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March 15, 2024

NTT's Another Me: Pioneering the Digital Alter Ego Revolution

The rapidly advancing field of artificial intelligence (AI) is taking a new direction with the development of digital alter egos, where individuals can create digital counterparts that not only mimic their speech, but also show off their unique personalities. The concept is a way to use the power of information processing technologies to create a society that welcomes diversity and allows everyone, wherever they are and whatever their situation, the same connected benefits.

Designed to embody the individual's personality and reflect their unique characteristics online, NTT's "Another Me" initiative brings the creation of digital alter egos that can function within society a step closer. Another Me is a vision of the future, where digital counterparts can go beyond the physical and temporal limitations of the real world, enabling individuals to engage, grow, and participate in society in ways that have been impossible until now.

The development and implementation of Another Me are underpinned by a trio of core technologies: body motion generation, personality extraction, and personal dialogue reproduction. These technologies collectively enable the creation of digital humans that are not only visually realistic, but also capable of expressing natural human-like emotions and movements, generating unique speech patterns and content, and making it feasible for virtually anyone to have a digital representative.

A major part of the project is the development of CONN, a digital human developed in a partnership between NTT Communications, NTT ConoQ, and Toei. CONN embodies a virtual personality, crafted through advanced body motion generation technology, which enables the articulation of facial expressions and full-body movements that mirror natural human behavior. CONN leverages minimal data to model and automatically generate body motions aligned with speech audio, improving the realism and smoothness of digital human interactions.

CONN's creation involved scanning the faces of nine real-life individuals, or "catalysts," to construct a composite digital human using computer graphics. The personality traits, including behaviors and voice of CONN, were then modeled using motion capture data and voice recordings of the catalysts. This allows the AI engine to replicate the nuanced behavior and voice characteristics of real people, making CONN a digital person that can engage in natural human interactions.

Further enriching the Another Me ecosystem is the meta-communication service "MetaMe," where NTT DOCOMO has pioneered the integration of personality extraction and personal dialogue reproduction technology. These innovations facilitate the learning of individual-specific vectors from activity logs, enabling the digital alter ego to reflect the user's personality and values accurately.

NTT's Another Me shows the potential to create deeply personalized, autonomous digital beings that extend our ability to communicate, connect, and contribute to society. Another Me invites us to reimagine our digital futures, offering a glimpse into a world where our digital selves can embody our essence, engage with the world on our behalf, and ultimately, grow alongside us. It holds promise for both consumer and enterprise applications, with the ultimate goal of enabling everyone to have their own digital alter ego that grows alongside them. Another Me and technologies like CONN represent more than just technological wonders; they offer a future where digital experiences are as rich and meaningful as those in the physical world. We are not only redefining the boundaries of digital interaction, but also advancing towards a society that values diversity, connectivity, and the seamless integration of our digital and physical lives.

NTT—Innovating the Future

Picture: Daniel O'Connor

Daniel O'Connor joined the NTT Group in 1999 when he began work as the Public Relations Manager of NTT Europe. While in London, he liaised with the local press, created the company's intranet site, wrote technical copy for industry magazines and managed exhibition stands from initial design to finished displays.

Later seconded to the headquarters of NTT Communications in Tokyo, he contributed to the company's first-ever winning of global telecoms awards and the digitalisation of internal company information exchange.

Since 2015 Daniel has created content for the Group's Global Leadership Institute, the One NTT Network and is currently working with NTT R&D teams to grow public understanding of the cutting-edge research undertaken by the NTT Group.