While a robot take over is merely science fiction, AI and VR are on the cusp of becoming science fact.
VR will hit the mainstream by 2020 and AI has hit the consumer market with personal assistants like Amazon Alexa and Google home. It is natural for these two emerging technologies to find success together as companies and consumers alike integrate it to everyday functions, but what will this look like?
An immediate use case would be for an AI guide users in a VR experience. VR is a new technology platform and comes with a learning curve.
An AI assistant, much like what consumers use now, could guide and aid a user as they learn how to use the hardware and interact with the content. In the Greenlight Insights 2016 VR Consumer Report, 83.4% of consumers said ease of use is an important purchase decision factor. An AI guide would ease the learning curve.
In VR, AI can take a physical form. Content studios can populate experiences with avatar-like AI bots. These AI characters can add another layer of immersion and interaction. VR currently is struggling on consistent weekly and daily users. Social VR will be a major feature in a variety of entertainment experiences, but this will lag to catch on as the social rooms and interactions lack users. AI characters is one way for users to experience the social interaction without the large amount of social users.
Beyond entertainment, companies can use AI characters in industry training. The retail workforce and emergency responders could benefit from a realistic, virtual environment to test scenarios and situations. The AI characters would give a realistic interaction that would be valuable beyond a scripted experience.
360-degree video can also benefit largely from AI-enhanced stitching software. Currently, 360-degree film stitchers can use automatic stitching through applications like Kolor Autopano Video and Video Stitch, but this is based on the array of cameras used. This results in errors and increased project time as editors manually fix stitching seams. An AI-enhanced feature could use machine learning over time to perfect the stitching process, learning from both the camera and points in the filmed environment.
VR companies should consider how AI will affect their 5-year road maps. The convergence of the two emerging technologies will be important for the success of both industries as companies experiment with using both platforms.