Cookie, Candy Companies Among Those Fielding Digital Humans in Marketing

 Cookie, Candy Companies Among Those Fielding Digital Humans in Marketing

By AI Trends Staff

Ruth the Cookie Coach is a digital human being introduced by the Toll House brand of Nestle Global to provide baking assistance on a 24-7 basis, using an avatar incorporating AI that exhibits a degree of emotional intelligence, according to the company.

Ruth is named after the creator of the Nestle Toll House original chocolate chip cookie, Ruth Wakefield. Customers have the option to see, speak, and chat with Ruth while following the dynamic, on-screen content, according to an account on the website of Soul Machines,

The avatar is the culmination of two years of effort between Soul Machines, which offers a Human OS platform with a Digital Brain, and Nestle. The effort leveraged data from customer questions through the call center, social channels, multiple recipes across the web, and with the expertise of Nestle Corporate Pastry Chef Meredith Tomason.

Founded in 2016 in Auckland, New Zealand, Soul Machines has raised $65 million to date, according to Crunchbase. The company was spun out of the University of Auckland by Mark Sagar, CEO and Greg Cross, chief business officer. The company combines AI researchers, neuroscientists, psychologists and artists to create lifelike, emotionally responsive digital humans it calls Digital Heroes, with personality and character.

In addition to Nestle, customers include global brands in retail, automotive, banking and finance, such as Procter & Gamble, and The Royal Bank of Scotland, in addition to Nestle.

Orchid Bertelsen, Head of Digital Innovation, Nestle

“Digital acceleration is all about harnessing technology to solve consumer problems. So the ability to tap into conversational AI to understand, interact, and engage with Nestle Toll House consumers at scale attracted us to Soul Machines’ technology,” stated Orchid Bertelsen, Nestle’s Head of Digital Innovation. “The investment is in the personality of the brand, of which Ruth will be able to grow and learn and become infinitely scalable,” he added.

Digital Humans for Customer Service Catching On

“Digital humans” imbued with AI are acting as visual interfaces for customer service chatbots and virtual assistants. They are appearing more lifelike in their language, tone of voice and because of facial movements such as raised eyebrows, a tilt of the head, a smile or even a wink, according to a recent account in IEEE Spectrum.

The 3D faces are modeled on human features. Speech recognition enables the digital human to understand that the customer is saying, and natural language processing is used to generate a response. Specific emotions and facial expressions are encoded within the response.

Shiwali Mohan, AI systems scientist, Palo Alto Research Center

Some experts are skeptical of digital humans. “They’re humanlike in their looks and the way th


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