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Brief Published: 13 Apr 2021

Nile Rodgers Mediates Fan Interaction via Machine Learning

In the Room with Nile Rodgers

US musician and producer Nile Rodgers is mediating fan connection and interaction with a virtual meet-and-greet. Built by UK tech start-up Forever Holdings, the browser-based conversational experience uses voice recognition, natural language processing and machine learning to facilitate response accuracy.

In the Room with Nile Rodgers is a collaboration between record label Universal Music, the National Portrait Gallery and world-famous recording studio Abbey Road Studios (all UK).

Rodgers spent two days responding to 350 questions for the project. The process was shot on two 8K 3D cameras to create a virtual portrait of the artist, which is available on hereintheroom.com and through the National Portrait Gallery's website.

Visitors can use voice or text chat to ask Rodgers' portrait their questions while the artificial intelligence (AI) system will choose natural responses from its vast library. Fans can trial the experience for free, or pay £20 ($28) for the full package, 5% of which will support the National Portrait Gallery.

According to Forever, 77% of 18- to 24-year-olds would "definitely or probably try this type of interactive experience with their musical heroes", demonstrating the potential market for artists outsourcing some aspects of their presence to virtual models. Such technology allows the exploration of innovative forms of storytelling and could be applied across sectors as varied as entertainment and education.

For a commercial application, see US crisp manufacturer Lay's web app starring Argentinian footballer Lionel Messi. The activation uses synthetic media deepfake technology by London-based AI and facial mapping specialists Synthesia, allowing users to fill out a template to create and send hyper-personalised video messages seemingly from Messi himself.

For more, see Digital Doubles: New Engagement Opportunities and Real-Time Avatar-to-Human Interaction within Entertainment in the 5G Era.