Tokyo-based EmbodyMe, the Japanese startup behind VR and deepfake technologies, launched a new app called Xpression Chat on Thursday, which allows you talk to any virtual human of your favor through ChatGPT integration. The app is available for for iOS and Android. According to the company’s CEO Issay Yoshida, the most popular response from beta users has been to create avatars from celebrity photos and have them talk.
Xpression Chat is taking on the realm of the virtual human. By simply uploading a photo of a person of your choice, you’ll be allowed to experience the realm of the virtual human in your mobile. The company hopes to use the app as a starting point to propose use cases to various businesses. For this reason, the company will also start offering SDKs (software developer kits) for multiple platforms – iOS, Android, Windows, and Mac.
According to Yoshida, the technology’s use cases for business may include virtual customer representative using digital signage. In the scene like, let’s say, asking for product recommendations in a store or getting directions to a location in the airport, representative will be replaced by virtual human sooner or later, because of the need for multilingual support and labor shortage. If the LLM (large language model) used here has an access to more information sources to refer to, you’ll be never told that “I have no idea. Would you like to ask someone else?” Yoshida says “Virtual humans will definitely answer you in a smarter way”.
He also thinks it could be applied to education and other areas. In addition, they may offer services to influencers who constantly stream live programs. For example, a virtual chatbot that can behave as if the influencer is could expand the possibilities of his/her activities. Compared to traditional chatbot services, which are often text or voice only, Xpression Chat would allow them to keep their own appearance making it easier to keep engaging with their fans even in a form of virtual human.
If we develop a virtual human-based chatbot, it will be much more personal rather than existing virtual performers such as Vocaloid or VTuber.
EmbodyMe will focus on cultivating business demand by presenting the app combining the company’s own technology with the latest AI technology. The app is offered on a freemium basis, but if users choose a paid premium option, the number of conversations will be unlimited. The premium plan also allows more easily users to import images for their avatar from mobile photo storage and image searches. The premium plan includes a 7-day free trial period.