who are you? Where did it come from? Where are you going?     

Are they human?

What is a virtual person? This is the first question to be clarified.

However, to this day, it is still difficult for the industry to find a unified and clear definition.

From the perspective of application, CITIC Securities classified virtual humans into two categories in the industry research report: personality type and practical type. There are three categories, and Tianfeng Securities emphasizes three different concepts of virtual human, digital human, and virtual digital human…

Each has its own reasons, and a consensus has not been reached. Then let’s start from reality and take a look at what the active virtual people “look like”:

The virtual human being separated from the Metaverse is just a "digital worker"

 The first is the virtual person in the e-commerce live broadcast room. A character image stands in front of the stage, and behind it is actually a set of intelligent customer service system.

The original text communication with customers has now become from the mouth of the virtual anchor. As long as you ask a few more questions, you will find that this kind of virtual person can only interact mechanically according to the established program.

The virtual human being separated from the Metaverse is just a "digital worker"

➤The  second is the virtual people in short videos and commercials, such as Liu Yexi, the top actor in the virtual human circle, and Xijiajia, who shot a commercial for McDonald’s some time ago. They often appear in a completed video work. The interaction with outside the plot is basically 0.

The virtual human being separated from the Metaverse is just a "digital worker"

➤Finally  , there is the real twin virtual human, that is, the human in the real world is mapped in the virtual world in real time, just like in the movie “Ready Player One”, no matter from the perspective of virtual or human, it is the closest to the real form of virtual human.

Most of the virtual people on the market cannot jump out of the three categories. Based on this, we have a clearer understanding of virtual people: they have two basic characteristics, anthropomorphism and virtualization .

Correspondingly, the co-founder and CTO of Nuoyiteng, which is in the leading position in the domestic motion capture field, said to Xiong Chumo that when the industry talks about virtual humans, it generally cuts in from two dimensions, “First Is there anyone in the middle, whether the second final product is real-time or post-production.

This extends to the technical level.

The person in the middle, the concept comes from Japan, which means the manipulator behind the virtual person.Through different implementation methods such as motion capture, expression capture, and voice drive, the group portrait of virtual people can be further subdivided.

Dai Ruoli said: “Virtual human beings in the middle of nowhere can carry out relatively complex and timely interactive behaviors, while virtual humans that rely on state machine synthetic actions, synthetic expressions or artificial intelligence synthetic actions are more used for low-frequency interactive customer service. Scenarios, such as virtual news anchors reading drafts and broadcasting.”

The second dimension, the real-time rendering and post-production of virtual humans, is also the difference between the technical routes. The former emphasizes timely virtualized mapping, while the latter is the production process of film and television.

When the application is implemented, different technical means are used as needed. For example, Liu Yexi’s main position is usually in short videos, and the identity label of the virtual person is strengthened through the content of the plot. And when some activities need to appear and interact, she will also come to the scene in person. She was on the same stage with Mo Yan some time ago.

Therefore, just as humans are divided into different races in the real world, there are also clear boundaries between virtual humans. The most typical difference is that some virtual people are really people, and some are not.     

Is this fire in vain?

Facing the emerging “ethnic group” of virtual humans, I wonder if everyone has a feeling of deja vu.

As mentioned above, the virtual people represented by the virtual anchors of e-commerce live broadcast rooms just put on a brand new skin on the familiar things, which makes people feel a strange and familiar sense of contradiction.

In fact, the same goes for other types of virtual humans. For example, Liu Yexi and Xijiajia are similar to characters like Avatar and Alita in special effects movies; twin virtual humans driven by technologies such as motion capture are inevitably reminiscent of the iPhone’s Memoji function.

The virtual human, which is claimed to be from the future digital world, does not seem to be as mysterious as imagined.

And this is also a manifestation of the virtual human being too hot.

The virtual human being separated from the Metaverse is just a "digital worker"

According to a report released by iiMedia Research, in 2021, the core market size of virtual humans in China will be 6.22 billion yuan, and the scale of industrial trial production driven by it will be 107.49 billion yuan. It is expected that by 20215, the two sets of figures will expand to 48.06 billion yuan and 640.27 billion yuan respectively.

The scale is as large as 100 billion, and there are many people who fish in troubled waters.

For example, Dai Ruoli believes, “Post-production, the output is completely non-interactive, and currently strictly speaking, it cannot be regarded as a virtual human. Their production methods have actually existed for many years, but now various technologies are more Complete, faster to make.”

A film and television practitioner also expressed the same view, “You can portray any character in the script, whether it is a virtual person or an alien, but not everyone can become popular.”

Chuangyi Technology, a company affiliated to Liu Yexi, revealed that the team invested more than one million yuan for Liu Yexi, and more than 160 people were serving her. Behind the IP of Liu Yexi is a mature film production team supporting it.

And the reason why we have to go to great lengths to package virtual humans is for only one purpose – commercial value.

For example, some entertainment companies have spent a lot of money to create virtual idols in the past two years, because compared with real idols, virtual people will not grow old and can do multiple jobs at the same time in unlimited avatars, and there is no need to worry about his personality collapse. There will be no contract disputes with the company.

Station B attaches great importance to virtual idols. Since the establishment of the virtual anchor section in 2018, it has frequently shot in this field. In 2019, through the acquisition of Shanghai He Nian, he won the top virtual idol Luo Tianyi, and in early 2022, he acquired a company specializing in the research and transportation of virtual idols.

The same is true for virtual anchors and virtual employees. An executive of a domestic company that provides virtual human customization services said that their company’s virtual human has been used in live e-commerce, live show live broadcast, online education, film and television content production and other scenarios. People can be said to be fully owned by the company.”

“Although Liu Yexi’s company says it doesn’t take the road of virtual idols, it is actually doing the IP economy. Moreover, the real person has to share with MCN, and the income of the virtual person belongs to the company,” said the above-mentioned industry insider.

