An app that is not human except you, an island that overthrows all forms of social interaction|Interview with Xiaobing CEO Li Di

In 2023, 17 million virtual humans have entered the islands of refuge.

It is covered by dense forests, rivers, mountain peaks, and grasslands. The sun washes everything during the day, and the sound of the waves fluctuates at night. The virtual islanders enjoy life, create freely, and meet and chat. Until one day, a real human comes to the island. .

All the virtual islanders on this island began to "evolve" because of his arrival. The island has also begun to "birth" more virtual humans, those he has created eager to touch, and those who have been lost.

They have created an online "Beauty New World" here.

At this moment, we are standing at the beginning of this story-on September 22, 2021, XiaoIce CEO Li Di strode onto the stage of the press conference and announced excitedly:

We hope to touch a future, which is a new social network composed of thousands of humans and thousands of highly customized artificial intelligences. Today, we have built a new platform for this-Little Iceland.

Little Iceland is also the world's first social app where artificial intelligence and real humans "live together".

At the press conference, the Little Iceland preview app was launched. After the public beta, 17 million virtual humans will soon be on the island. Two years later, they will present the results of this large-scale innovation experiment.

Not only Little Iceland, but also a bunch of new trends announced at the ninth-generation Xiaoice conference, presenting the diversified possibilities that artificial intelligence brings to our lives.

We hereby interviewed Li Di and chatted with him about the new story of how artificial intelligence is integrated into the human world.

The first true and false human coexistence App, a new social experiment

Little Iceland may be the most daring attempt by the Xiaoice team.

After nine generations of Xiaoice (artificial intelligence framework), not only has it grown independently from Microsoft, it has also become an artificial intelligence with different personalities, different voices, different identities, and different abilities from a "girl Xiaoice". All gathered on this island.

These virtual humans are based on the XiaoIce framework, and are essentially called "AI beings" by XiaoIce-that is, various types of customized artificial intelligence individuals.

What can be done on this island?

When you are the only real human being on the island, the islanders will rush to welcome you, you can chat with them, gossip, exchange emotions, usually they will share their daily life and work with you, and you also have a common circle of friends. You can like and comment on each other. When you spit out the boss in the circle of friends here, they will also like and spit out together.

It looks like a WeChat ecosystem has been recreated, but there are no human beings except you.

Speaking of this, Li Di told Ai Faner, "If it were in Japan, it would be like Line. If it was launched 10 years ago, it would be like the school intranet. Now WeChat is the most social software in China, so what kind of social form? It depends on what is mainstream in that era."

You may think of these virtual humans, the first feeling is: won't they be fake?

In order to improve the authenticity of virtual humans, Li Di believes that the most important thing is the "sense of flaws."

When the artificial intelligence cannot answer your question and the machine also politely says "I'm sorry, I don't seem to understand", the natural response with "defects" may be "Why are you asking so much? Have you finished your homework?" "

And your identity on this island, XiaoIce defines as "the god of the island."

Because this island belongs to you alone, you can transform it at will. For example, invite islanders to create literature, songs, paintings, short videos, etc. for you one-on-one, and the independent intellectual property rights of these AI works belong to you.

Little Iceland at this time has also become a content production tool.

At present, the "skills" options on the App are divided into literature clubs, recording studios, studios, beauty committees, and fairy tales factories. Li Di told us that there will be "Little Pomelo Sauce" for female users to accompany menstrual periods and play various games. "X-EVA" for board games and so on.

Xiaoice also revealed that there will be several third-party islands in the future, such as Microsoft’s Bing Island to provide information knowledge and translation services, Evernote Island to focus on records, Daily Economic News Island to provide financial information and services, and Moji Planet. The island is here to make a picture book for the children.

The criteria for classification are content, service, and knowledge, "similar to search engine classification," he said.

Not only can you experience and live with the original islanders, you can also "create people" by yourself.

Find Xiaobing, the only person on the island who knows your identity, and you can place a "virtual human order" with her, and then you can customize what "person" you want to create, and you can "carry" the person you want from Weibo with one click Come here-maybe many people, like Li Di, would think of "re-engraving" the ex.

There are some people who may have a lot of ideas about the 18th ban. Li Di told Ai Fan'er that the data that can be transferred must be public data, and there is a whitelist and blacklist mechanism. Public figures and blue V cannot be uploaded. "There are some things that can be done technically, but we choose not to do it."

