Samsung-Backed NEON Debuts Shockingly Realistic Virtual Humans at CES 2020

Digital chatbots that look and react realistically.

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Tech
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Little information has surfaced about NEON since it launched on Twitter in December, aside from the fact that it’s backed by Samsung‘s forward-looking Technology and Advanced Research Labs (STAR Labs). On January 6, the mysterious company introduced its magnum opus: stunningly realistic virtual human beings.

Dubbed Neons, the virtual beings utilize artificial intelligence to demonstrate realistic emotions and intelligence, with the ability to fluidly respond to conversations. “Neons are not AI assistants,” the company said, as quoted by CNET. “Neons are more like us, an independent but virtual living being, who can show emotions and learn from experiences. Unlike AI assistants, Neons do not know it all, and they are not an interface to the internet to ask for weather updates or to play your favorite music.”

If there’s any takeaway that NEON wants to impart upon viewers, it’s that Neons are not a replacement for Amazon‘s Alexa or Samsung’s Bixby. Neons are, at their core, digital chatbots intended to become companions instead of tools, responding to human interaction with a growing consciousness that allows for truly believable discussion.

Each Neon avatar is powered by NEON’s proprietary CORE R3 rule, informed by three crucial R’s: Reality, Realtime and Responsive. These tenets propose Neons that are lifelike, latency-free and strikingly human, able to hold conversations in the same way that living beings communicate to one another.

Of course, any news of cutting-edge artificial intelligence brings with it fears of privacy and ethicality; CNET also quotes NEON claiming that its Core R3 facets are underscored by ethical considerations and an awareness of user “Privacy and trust,” according to NEON’s site. No one will be able to access an interaction between Neon and user except for those two parties, and private data is reportedly never shared without permission.

Take a closer look at the AI humans on NEON’s website and watch the above video to see them in action. Unsurprisingly, there’s no news of a public rollout.

Elsewhere at CES, Samsung introduced a bezel-free TV, complete with an AI that automatically optimizes picture quality.

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