This fundamentally determines that the current service groups of virtual people are mainly B-end customers.

The same is true. Whether it is a brand hiring a spokesperson, a company cultivating virtual idols, IPs, or news anchors and live anchors who are active on the screen, although the audience of virtual people is concentrated on the C-side, there is no exception for those who pay for virtual people behind the scenes. All are B-end business owners.

Create value for the B-end, but the experience of the C-end audience has not been substantially improved, and even in some scenarios, it is not as good as a real person.

For example, the virtual anchors in the live broadcast rooms of some Taobao stores, the merchants have achieved 24-hour non-stop broadcasting, but for users, the virtual anchors are like a ruthless manuscript reading machine. Respond to consumer questions in a responsive manner.

So the question is, since it cannot reflect the needs of the general public, once the novelty is over, how long will the fire of virtual humans last? 

What’s with the Metaverse?

“If the Metaverse is the ultimate form of digitization, the virtual human is the digitization of the human subject.”

Practitioners in the virtual human industry generally believe that virtual human is equivalent to the infrastructure of the Metaverse. When human beings migrate to the Metaverse, virtual human is everyone’s digital avatar.

According to this logic, the virtual human should be based on the Metaverse, but now it is obvious that the Metaverse has not arrived, and the virtual human is the first. While the Metaverse is far from being built, the virtual human beings have already begun to “take orders online”, and even created a market scale of 100 billion.

The order is reversed, and it still comes down to the fact that the value of virtual humans in C-end users is difficult to achieve.

Liu Yexi gained millions of followers overnight, and the number of followers exceeded 10 million in two months. There is no doubt that under the tuyere of the Metaverse, he fully enjoyed the traffic dividend. Baidu’s virtual person Xijiajia became the spokesperson of McDonald’s new products, which is because the brand took a fancy to the popularity of the Metaverse, and then tilted its marketing activities to virtual people.

As mentioned above, the current activities are still limited to B-end customers. Virtual people are just “digital workers” bought by companies with money.

The market size of 640.27 billion yuan driven by virtual humans mentioned in the report by iiMedia is precisely the realization of virtual humans on the B side.

The virtual human being separated from the Metaverse is just a "digital worker"

On the one hand, it is the traditional IP monetization model, which uses the popularity of virtual people and Metaverse to enlarge the scale of fans, and then realizes the monetization through brand promotion. AYAYI, which became popular in May last year, received an invitation from a first-line brand in the second month, and successfully joined Ali, with continuous business activities. According to industry insiders, Luo Tianyi, a senior in the virtual human world, has an offer of around 1.5 million yuan for the linkage with the brand, and the endorsement price reaches 10 million a year, and the appearance fee is not inferior to that of a real star;

On the other hand, iiMedia Research Consulting analysts believe that virtual human images combined with artificial intelligence and other technologies can enable new formats such as virtual anchors, digital employees, and virtual idols to meet the diverse needs of users, thereby generating market opportunities.

And from the B side to the C side, the establishment of the Metaverse is a hard threshold.

Under the tuyere of the Metaverse, the virtual reality industry is accelerating its march into the C-end consumer market.

For example, Noitom’s entry-level motion capture products have become smaller and lighter with each iteration, and some people in the industry have regarded them as consumer-grade products.

Another example is STEPVR, a domestic enterprise that has been in the field of virtual reality for many years, and gradually has technical reserves such as motion capture, force feedback, and universal treadmill. Directly for home users.

According to the IDC industry report, the global AR/VR headset shipments will reach 11.23 million units in 2021, a year-on-year increase of 92.1%. Among them, the VR headset shipments reached 10.95 million units, breaking through an important turning point in the industry with an annual shipment of 10 million units. IDC emphasized that 2021 is the year when the AR/VR headset market explodes again after 2016.

One faction is thriving, but crossing the threshold is no easy task.

The virtual human being separated from the Metaverse is just a "digital worker"

The Oasis Game in Ready Player One

Taking the scene shown in “Ready Player One” as an example, the hardware level needs to enter the virtual world from the real world equipment, and the software level needs to build the people and applications represented by the “oasis”, as well as the corresponding Metaverse ecology.

Consistent with the description by Neil Stephenson, who proposed the concept of the Metaverse, it is a real digital space that people can live in.

Objectively speaking, the current level of hardware and software development is still difficult to compare with the settings of “Ready Player One” and “Avalanche”. As a result, the consensus of the masses to emigrate to the digital world cannot be formed, and the soil for the popularization of virtual humans cannot be discussed.

Although virtual people appear frequently, it will take a long time to truly integrate into public life. At the very least, that day won’t come until the Metaverse takes shape.

Therefore, an industry insider said bluntly, “For a long time to come, it will be difficult for virtual people to be directly used by the C-side, and the tool providers and service providers in the upstream of the industry chain, (their) service entities are still B-side. Lord.”     

write at the end

Who are you? Where did it come from? Where are you going?

Going back to the three questions of the soul at the beginning, the answer is already clear.

Who is the virtual person? To the general public, he is the digital avatar of each of us;

Where do the active virtual people at this stage come from? They are more the product of commercial activities under the wind, like a virtual migrant worker;

And the place where the virtual person will eventually go is the Metaverse, which is still unknown.

The development of things is always in a spiral.

No one can deny the digital trend represented by virtual people and Metaverse. What we need to think about is whether the current development path of virtual people and Metaverse deviates from the envisioned digital future?

If the road goes astray, when will it be back on track?

Let the bullet fly a little longer.

Posted by:CoinYuppie,Reprinted with attribution to:https://coinyuppie.com/the-virtual-human-being-separated-from-the-metaverse-is-just-a-digital-worker/
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