Virtual human on the tuyere: history, business potential and dilemma

Published on 1 Months ago   138 views   0 Comments  

Author: Daniel Li

Produced by: coinvoice

The meta universe world of Web3 has not come yet. As the first indigenous people of the meta universe, virtual people have already appeared in people's vision. In the past, the cute fairy Luo Tianyi sang loudly on the stage of the Winter Olympics and the Spring Festival Gala. Later, Liu Yexi had 8.62 million fans in Tiktok. A-soul won the linkage opportunities of big brands such as keep, KFC and L'Oreal at station B. In addition, CCTV also launched the super simulation anchor "Ai crown" with supernatural voice and supernatural expression based on the financial commentator crown. In the two sessions of the National People's Congress, real people and virtual people broadcast news on the same screen, with a sense of science and technology and freshness.

The successful emergence of virtual idols and virtual anchors also recognized the commercial value of virtual people. According to AI media consulting data, the industrial market driven by virtual people in China was 107.49 billion yuan in 2021, and the core market was 6.22 billion yuan. It is expected that the market scale will reach 640.27 billion yuan and 48.06 billion yuan respectively in 2025. In the face of the 100 billion market, no enterprise is unmoved, and the crazy influx of capital makes the virtual human show a barbaric and disorderly expansion, and its exposed shortcomings and difficulties gradually appear. This article from the concept of virtual human, development process, business value and future trend to know about virtual human with you.

The concept of virtual human originated in the field of medicine

The term "virtual human" was first used in the field of medicine. In the 1980s, human medicine launched a series of research projects aimed at human body, including human genome project (HGP), visible human project (VHP), virtual human project (VHP), human brain project (HBP), etc. The term "virtual human" came from this, The original definition of virtual human refers to the three-dimensional model synthesized by simulating real human organs through digital technology. And it can truly show the normal physiological state and various changes of the human body.

Although virtual human was initially applied in the field of medicine, with the progress of technology, the application of virtual human in other fields is becoming more and more popular, and its initial concept is also changing. According to the current general view, as long as you can move, have expression and other settings, and interact with real people, you should be included in the category of virtual human. Well, the products related to virtual people have existed for a long time. For example, the early Japanese virtual singer chuyin future, and even the grandfather of KFC, all belong to the category of virtual people.

In 2019, KFC also combined new technology to recreate and create a new image of Grandpa. The new image is generated by computer and is not a real model. KFC named it "virtual online Red Colonel". It has classic elements of Colonel: bow tie, glasses box and goatee. "Virtual netred Colonel" shares life, interacts with fans, creates personas, and shares success secrets like netred on INS, but there is no connection between these and the metauniverse.

With the explosion of meta universe in 2021, the combination of virtual human and meta universe makes the real fire of virtual human. For example, the virtual singer Luo Tianyi and immersive virtual conference space mentioned above are the products of virtual human and meta universe. At the same time, the concept of virtual human has been redefined. Generally speaking, the virtual human, digital human Virtual digital image refers to the anthropomorphic image constructed by computer graphics (CG) technology and operated in the form of code. In short, it is to create a digital image close to the human image through CG and other modeling technologies, and give it a specific character identity setting, visually shorten the psychological distance with people, and bring a more real image of emotional interaction to mankind. Strictly speaking, there is an inclusive relationship among virtual human, digital human and virtual digital human. We can see the relationship between the three through the figure below.

Digital human research was launched in the visible human program of the National Medical Library in 1989. It is mainly used in the field of science and technology, emphasizing digitization. On this basis, virtual human has increased anthropomorphic characteristics, which can be characters existing in reality, fictional characters in creative works such as TV dramas, movies and comics, or even characters imagined out of thin air. For example, "Lin Mingmei" in "fortress in time and space" in 1982 made her debut as an animation image and released a personal single, which is the first appearance of virtual human in the physical world. Virtual digital human not only has the digital characteristics of digital human and the anthropomorphism of virtual human, but also emphasizes the interaction with human intelligence. The operating mechanism basis of the three is consistent and belongs to the inclusive relationship. Now people generally refer to the three as virtual human.

Two schools and four classifications of virtual human

With the continuous updating of CG, mobile capture, AI and other technologies, the application of virtual human in various fields is becoming more and more popular, and various types of virtual human have also been derived. According to the definition in the 2020 white paper on the development of virtual digital people issued by China intelligent industry development alliance, virtual digital people can be roughly divided into service-oriented and identity oriented.

Represented by virtual customer service, service-oriented pursues process and standardization. The purpose is to replace human beings with virtual human and free human beings from heavy and repetitive work, such as AI voice assistant, intelligent customer service, etc; Identity based virtual people pursue the commercial value and market influence behind IP, such as virtual IP, virtual anchor, etc.

