Golden Age of virtual human, is it a momentary curiosity or will it be an co-existence?

Rosy, a virtual human (Source: Rosy Instagram)

‘Rosy’, a virtual human changed the flow of the industry by giving tremendous ripple effect to advertisement industry. A ‘virtual human’ created by ‘real people’ not only overtakes advertisement industry such as finance, cosmetics and fashion but also shows performance like top stars ahead of debut as a singer. In addition, various virtual humans appeared in row after the appearance of Rosy and we are getting familiar with living together.

When a virtual human appeared at first, there were public opinions that the current virtual human will also be ended with a short curiosity while referring to ‘Adam’, a cyber-singer who failed in the past. However, if you look at what the current virtual human does, she is attracting more attention as she is active in various fields including advertisement industry, entertainment, and influencers. Then, does it mean that virtual humans become an existence who will continue to be with us in the future?

Virtual human, who is ‘celebrity’ contract with entertainment companies.

Yuah, a virtual human (Source: Smile Gate)

Recently, we often hear a news of signing contract between big entertainment company and virtual human. YG Entertainment announced that it has signed an exclusive contract with ‘Han Yuah’, a virtual human of Smile Gate, and ‘Rina’, a virtual human of Netmarble company, had signed an exclusive contract with Sublime, an entertainment company which actor ‘Song Gangho’ and ‘Rain’ belong. Besides, various entertainment companies are announcing their plans for virtual human such as developing their own virtual humans.

As such, virtual humans are extending their field of activity to entertainment business starting as influencers and showing various performances such as singing, dancing, and acting. Since they were characterized by appearance most people prefer, they quickly inform their existence through SNS to get popularity from the public and were able to begin their activities in entertainment industry.

When did virtual humans become popular?

Adam, a cyber singer (Source: Adam Soft)

The beginning of a virtual human in Korea is ‘Adam’, a cyber singer. He made his debut in 1998 and was popular for a while. But his popularity wasn’t continued due to the limitation of 3D graphics at that time, and Adam remained as a failed case. The current virtual humans have overcome the precedent of failure and appeared again has emerged in different situation as before, so many people think it will succeed rather than fail.

The popularity of virtual humans underlies the popularity of Metaverse. Metaverse which combines ‘meta’ meaning virtual and ‘verse’ meaning universe can project our own view of the world into the virtual reality, so it is evaluated as the most promising business. Thanks to contactless culture has become popular due to the pandemic, the public get familiar with virtual world and media also reduced the sense of rejection against virtual humans. In addition, virtual humans are showing activities in various media such as YouTube, Instagram, etc. this made the public accept them naturally.

Evolving AI Human market, possibility of its development is almost limitless!

Another reason the virtual human could grow is graphics. As VR has expanded, the level of graphic has significantly improved than before, so we could realize virtual humans with natural figures just like a real person by adding AI to portraits or videos. As a result, very natural visual that is beyond so called ‘uncanny valley (When human see non-human beings, they feel rather uncomfortable if the level of resemblance is too high)’ was able to create.

Concert of Leslie Cheung that is restored by AI technology (Source: Hong Kong South China Morning Post)

Recently, virtual human based on AI technology can revive the figure in the past. As YouTube became very popular, videos in the past are also actively uploaded. Among them, videos of memory who had already passed away sometimes appeared. However, there were taken too long ago, the quality was not good. However, it was announced that concert tour video of Leslie Cheung in 2000s has restored with 4K quality video.

The concert tour video of Leslie Cheung which is restored by one IT company in China record recording over 10 million views in short time. It said that the background of being able to restore the video was AI. Since AI generated pixel, the figure of Leslie Cheung who was under dark concert hall could be a clear video because AI restored more detailed in the video.

‘kokoon cloud’, a website of improving video quality, is providing a service to improve the quality of videos by using self-developed AI. It allows to enhance video quality by two options such as ‘DeepField-SR1’ that generates the pixel by focusing on subject in the videos and ‘DeepField-SR2’ that erases noise and emphasizes texture. In addition, kokoon.cloud preparing services of ‘Face-Enhancement’ that is optimized for correcting figure videos and ‘Remastering’ that can restore old videos. Therefore, it is expected to be very helpful tools to create figure-related video contents.

‘Virtual Business’ including virtual humans are deeply related with AI. It creates virtual human by graphics and AI, or it gives an opportunity to meet celebrities in our memories who already passed away. In addition, it is not an exaggeration to say that AI involves in all parts of virtual world such as creating characters by compounding AI and graphics, so I am expected to be emerged another virtual world and the role of AI.

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