Yesterday saw the launch of the first Virtual Beings Summit in San Francisco, a conference aimed at those interested in the idea of digital humans. As part of the event, the organisers announced the launch of the Virtual Beings Grants, an initiative designed to help fund creators with interesting ideas for a virtual being.
The new programme will provide successful applicants with grants ranging from $1,000 to $25,000 USD depending on the idea. While creators projects can cover a range of Virtual Beings, whether that’s a Digital Human; Virtual Influencer, Virtual Assistant; Creative AIs, AI Tools for Virtual Beings or an Enterprise Virtual Being application, for example, there are four key grant categories applicants need to be aware of:
Games – how we play with virtual beings.
Enterprise – how a virtual being can assist us with our work
Social – How a virtual being can connect us
Education – how a virtual being can teach us things
There’s plenty of time to enter with the submission deadline being 17th September. Once in, applications will be judged by top founders, VCs, CEOs and researchers across Virtual Beings ecosystem. And winners will be announced 15th October 2019. For further information on the Virtual Beings Grant head to the official website.
If you’re unsure who or what a virtual being is, you may have already come across one. Those who use Instagram will likely have come across Virtual Influencers such as Lil Miquela, or in the realm of VR there’s Lucy from Wolves in the Walls, created by one of the biggest proponents for Virtual Beings; Fable, a company co-founded by Edward Saatchi, Executive Producer and Pete Billington, Creative Director.
Unlike a normal videogame character a Virtual Being such as Lucy utilises AI and machine learning, enabling her to evoke an emotional response from interactions and eventually have memories – thus creating a character with tangible human qualities. While still in its early stages the goal is to have Virtual Beings who – as Fable describes – ‘have their own lives and stories’, of which you can then become a part.
As the Virtual Beings Summit proved, there are plenty of industry professionals interested in this tech path, with the likes of Epic Games, Niantic Labs, Google, Microsoft and many more holding talks. As the technology develops VRFocus will keep you updated.