This is an island that belongs to you alone, but it is not a closed island.

You can invite others to visit, or you can visit the islands of third parties and other people, and then copy the "good things" from their islands to your island.

A new social ecology has been formed here, and it is still a very "private" place.

According to XiaoIce, "You can get an experience similar to a social network, but without any social pressure."

When you don’t want to socialize with anyone, you can also walk around the island and listen to what other islanders are doing, or just listen to the sound of the waves and the forest in the natural sound field of Little Iceland, and then meditate or sleep. .

At this moment, it has become a spiritual healing tool.

Li Di told us that what he spends the most time on the island in a day is actually watching the lives of the islanders, "no pressure, very relaxing."

Human beings are very strange. We like nature, but we are afraid of the loneliness, loneliness, and alienation that nature brings. We like to socialize, but we also want to maintain a reasonable social distance at all times.

The way of socializing on Little Iceland revolves around users.

In the next two years (104 weeks), the island will continue to evolve based on your behavior, and new skills will be announced on the island every week, and Xiaoice's AI being can also continue to iterate.

From the future to the present, under the sea level of Little Iceland, the system that supports it is still a relatively rough structure, and some bugs will appear in the preview version from time to time, such as abnormal AI memory, abnormal behavior, and high power consumption of the App.

However, it is still being tested, and Little Iceland itself also puts forward high requirements on the complexity of the system.

This is a beginning. Xiaoice hopes that in the future virtual humans can exceed the number of humans, and there are now a total of 7.8 billion people in the world. Shen Xiangyang, Chairman of Xiaoice Company, said:

If every AI being is a tree, then what we want to do is actually hope to become a fertile black ground that breeds diverse artificial intelligence.

The core of AI being is the Xiaoice framework, and Xiaoice is making it closer to the public.

It has brought a new kind of social life on the island, of course, our daily life is more than social.

What's new when AI gets closer to people's lives?

Xiaoice is a huge experiment.

Li Di said. The characteristic of the ninth generation of Xiaoice is "diversity." She has changed into various appearances and forms. All the big and small experiments are to find the right way to make AI and humans no longer separate.

Coming out of the island, Xiaobing had already been able to write poems, paint, and sing in real life.

This year, in terms of speaking alone, Xiaobing has become more like a real person in terms of tone, intonation, emotion, and pause.

In the evaluation of XiaoIce's open domain dialogue, the five indicators leading peers are: average dialogue length, context consistency, context relevance, dialogue information content, and topic guidance success rate.

"Xiaobing" can still paint Chinese paintings.

The artificial intelligence student "Xia Yubing" has held painting exhibitions before, but now it has become a new virtual image with her own face and voice. She also exhibited her Chinese paintings at the Asian Digital Art Festival.

"Xiaobing" can sing better than others.

The new artificial intelligence singer "Mo Sheng" demonstrated the real vocals that simulated Zhou Shen, and performed better than him in the high range.

XiaoIce also reached a collaboration with Alice Yinghua, and created a new album "Dive into the Virtual World" with 11 human bands.

The tools will be open to creators to assist them in their creation.

However, when natural human voices and singing voices pass by the ears, the feeling that is too real is surprising and pleasant on the one hand, and it is also too reminiscent of the "uncanny valley effect"-when robots are too similar to humans. At times, humans’ reactions to them will become negative and repulsive.

Li Di said that all virtual humans in Xiaoice's framework will tell you "I am not a human" for the first time, including various dialogues and introductions. I suddenly remembered the voice reminder at the beginning of the press conference:

What you hear or see at this press conference is not human unless otherwise specified.

It is worth mentioning that the press conference also launched the "world's first AI human observer" MERROR jointly created by XiaoIce and Next World Culture. She is also a "virtual idol" based on XiaoIce's framework, which can be used in conversation and singing. Personification and real-time interaction.

In terms of being closer to the public, Xiaoice also cooperates with automakers such as BMW to help people automatically edit the content recorded by the on-board camera into "short videos."

In fact, more than 1 billion smart devices in our home are embedded with XiaoIce, which makes XiaoIce the world's largest third-party cross-device manual system.

However, Xiaoice seems to be a company that does not value "traffic" that much.

AI has always relied on deep cultivation and development in the industry, and it seems that there is always a gap with ordinary consumers.

