Holograms performing on stage in lieu of the unavailability of certain personalities isn’t unheard of but, given the context, it isn’t always considered appropriate either. That doesn’t mean, however, that there isn’t room for such holograms in the near future. Microsoft seems to have thought of a use case that takes advantage of its various technologies, like HoloLens and Azure, to create an exact replica of a live person, except that it speaks a different language from the original speaker.
Virtual reality has been touted as the next big wave of computing but it hasn’t exactly taken off. One of the reasons is the cost of owning VR equipment both for mere consumption but especially for content creation. The other is that there hasn’t been any compelling use case for it beyond games and entertainment.
At its Microsoft Inspire partner conference, the technology company demonstrated one potential use for the technology. Imagine giving a talk to an international audience, many of whom can’t be there in person or, at times, even may not speaking the native language either. Instead, you can have a VR avatar that looks exactly like you but also speaks Japanese, Spanish, or any other language the audience understands.
This is what Microsoft proposes using a chorus of its technologies and services. There’s HoloLens for experiencing the VR world, Azure cloud for AI, and its neural text-to-speech engine to make the translations from English to Japanese.
Having a digital counterpart can be relatively easy but creating one that really resembles the original can still require specialized equipment. Microsoft’s Mixed Reality capture studio is one such solution and it will most likely market a complete package to businesses in the near future.