Hamburg's Oxolo comes up with bright idea for AI-generated avatars
Artificial intelligence (AI) can create all kinds of amazing moving images, according to Elisabeth L'Orange and Heiko Hubertz, founders of the Hamburg-based start-up Oxolo. Their initial approach was personally motivated, as both had recently lost a parent. So what would it be like, they wondered, if we could keep our loved ones with us forever - as AI-based avatars? "However, our market research showed that most respondents found this idea too creepy. The idea of bringing cartoon characters to life in a similar way and creating an interactive game for children also failed due to various hurdles to monetisation." In addition, adapting the AI to the specifics of children's speech proved no easy task. "Privacy requirements are particularly high when it comes to children. Thus, we ultimately focused on e-commerce, as it holds huge potential for AI-generated moving image content," said L'Orange, whose counterpart, Hubertz, is a shareholder of the Hamburg-based game developer Bigpoint. L'Orange, meanwhile, inputs her vast experience as Chief Financial Officer of the FLIO start-up as well as her work for the Hamburg-based venture capital company Neuhaus Partners.
AI-generated advertising videos in 80 languages
Oxolo has won both the E-Commerce Germany Award and the d3con Innovation Award this year for their platform that creates videos with AI. The Oxolo customer path to their own promotional video is surprisingly simple. A user simply inserts the URL of their product website. Then, Oxolo's AI identifies its unique selling points in a video script and develops a promotional video that comes to life with avatars based on real actors complete with music and voiceovers. "The actors are essential. People are best addressed through other people," said L'Orange. Oxolo has shot professional models for the avatars and produced plenty of video material, she pointed out. "The abundance of material is crucial to create a well-animated avatar that conveys the AI-generated language visually synchronously. "We need a correspondingly large phonetic diversity as we offer our videos in 80 different languages."
90 per cent of all content to be generated automatically
However, developing AI is an arduous process and took at least three years. But the effort is now proving worthwhile, L'Orange stressed. "Videos are the medium of the future. Content with video is 53 times more likely to be found by major search engines than without. Moving image content is clearly rewarded." Yet, creating conventional videos is costly and too expensive for "Amazon sellers", which are Oxolo's main target group. However, AI-generated promotional videos are merely the start, said L'Orange, "Around 90 per cent of all content will be automatically generated in future." she believes. "The automatically generated content will have to be reviewed by humans in terms of content, ethics and legality. AI will not lead to mass unemployment, but it will lead to a reorientation in many professional fields."
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