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Sogou wins praise for virtual avatars

By Wang Junwei | chinadaily.com.cn | Updated: 2019-10-24 16:24
A real anchor stands in front of her virtual counterpart on a screen at China Online Literature+ Conference 2019. [Photo provided to chinadaily.com.cn]

Sogou's Vocational Avatar Technology, which has created virtual avatars emulating real people, was one of the winners of this year's world leading internet scientific and technological achievements at the sixth World Internet Conference.

Based on audio and video data, the AI-based multi-modal synthesis technology can generate an avatar and show lifelike communication supported by speech recognition, natural language processing, information retrieval, knowledge maps and deep learning, the company said.

According to Sogou, its latest cutting-edge technology can enable a more natural interaction between humans and virtual avatars.

"Our starting point is how to make interactions between users and machines more interesting and visual, rather than with a speaker in an icy voice", said Wang Yanfeng, general manager of Sogou's artificial intelligence interaction division in an interview with China Daily website.

"In the media industry, we have already seen results", Wang said. "No matter the media industry or others, they could use a virtual anchor which can help them become more productive."

At present, the technology has already been applied to customer services, law, meteorology, media and conferences.

In the future, the avatar will have more actions during communication and show emotion in a more natural way, Wang said, "and the 'avatar' is where we go in our voice interaction technology."

"The mission of AI technology has always been to empower people, rather than replacing them," Wang said at this year's World Internet Conference.

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