AI companies have for years promoted the technology as a way of improving the way enterprises engage with customers, giving them a more natural, personalized and quicker experience than typical automated systems and saving greater operational and cost efficiencies.
AI-generated customer service help usually has consisted of a voice on the phone, used to address customer issues or help human agents do the same. However, the rapid development of AI in recent years has led to the creation of digital human-like avatars that can be used in myriad areas.
BitHuman came out of stealth last month offering full-size human-like AI agents that can be customized to handle a number of roles, including a personal shopping assistant or a HR associate to help new employees through the onboarding process.
Good for Businesses and Customers
The use cases for the highly customizable generative AI-based agents touch such industries as hospitality, health care, fashion and retail, according to bitHuman executives. The technology will benefit both businesses and their users, shares CEO Steve Gu.
“The integration of technology benefits customers by providing a more efficient, personalized and responsive experience, while businesses gain from improved operational efficiency, cost savings, and valuable insights for continuous improvement,” Gu told Technstrong.ai.
For customers, that includes not only an improved experience, but also reduced waiting times and greater personalization through the ability to process customer data and browsing histories to offer personalized product suggestions and deals.
For businesses, the benefits come from new avenues of revenue through 24/7 automated agents in sales, marketing and customer operations and from streamlined operations that are more efficient, he said. The faster problem resolutions and shorter waiting times also make operations more cost-efficient, and organizations gain more data-driven insights for improving operations and customer service.
A More Personalized Interaction
The company’s goal is to create AI avatars that can interact with humans via multiple modalities – including chat, text and voice – and present what bitHuman calls a “photo-realistic, human-like” appearance. People understandably want to connect with a “delightful human touch when seeking answers,” Gu said.
“How often have you found yourself impatiently waiting on the phone for a representative to address your queries?” he asked. “How many times have you wandered through a retail shop, searching for assistance? Our mission is to develop technology that seamlessly integrates human interaction on a larger scale. … We aim to bridge this gap by bringing the warmth and efficiency of human interaction to the realm of AI, creating a technology that prioritizes the human touch in answering questions and providing assistance.”
Climbing Out of the ‘Uncanny Valley’
Gu also said that addressing the “uncanny valley” – the unsettling sensation people can experience with technology-created figures that are not quite humanlike – was at the forefront of bitHuman’s work.
“We specialize in interactive generative AI models meticulously crafted for specific use cases,” the CEO said. “Our platform is engineered to empower a diverse spectrum of characters, ranging from hyper-realistic individuals to imaginative, fantastical figures especially designed to address the uncanny valley.”
Right now, the company’s interactive AI includes three AI service agent products, including Neo, which is trained on an organizations, data, brand, and business. Another agent, one, is an AI wellness agent trained as a meditation coach, while the third, Eon, is an interactive digital image of the user, including their likeness, voice, and gestures.
The company has pulled in executives and engineers from such companies as Meta, Microsoft, Google and Amazon. Gu has worked at Apple and Google X R&D unit and co-founded AiFi, which creates high-scale autonomous retail solutions.
Others include Chief Scientist Raymon Fu, an AI researcher and professor at Northeastern University in Boston, Efe Akengin, an MIT graduate leading product development, Nabil Mansouri, an ex-CEO for a retail and ecommerce enterprise who is running bitHuman’s revenue operations, and Antonio Marcato, a former creative director at Meta who oversees the company’s creative work and UX design.
According to bitHuman, among them they have more than 100 patents and 500 publications the AI field.
The company has several deployments underway, including as a concierge service at the Miami luxury condo building Panorama Tower. Gu said the deployments so far have gone well.
“Our current focus has been on enhancing client satisfaction and optimizing product discovery through the use of our agents,” he said. “The response to these efforts has been overwhelmingly positive, to the extent that we are now actively discussing plans for expansion and considering the addition of new product features to address a broader range of use cases.”