Putting a face to ‘Big Brother’ – literally

The idea of having some ‘Blueman looking dude’ staring at me from my PC screen would be a little eery I’m afraid. Writers at the BBC on the other hand feel that this actually sort of cool in a big brother sort of way.

Once again, I think that this is a little to ‘IRobot’ for my taste. Nothing against things with an AI, but I like my PC to be as simple or complex as its user. To me, this makes me wonder if this sort of thing will end up being the ‘people’ that we deal with in movie theaters when we go to buy tickets.

Imagine a surveillance system that also presents a virtual embodiment of a person on a screen who can react to your behaviour, and perhaps even alert you to new e-mails.

Basic versions of these so-called avatars already exist. Together with speech and voice recognition systems, they could replace the keyboard and mouse in the near future.

Some of these ideas have been showcased at the London’s Science Museum, as part of its Future Face exhibition.

One such avatar is Jeremiah. It is a virtual man, which you can download for free and install in your computer. His creator, Richard Bowden, lecturer at the Centre for Vision, Speech and Signal Processing at the University of Surrey, refers to Jeremiah as “him”, rather than it.

“Jeremiah is a virtual face that attempts to emulate humans in the way it responds to activity. He is very childlike, he likes visual stimulus,” he told the BBC News website.

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