Representative of service-oriented virtual human: Cui Xiaopan, an outstanding employee of Vanke in 2021

"Cui Xiaopan" is not human, but the first digital employee of Vanke. It was officially "inducted" on February 1 last year. With the support of the system algorithm, Cui Xiaopan quickly learned how to find problems in processes and data, and showed his skill in various receivable / overdue reminders and work anomaly detection with a thousand times higher efficiency than human beings. According to statistics, the write off rate of overdue prepaid accounts receivable urged by Cui Xiaopan reached 91.44%.

Representative of identity virtual human: a-soul, a virtual idol women's group of Lehua Entertainment

A-soul is a virtual idol women's group jointly created by byte beat and Lehua entertainment. Once launched in November 2020, it became popular all over the network. Its single "shiny dancer" was broadcast by 25.8w and commented by 1.5W in less than 24 hours on the video website, and ranked fifth in the popular music list. And they also have their own exclusive fan group and fan specific app, just like normal idol groups.

In addition to classifying virtual human from the field of industrial application, the classification of virtual human can also be distinguished from different angles:

First, according to the technical classification, virtual human can be divided into algorithm driven type (AI real-time or face pinching, etc.) and human driven type (motion capture);

Second, according to the classification of visual dimension, virtual human can be divided into 2D type and 3D type;

Third, according to the classification of structure composition, virtual human can be divided into digital type (user online viewing) and holographic type (user on-site naked eye viewing);

Fourth, according to the classification of business model, virtual human can be divided into IP type (KOL type, song and dance type, brand type, idol type and star separation type launched by entertainment companies) and non IP type (functional type, academic type and identity type).

The development of virtual human, from germination to blowout

Virtual human originated in the 1980s and entered a period of rapid growth driven by CG, mobile capture, AI, blockchain and other technologies.

(1) 1980s (embryonic stage)

Features: start trying to introduce virtual characters into reality

Description: the concept of virtual human has just been put forward in the field of medicine and has not been spread in the field of life. In order to realize the pursuit and yearning for beautiful characters, people use hand-painted and makeup technology to make the perfect characters existing in fantasy appear in front of them. This behavior also created the early germination of virtual human, such as Japanese virtual song Ji Lin Mingmei.

(2) Early 21st century (exploratory period)

Features: the application of CG and motion capture technology makes the virtual human more three-dimensional image

Description: with the advent of CG, mobile capture and other technologies, different from the early virtual human portrayed by hand drawing and makeup, the image of virtual human in this period is more rich and vivid, which has won the favor of the film and television field, allowing more and more virtual human to appear on the film and television screen, such as Gollum in the Lord of the rings and Caesar in the rise of the scarlet ball.

(3) 2016-2019 (initial stage)

Features: the popularity of various new technologies such as deep learning algorithm simplifies the production process of virtual human

Description: the lifelike appearance can no longer meet the requirements of human beings for virtual people. Intellectualization is the most urgent need for virtual people. With the emergence and development of AI technology, this has also been met. At the same time, more and more technology companies begin to pay attention to virtual people and launch various types of intelligent virtual people, such as AI synthesis anchor of Sogou, baidu AI robot, etc.

(4) 2020 - present (growth period)

Features: breakthrough in technology and demand, blowout of virtual human achievements

Description: during this period, virtual people began to attract the attention of capital. More and more capital poured into the field of virtual people. The emergence of virtual idols also made virtual people more and more commercialized, such as virtual online celebrity KOL, star separated virtual idols, virtual brand spokesmen and movie virtual idols.

The commercial potential of virtual human is beginning to show

In the film and television entertainment industry, identity virtual human has a good performance. The popularity of virtual characters such as Tiktok Liu Yexi, a-soul, mango TV virtual host "Yaoyao" and virtual KOL has increased, and many fan traffic has been obtained. The penetration of virtual people in the fan group has increased, and the bonus of virtual people still exists. Major manufacturers, including Netease and Tencent, have also begun to join the virtual human track.

Virtual anchor is also the most successful application of virtual human in the commercial field. According to the latest data released by station B in 2022, more than 32000 virtual anchors have been broadcast in station B in the past year, with a year-on-year increase of 40%. Virtual anchor has become the fastest-growing category in the live broadcasting field of station B.

Among the top 50 game Anchor Strength rankings of station B last year, 11 virtual anchors were shortlisted. Now the virtual anchor at the head has the strength not to lose to the real anchor. For example, Ling Yuan, Yousa and Hanser were selected as the top 100 up hosts of station B in 2020, 51 and 57 respectively. In addition, nine of the top ten virtual anchor fans of station B in August 2021 have more than one million virtual anchor fans.

