In films, TV shows and books — and even in video games where characters are designed to respond to user behavior — we don’t perceive characters as beings with whom we can establish two-way relationships. But that’s poised to change, at least in some use cases.
Interactive characters — fictional, virtual personas capable of personalized interactions — are defining new territory in entertainment. In my guide to the concept of “virtual beings,” I outlined two categories of these characters:
- virtual influencers: fictional characters with real-world social media accounts who build and engage with a mass following of fans.
- virtual companions: AIs oriented toward one-to-one relationships, much like the tech depicted in the films “Her” and “Ex Machina.” They are personalized enough to engage us in entertaining discussions and respond to our behavior (in the physical world or within games) like a human would.
Part 3 of 3: designing virtual companions
In this discussion, Fable CEO Edward Saatchi addresses the technical and artistic dynamics of virtual companions: AIs created to establish one-to-one relationships with consumers. After mobile, Saatchi says he believes such virtual beings will act as the next paradigm for human-computer interaction.