How The Convergence of AI and VR is Transforming the World
Cognitive technologies such as Artificial Intelligence and Virtual Reality have garnered great prominence in the technology space. In fact, it is no secret that there exists a constant increase in the scope of technologies such as Artificial Intelligence and Virtual Reality. With this, the creative expansion in the application becomes imperative so as to keep designers adaptive to the change in trends. In fact, according to Dr Susie Harding, Head Data Scientist at Arvoia, these emerging technologies will be adopted by every industry in the future – right from education to healthcare. Even though putting our health in the hands of technology might seem daunting at the beginning, there is no denying that we are set to live longer and happier lives by embracing not just AI but the synergy or convergence of AI and VR.
In fact, the biggest developmental trend in the 21st century is the ‘convergence’ of different technologies. For instance, in the early 2000s, we needed different devices to click pictures, make a call or browse the internet. Fast forward to today, all of these activities can be done on a single device with utmost convenience.
The Convergence of AI and VR
It is quite apparent that the merging of technologies provides a completely new set of applications and benefits. In the past few years, many advances have been made to use Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Virtual Reality (VR) together, which seemingly provide a plethora of new opportunities.
The essence of VR lies in the creation of a simulative environment which is complemented by the ability of AI to equip technological devices with reasoning and learning to perform intelligent tasks.
Let’s take a look at a few exciting areas in which these two technologies have been used in tandem:
Augmenting the Shopping Experience
Virtual reality is already being used in shopping to give customers a more immersive shopping experience. The customers get to experience a virtual simulation of the products they are considering to purchase, before they actually make the purchase. The deployment of AI will help to further enhance this experience. For instance, in a shop selling optical eyewear, Virtual Reality is used to create a simulation of the product to experience the product they want to purchase. Artificial Intelligence can be used to introduce a virtual sales agent which could recommend products to the customers, guide them, and quite possibly even close sales. This clearly indicates that AI and VR not only enhance the consumer experience but also logistically assist a business and provide a variety of other opportunities. In the aforementioned example, the optical store could get information about consumer preferences, product demand which would help them in increasing their sales.
In the gaming industry, the use of VR is already prevalent to create a virtual environment to make them feel like they’re in the game. The user is made to feel that he is in a completely different world letting them experience the thrill of different aspects of the game. VR, in itself, has revolutionized the gaming industry to such an extent that the introduction of AI would only take it upwards and onwards. Its use can take the entire gaming experience to another level. AI could, for instance, be used to make the virtual world more intelligent and responsive to the gamers actions.
For instance, it is a known fact that VR offers an immersive experience that demands the simulated world to seem as realistic as possible. For this demand to be met, it has to offer an infinite number of body movements. Researchers from the University of Bath, UK, are leveraging Artificial Intelligence to improve body movements of VR game characters to make them seem more realistic and to enhance the overall gaming experience.
Travel and Tourism
The owners of resorts, hotels, etc. use VR so customers get a virtual look of the destination and experience what the environment would be like staying in the resort. The customers get an idea of, for instance, how big the rooms would be or how large the swimming pool is. With the use of AI simultaneously, the customers not only get a more inclusive environment but will also get access to intelligent decision making. The operational aspect of booking a room, for instance, can be taken care of by AI. Cognitive chatbots can also help travellers throughout their journey. For example, they can give tips on places to eat and shop, as well as discounts on spa services based on the traveller’s personal choices. Moreover, hoteliers can use AI to increase operational efficiency by using IoT-based sensors to detect anomalies of any kind. All in all, when both Artificial Intelligence and Virtual reality are used in conjunction, both the business and the consumer can be highly benefitted while making the most of the services at their disposal.
Robots play an important role in performing monotonous laborious human tasks that require a significant amount of time and energy. They increase the effectiveness and efficiency of the entire process flow.
Apart from the industry-specific uses mentioned above, AI and VR can also be used in the development of other technologies, the most prominent one being robotics.
Object Recognition – AI power robots when exposed to a large variety of data, can distinguish objects, categorize them and even identify similar objects. Unfortunately, the collection of a voluminous set of data can take a lot of time.
Here’s where VR comes in. VR can be used to train a robot for the identification of objects. This will optimise the costs and the efforts invested in the collection of data.
The use of AI-based surgical robots is already being seen in the healthcare sector. Artificial Intelligence is primarily used to acquire and analyze data. The integration of Virtual Reality in the industry has many applications. For instance, it can be used to create simulations of disorder conditions and help in training the young medical students. Moreover, VR can be used to offer a high quality of care and reliability for both patients and doctors alike. VR is being used in a variety of settings ranging from medical planning to patient education and therapy. Therefore, the convergence of AI and VR has infinite potential in the healthcare sector. Perhaps with the right amount of research and development, we can use cutting-edge technologies to transform the way healthcare is rendered to humanity.
Perhaps the most revolutionary application of the convergence of these two technologies is seen in military robots on the military battlefield. With the intention of making the soldiers more prepared for the eventual battlefield, Virtual Reality can be used for the development of training programs and for alerting the soldiers about the various obstacles they could possibly face on the actual battlefield.
Communication in Space
A very common problem faced by space organizations in the exploration of space is the lapse in communication signals and their reception on Earth. The distance between the AI-based space robots and its operator is a constant matter of concern. Space Organizations are exploring the use of VR in determining how far the robot can travel from its operator without affecting the communication signals.
In forensic investigations, Virtual Reality integrated with AI-based robots can help in the creation of a simulative environment of the crime scene which can assist in the detection of evidence that would have otherwise been difficult to detect. An overall view of the scene along with the presence of intricate details is possible.
Moreover, this will assist in the decision making of the jurors who will now be able to make their judgements based on more reliable evidence.
The synergy of VR and AI have seeded a new cinematic technique packed with the immersive experience of VR and AI’s capability to enhance everything from character movement to voice recognition. For instance, a Toronto-based studio, Transitional Forms, made a VR film called Agence. To top it, the movie used Reinforcement Learning (RL) to control the animated characters. The film is heavily interactive allowing the animated characters to be grabbed and moved around while the RL agents take actions to maximize their rewards which is the very concept of reinforcement learning.
In conclusion, AI and VR are two technologies that possess so much potential when used in isolation that one can only imagine the improvement in engagement and interaction it will bring when the two are used in unison. Human and machine interaction can be significantly enhanced and the process flow in organizations can become more effective and efficient, However, it becomes essential that there is a consistent investment in research and development to discover new possibilities and to counter any implementation difficulties that might be faced while putting the technology to use. The convergence of AI and VR will open up the doors to infinite possibilities.