In the service field, we have seen the application of virtual human in intelligent customer service. In the future, virtual human will gradually penetrate into marketing, government affairs, banking, real estate and other fields, highlight service-oriented functions, help enterprises reduce costs and increase efficiency, and the virtual human industry will develop in the direction of large-scale and social services.

With the continuous development of the meta universe, the commercial value of virtual human is constantly released. Digitization is the trend of the future development of the world. The biggest manifestation of digitization is the meta universe, and the most important part of the meta universe is the virtual human. The virtual human is the bridge connecting human beings and the virtual world of the meta universe in the physical world. It is precisely because of the virtual human that human beings can enter the virtual world of the meta universe and obtain immersive experience. With the virtual human in music platforms, games As more online scenes such as live broadcasting are applied, virtual people will develop more and more in the direction of intelligence and scene. It can be said that virtual people are the knockers of the meta universe world, which is also the greatest value of virtual people in the future.

Whether based on the current commercial value of virtual human or the future, virtual human is an important part of building the meta universe. There is no doubt about the value embodied by virtual human. Although the future of virtual human is unlimited, the development of virtual human is still in the initial stage, and there are still many difficulties and shortcomings that we need to overcome.

Virtual human short board and dilemma

(1) How to make virtual human more like human has become the biggest problem hindering the development of virtual human

Now there are a wide variety of virtual people. The people behind them are often not virtual people, and the operation team. All kinds of people and behaviors we see on the Internet are rehearsed in advance and performed according to the script. Like virtual online celebrity, virtual idols also have a professional content team behind them, customize all the content, cooperation and copywriting, and finally launch them in the name of virtual image. In essence, the virtual people we see on the front desk are only a concrete embodiment of the whole team behind them.

(2) Virtual human has gradually become an expensive toy

The virtual human market is hot, but in fact, every enterprise involved in it is struggling to survive. The high cost and single profit model make the virtual human gradually become an expensive toy.

Take the virtual idol Liu Yexi, who once made a hit on Tiktok and has grown millions of fans every day as an example, Liang zikang, CEO of Chuangyi technology, revealed: "In 2018 and 2019, the price of our video per second was more expensive than 1G gold. Now the price per second is equivalent to the production level and production cost of 2G to 3G gold. Enterprises have no choice but to spend money on virtual people. If they want to make virtual idols stand out among many virtual idols, they must meet the needs of the audience. Now the mainstream opinion in the market to judge which virtual idols are more powerful depends on that More human. Being more like people means investing more technology, time and money.

"Money burning mode" can solve the problem that virtual people are more like people, but the problems of unclear profit model and commercial value of virtual characters can not be solved simply by burning money. How to better process the presentation and production of virtual characters and reduce the production cost and operation cost is a barrier in front of countless virtual human companies.

(3) The frequent appearance of virtual people gradually consumes people's expectations of virtual people

Every appearance in the development process of virtual human has brought surprises to people, such as the early generation of virtual human Lin Mingmei, chuyin future, and the recent Liu Yexi. However, with the influx of capital, countless virtual people with different qualities began to flow into people's vision. According to incomplete statistics, during the Winter Olympic Games alone, there were more than 30 virtual characters, from the new year's Spring Festival Gala and festival activities to celebrations and brand advertisements, from live delivery and show to host and we media talent, virtual people everywhere are gradually reducing people's interest in virtual people. Once people lose interest in something, No matter how perfect it is, it won't be valuable.

Although the road ahead of the virtual human is full of difficulties, the virtual human is an entry ticket to the meta universe and the digital world. No matter what the future meta universe is built, we should firmly grasp the qualification to enter this world. Moreover, with the progress of technology, the technical problems that hinder the development of virtual human will always be overcome one day. Although the development of virtual human is difficult, its future is unlimited.

The imagination space of virtual human in the future

What the future virtual human will be like is the most concerned point of everyone who has expectations for virtual human. An industry leader once said: the biggest difference between metauniverse and mobile Internet is that we will shift from text-based interaction relying on mobile phones and computer systems to personalized communication such as talking to virtual human and issuing instructions.

In the future, virtual human is likely to become the interactive interface of meta cosmic users.

The virtual avatar of real human and virtual human will appear in the meta universe and become ordinary residents of the meta universe. They will have new emotional connections and social relations in work, life, consumption and entertainment. The virtual content of the meta universe will be continuously enriched and improved with the co creation of human and virtual human.

This day will come.

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