After days of teasing ahead of CES 2020, Samsung today (Jan. 7) finally took the wraps off Neon, an "Artificial Human" created by AI that's designed to interact and show emotion like a real human being.
Neon is not meant to be an all-knowing virtual assistant in the vein of Alexa, Siri or Google Assistant. Instead, these digital avatars -- which are visualized as eerily real-looking humans -- are meant to do things that people do every day.
"In the near future, one will be able to license or subscribe to a NEON as a service representative, a financial adviser, a healthcare provider or a concierge," said Samsung in a Neon press release. "Over time, NEONs will work as TV anchors, spokespeople, or movie actors; or they can simply be companions and friends."
The idea of digital humans replacing actual people for real-life jobs is a bit eerie. But it's easy to imagine some practical benefits of having a Neon handy, whether it's a virtual personal assistant for people trying to get in shape at home or someone to keep hospital patients company when staff can't be around.
Neon is powered by Samsung's Core R3 (Reality, Realtime and Responsive) platform, which uses neural networks "extensively trained" to mimic how real people behave. Core R3 has a latency of less than several milliseconds, allowing Neons to respond to human interaction in real time almost as quickly as an actual person would.
Will we ever live in a world full of digital avatars that check us into hotels, take our food orders and instruct our yoga classes? We'll have to wait and see. But we're eager to see how Neons behave in the real world once we get our eyes on them at the CES 2020 show floor.
Be sure to check out our CES 2020 hub for the latest announcements and hands-on impressions from Las Vegas.