CES 2023: Conversational AI & Virtual Assistants in the Metaverse


Mark O'Dell

Generative AI and 3D content is receiving a lot of attention currently, due to its capability to build and populate the virtual spaces of the Metaverse. Attention is also focused on the plethora of human-computer interface (HCI) technologies that enable our interaction with the Metaverse, such as virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR) and haptic gloves.

AI Assistant

Virtual assistants are already proven and well-known through products such as Amazon’s Alexa, Apple’s Siri and Google Assistant. They can be utilised in the Metaverse through the form of avatars that assist users in their navigation of virtual spaces, acting as points of contact and providing information where required. Such concepts have already been recognised by an AI company, seen at the Consumer Electronics Show 2023, who aim to bring conversational AI and the Metaverse together. The company known as ‘MeetKai’ is based in Los Angeles, California and claims to provide cutting-edge AI that can understand complex speech and provide personalised results in a natural way.

While ‘MeetKai’ is an excellent state-of-the-art example, the development of conversational AI and virtual assistants still has a long way to go. Ideally, virtual assistants need to understand the context behind our queries and commands. One step on this journey would be the introduction of emotional intelligence. When coupled with voice, emotional intelligence can use intonation to convey meaning, thereby making virtual assistant conversations almost indistinguishable from humans. This may take more than a decade to achieve, but would make the Metaverse a much more compelling environment in which to spend our time.

In the near future, we can expect to see virtual assistants become more sophisticated and in a defence context this could include acting as a smart advisor for a variety of military tasks, particularly in a training role. Such entities could predict user needs, learn from their user behaviour and possibly act autonomously on their user's behalf. 

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