From ironic usernames to emojis to avatars. The making of a virtual replica of yourself has always been a bit of a joke. But Oculus, the company acquired by Facebook back in 2014, has worked hard on making your virtual identity realistic. As a result, they experienced a range of transformations and pushed an update for more robust facial expressions. The update allowed the company to bring more lifelike avatars to the world. The brand new Sims-like “Expressive Avatars” are Oculus’ most ambitious efforts in building realistic avatars.
The new generation of avatars
The company calls the update, the “culmination of consumer feedback and years of research and innovations in machine learning, engineering, and design”. Well, have a look at the photo below, we think that the results speak for themselves.
Ironically, the company found that people are more willing to socialize with avatars online than offline face-to-face meetings. The company continues:
“Back in 2016, we made a conscious decision to avoid showing what we didn’t know in order to better represent what we knew with certainty. Since then, we’ve learned a great deal not only about how our hardware can help us simulate believable behaviours with higher confidence but also about how we can use machine learning and well-understood priors to translate subtle signals into great social presence.”
With the new upgrade, the avatars also have a realistic mouth and eye movements. Facebook admits that this small enhancement was quite challenging to pull off.
In the end
This is perhaps one small, yet important, step towards building a virtual replica of yourself. Facebook is arguably the company that knows the most about you. They know how you look, who your friends and loved ones are and even your behaviour pattern both online and offline.
Being able to replicate yourself as a virtual avatar is an idea straight out of Black Mirror. Nevertheless, a comforting idea to some. The fans praise the fact that they will be able to live forever and leave something behind for their loved ones.
Be aware, that Facebook’s new Avatar system is now live on Oculus mobile and PC platforms.