Friday, May 25, 2012

Would You Buy a Car From an Avatar?

It looks like a talking lifesize cutout!
There's a story over at Mashable about how airports in New York will soon have some new customer service representatives...who happen to be avatars named Ava (and no, not the blue alien kind!)

Sound Sci-Fi? While not quite a full hologram, the technology works by projecting a video image onto a life-size plexiglass cutout of a woman, who is programmed to talk to travelers as they approach. She can even answer questions, similar to the iPhone's Siri, such as locations of bathrooms, shuttles, and so forth. The avatars are meant to supplement the 350+ staff of customer service reps at the airport.

At around $250,000 a pop, they aren't cheap by any means. But if this concept takes off, we could see even more advanced avatar-like systems implemented in airports and other businesses in the future. The question that needs to be asked then, is do you support the idea of AI assistance? How about for making a large purchase?

For most car buyers, the shopping experience begins online, where they research different models. Then, when they've narrowed down their choices, they'll visit a dealership to test drive and ask further questions.

So flash forward to the future-do you think something like this could be useful for answering questions about financing, or pulling up statistics on certain vehicles?

You can see the full video of the Ava Avatar system on Airus Media's Youtube page.



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