Real AI: AI avatars to attend meetings, AI “good or bad” debate continues, facts, headlines and AI quote of the week

By Kevin Hawkins with Korey Hawkins | Vol. 2 Post 23

Real AI is a 100% human-created weekly roundup of all things AI in real estate and emerging AI innovations in other sectors likely to impact real estate, posting weekly. Images are AI + human generated.

Will AI avatars attend meetings for you?Send your avatar to your Zoom meeting - please no

File this one under “please don’t.”

Sometimes, just because you can do something doesn’t necessarily mean you should. Someone needs to tell Google and Zoom that – and pronto!

Both firms are working on AI avatars that will attend meetings for us. The initial results are frightening, and the longer-term implications are appalling.

Google AI, via X (was Twitter), posted a brief video about its ChatDirector project with this description:

ChatDirector is a research prototype that brings 3D avatars and automatic layout transitions to your 2D laptop screen, transforming online meetings to be more immersive and dynamic. Check it out:

The video is cringe-worthy. The comments are hysterical, from “Wow, you managed to do worse than Meta somehow” and “Why would you publish this?” to “This is a joke, right … right? Oh god.”

And somehow, Google thinks its research proves these avatars are better than standard 2D-based video conference systems, as they post these Temple Presence Inventory (TPI) ratings online:

Google Research Graph

Watch the video clip, and you’ll see how laughable this study with “16 lab participants” is in terms of trying to validate this totally misguided attempt.

Having an Avatar that looks like you in a meeting with zero facial expressions and no body language negates more than half of interpersonal communication!

Removing non-verbal cues from facial expressions makes communications worse by any measure, not better.

Zoom’s CEO apparently drinks the same Kool-Aid. This week, CEO Eric Yan told The Verge that we should use AI avatars to attend Zoom meetings to achieve a more efficient work-life balance.

In the interview about a Zoom meeting, he says, “Ideally, I do not need to join. I can send a digital version of myself to join so I can go to the beach.”

Is he going to pay his Zoom employees to go to the beach? Who in their right mind would?

The problem with Google and Zoom is they are thinking about crafting a future I am not sure we want.

What gets done if every Zoom meeting is filled with our avatars? Will avatars have their own AI assistants to handle all the next steps?

I think of the scene from Ghostbusters when Bill Murray’s character, Dr. Peter Venkman, tries to explain to the Mayor the impact of opening the containment unit, adding, “Human sacrifice, dogs and cats living together… MASS HYSTERIA!”

Just the thought of everyone being able to create multiple digital twins makes me feel like Dr. Venkman.

Please don’t let me have a “digital twin.” One of me on this planet is plenty. Just ask my family and friends. (-Kevin)

“Is AI good or bad?” debate continuesAI creator or destroyer

The NY Times published a well-researched opinion piece this week by Thomas Edsall, who contributes a weekly column from DC “on politics, demographics and inequality.”

The title is provocative: “Will A.I. Be a Creator or a Destroyer of Worlds?”

Edsall’s analysis is an outstanding effort to illustrate the pros and cons of AI. He fuels his piece with expert sources that solidly debate the overall value of AI: Is it good or is it bad?

He presents a wide range of insights that add to the debate – noting that until AI, automation displaced blue-collar workers. Now, it threatens the jobs of highly skilled workers.

On the other hand, an argument is shared that AI has the potential to improve employment prospects, as new AI tools help make doing what we do better.

One 2023 research paper he cites was authored by four leading technologists: OpenAI’s Tyna Eloundou and Pamela Mishkin, Daniel Rock at the University of Pennsylvania, and Sam Manning, a research fellow at the Centre for the Governance of AI.

Their detailed case study is on the employment effects of artificial intelligence: “GPTs Are GPTs: An Early Look at the Labor Market Impact Potential of Large Language Models.”

He shares this excerpt:

“Around 80 percent of the U.S. workforce could have at least 10 percent of their work tasks affected by the introduction of large language models,” and “Approximately 19 percent of workers may see at least 50 percent of their tasks impacted.”

What jobs are at the greatest risk?

The most vulnerable professions include “writers and authors, survey researchers, public relations specialists, interpreters and translators, web designers, financial analysts, court reporters, caption writers, and tax preparers.”

The article goes on to cite other research works that discuss the pitfalls and the pluses of AI. From the positive and potentially harmful results from gains in productivity to the impact, good and bad, on democracy, which is fast becoming one of the hottest debates about the influence of AI.

Finally, he ends with the admission we are still in the early stages of it all, writing, “AI has revealed unfathomable vistas, as well as ungraspable, unrecognizable vulnerabilities — and the process has only just begun.” (-Kevin)

AI Fast FactsAI fast facts

  1. 34% of Generative AI users utilize it as a gateway to learn about topics they are interested in – Salesforce
  2. 95% of software developers surveyed said they use AI to generate code and fix code bugs to create software applications – Sourcegraph
  3. 82% of marketing professionals believe that AI-powered content creation is as effective as human-produced content – MarketSplash
  4. 86% of shoppers find AI-driven personalization to have a considerable impact on their shopping decisions – Infosys
  5. 78% of business leaders surveyed think that the potential benefits of AI can help to mitigate the risks – Gartner

Source: (-Korey)

AI HeadlinesAI headlines: Take 5

Keller Williams launches AI-powered real estate assistant | 6/3/24 HousingWire
KWIQ will help KW agents draft content, answer questions, automate deal processes and more.

Will AI Agents Replace Software Engineers’ Jobs? | 6/5/24 Forbes
Artificial Intelligence is transforming the software engineer workflow rather than displacing it.

MoxiWorks replaces CEO with AI startup executive | 6/3/24 Inman
York is out Eric is in, bringing his AI background to MoxiWorks.

AI startup lands $10M seed round from Madrona, Point72 Ventures to automate complex workflows | 6/6/24 GeekWire
Follow the money: Tektonic AI is building an AI agent.

AI phone scams sound scary real. Do these 5 things to protect yourself and your family | 6/6/24 ZDNet
As AI-powered voice cloning tech becomes more prominent, it’s important to be more guarded. (-Korey)

AI Quote of the WeekAI Quote of the Week - Meredith Whittaker

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