/m/e/t/a/ on Thu, 14 Oct 1999 19:48:59 +0200 (CEST)

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<nettime> eden

Virtual humans are waiting in the wings, poised to serve and entertain us,
said participants at the Virtual Humans 2 conference, which brought
together academia, the military, technologists, and entertainment types to
share their progress toward the discipline's Holy Grail - an autonomous,
computer-generated individual indistinguishable from a human being. 

We'll be able to brush up on social and emotional skills, such as
disciplining a worker or chatting up a first date, by practicing first on
virtual humans. "We can already capture human facial expression, and use
that to animate a computer-generated character" said Linda Jacobson, VR
evangelist at Silicon Graphics. "But those motions have yet to be
simulated in an autonomous setting." 

Jacobson predicts the appearance of virtual surrogates within
two-and-a-half to three years. 


Plastic surgery, which was intelligently used in Hollywood history, has
become increasingly artificial in style: Women's faces are being pulled
too tight and turning generic and characterless, while breasts look more
and more like blocks of frozen squash. Visuals have gotten homogenized
among not just porn stars but soap opera ingenues and TV newswomen. 


Advances in computer science would occur more rapidly if it weren't for
one thing: people. 

"People are the single most limiting factor to the progress of computer
science" said David Tennerhouse, chief scientist with Darpa in a speech at
Mobicom, a mobile technology conference. "We need to get humans out of the
computing loop"  he said. 


In a recent survey, CommCore and two other firms that specialize in
high-tech communications counseling found that one in five office workers
use e-mail as a way to avoid speaking to people in person -- even others
in the same office. 

--71 percent of business callers would rather leave a voice mail that talk
with the person they are calling. 

--65 percent would rather send an e-mail than leave a voicemail. 


Not only does the PlayStation II boast incredible raw graphics power, it
also has the power to simulate the physical properties of real world
objects, including the behavior of animals and humans. 

Sony said its new "emotion synthesis" graphics processing system will
simulate "not just how the images look, but how the characters and objects
in a game think, act, and behave." 

The Sony PlayStation II system grew a virtual forest in which each leaf
was individually rendered. The forest swayed in the digital wind created
by calculating the force on each leaf in real-time

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