How digital humans play a part in customer experiences

An interview with Tim Deynen, Head of Greenhouse Labs

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Interviewed: Tim Deynen – Head of Greenhouse Labs

How do you add 24/7 available chatbots to your human service department, without decreasing the personal and helpful values for your customer? Let us introduce you to digital humans; also known as real-looking virtual characters, powered by AI. We believe digital humans will become an important part of our lives in the future. Where computers have become an integral part of our lives, digital humans are also increasingly common. What previously only appeared in a series like Black Mirror, seems to become reality at an enormous pace. But what exactly are digital humans and how can they be an addition to your company and to our lives?

A digital human is almost identical to a real human. It is important to make sure the creation isn’t too cartoonish but also not as real as a real human. Customers must see that they are talking to a virtual assistant with the understanding and knowledge of a real human. This is because we still want to show that customers are talking to a digital human and aren’t getting confused by seeing a real human on their screen. To give you an example of how a character is made, check out the video from MetaHuman creators below.

* Example MetaHuman Creator from Unreal Engine

The benefits of a Digital Human for an organization

To implement a digital human into customer service or shopping experience, it is important to know what the benefits of this character are for an organization. A digital human is an important add-on for the user experience. 82% of people say they want more human interaction with brands, not less of it*. It will become the face of a company and will support for example customer service by answering questions.

The AI-trained digital human will be extremely helpful in a lot of ways and automate a lot of conversations in a human-like way. With this, it will add much more personality to a chatbot, and still be available 24/7. But what’s really different from chatbots is that digital human characters can increase positive emotions during conversations, such as trust.

Looking at different industries, digital humans will be suitable in organizations based on education & health for educational usage. And as told before, a service-based industry will be enriched by a digital human as we speak about customer experiences. A digital human creates a strong emotional connection between a brand and customer. With this, new clients will experience a better connection during the onboarding process. Looking at the long term, we imagine a more entertainment-like approach for a digital human, at this moment it is only in the explore-phase yet.

With innovations, there will always be concerns. For a digital human it is important to avoid the uncanny valley; the gap between a cartoonish visual and a highly detailed human-like visual. When a digital human becomes as realistic like a real human, it will be disliked by the customer. For this, it is important to find the right balance between a human-like visual and a robot approach. This can be tackled by adding a biography for the digital human, and by introducing the digital human on its own, telling that they are a virtual assistant.

The start of Digital Humans at Greenhouse

At Greenhouse Labs, our innovation department for students, they started creating the visual of a digital human called Nova Green. After this creation, they implemented the technology to fuel the digital human with AI to actually interact with the digital human. With this, a lot of technical challenges had to be overcome. For example, how to give the digital human a real character? What do we need to make it look as real as possible? And how to use GTP3 to create a human-like conversation without the feeling of talking to a chatbot? Some important players in the market for us are the 3D software of UneeQ and Soul Machines. They make it possible to create a digital human within a short amount of time.

Meet Nova Green

As mentioned before, at Greenhouse Labs we created our very own digital human Nova Green. She was invented to inspire colleagues and to increase the knowledge of Digital Humans within the organization. Nova really became a colleague, she has her own Instagram page and is added as a spokesperson in internal updates to talk about new innovations. The goal of Nova Green is to become an important influencer like Lilmiquela, to collaborate with all of our partners.


“Our end game is to create a digital human which is
indistinguishable from a real human”

– Tim Deynen, Head of Greenhouse Labs –

Experiment connecting a chatbot integration with a digital human

To get to know more about the connection between a digital human as a visual and a chatbot made by us, we created a prototype. Connecting data within Google Dialogflow CX to the 3D software of Uneeq, it is possible to interact in a more human-like way with the digital human. With this, we are able to create a personalized experience for our clients, based on their needs. Check out the example for Swapfiets to get a first impression of how a digital human can be part of your customer service.

Want to know where to start? It is important to find out which kind of contact you can enrich with a digital human. Will it be a service or shopping experience for your brand or will it be a brand-based character that is telling your story. Are you curious about how a digital human will fit into your organization, or would you like to talk more about this subject? Feel free to get in touch with us. We are happy to help you by creating a solution in a human-like way!

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