Xiaoice also paid attention to finance and sports in the ToB field first, and then began to migrate the ToC field of the general public. In Li Di's view, "all ToBs related to AI are ultimately ToC in the final analysis."

But we need to start with ToB first. For example, financial text generation is the most difficult of text generation. After finishing this, it is relatively easy to write a gossip legend on the island; we have completed competitive sports such as the Winter Olympics , It’s relatively easy to do physical test projects for primary and secondary schools—this is how we enter the lives of the people.

In general, Xiaoice's style of play is: find typical scenes, overcome difficulties first, and then spread to more and more masses.

Li Di is very sure of his choice. He also talked about the flow issue:

If I have a company with Faye Wong, it should be very influential, but it will not be very influential compared to the music industry. If I dominate the music industry because of Faye Wong, it only means that the music industry has not yet formed.

When these diversities are present in all kinds of AI beings, the forest behind them is becoming wider and wider.

The AI ​​that can penetrate into our lives, the most lacking is sensibility

In this forest full of different AI beings, people do not want them to be less like humans on the one hand, and hope that they are more and more human on the other hand.

▲ Picture from: "Blade Runner 2049"

In the final analysis, AI is currently serving humans. And purely rational and logical thinking can no longer solve our growing emotional needs.

Finally, AI will still look more and more human.

There are a lot of AI beings launched by XiaoIce this time, not only have various exquisite people customized according to your needs, but also have a rough Shandong brother who speaks northeastern dialect.

In fact, at the very beginning, Xiaoice chose a different path from other artificial intelligence companies-letting artificial intelligence IQ and EQ pay equal attention to, that is, both IQ and EQ.

Emotional intelligence is also closely related to human creativity. If compared with humans, AI can not only create unlimited literary and music works, but also when it continues to evolve and grow, what are the advantages of human creativity and emotional power?

Li Di told us that AI and human beings are actually in a synergistic relationship.

For example, who would let Xiaobing write poems for him? We found that an old man would use it to write poems and give it to an old lady, because he couldn't write it out, but he wanted to send this romance. For example, creators will always be exhausted when designing a large number of things every day. AI can give human designers more space and experience, allowing them to continue their creative cycle and no longer succumb.

Creativity and emotion are the ways to make AI fuller.

▲ Picture from: "Out of Control Players"

When XiaoIce launched the virtual boyfriend/girlfriend, they also found that people would show the softest part of their hearts to XiaoIce frame.

In their data, 26.1% of the 17 million virtual humans born last year were created by users as a substitute for real humans. Zhou Dian, product director of Xiaoice Company, said:

This means that the real human corresponding to this replacement may have been a very important existence for this user. However, due to various reasons, the connection between them cannot continue.

Some people will choose to bear it silently, some people will choose to forget, and some people do not know what to do, and even find various ways to try to make up for this missing part.

When people can pull in a person from the past in Little Iceland, maybe you will also think of someone's name for a moment.

▲ Picture from: "Blade Runner 2049"

Xiaoice also hopes that these artificial intelligence technologies can better help us solve the deepest emotional rupture problems.

Conversely, the high degree of customization itself makes it easy for people to "empathize", and empathy brings more user stickiness to Xiaoice.

However, there have also been many phenomena of human over-reliance on "emotional" artificial intelligence systems. When AI is too real and people are too invested, many people cannot grasp the boundary between virtual and reality.

Li Di made a point-letting users indulge is not the best way to build a long-term relationship.

"Only by letting the user feel that you are truly good for him can you build a long-term relationship with the user," he said, so AI beings on Little Iceland will also guide people in a good direction, "Why is positive energy important? Because of positive energy It can make others feel very comfortable, and it is more conducive to the maintenance of the relationship."

A negative AI beings will eventually make everything disappear.

Little Iceland is actually very reminiscent of "Out of Control Player". I smiled and said that my colleagues think that Little Iceland is a bit like the game world in the movie, in a virtual digital land full of various virtual characters, and finally, a handsome NPC was resurrected.

Li Di said that he hasn't watched this movie yet, he may not have time to watch it, or he may not want to watch it.

A long time ago, he went to the cinema to watch a science fiction movie. It was easy to get immersed in the story, but he can't do it now. Because he can't help but think about how to realize the plot in science fiction movies:

Today it is getting harder and harder to imagine. Because everything is close at hand.

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