On Thursday, December 10th, Yoshimoto Kogyo and ObEN held a joint press conference at Yoshimoto mugendai Hall in Shibuya, Tokyo, and announced that they will establish a joint venture company, Yoshimoto ObEN AI Agency, in January 2021.
Four students from iU participated in the conference as reporters and had the opportunity to ask questions to the speakers.
In the “Yoshimoto ObEN AI Agency” announced this time, ObEN, which is developing artificial intelligence in California, USA, and Yoshimoto Kogyo, to which about 6,000 comedians belong, will team up to promote the “Yoshimoto Comedian AI Avatarization Project,” which will create comedians who can work globally without being bound by time or language barriers.
On the day of the conference, ObEN CEO Adam Zheng (online), Yoshimoto Sales Promotion Director Kazutaka Shimura, Yuriyan Retriever, and Magical Lovely Crystal Noda took the stage to explain the future of the virtual talent business using AI avatars. They explained the future of the virtual talent business using AI avatars.
After the main overview, we were expecting the question and answer session to start immediately, just like the press conferences we see on TV, but Yoshimoto’s press conference was about to begin.
~~ AI Yuriyan Retriever appears ~~
When the AI avatar of Yuriyan Retriever, the first Yoshimoto comedian avatar for this project, was unveiled, the conversation with Yuriyan herself started as if the comedy had just begun.
The avatar appeared and introduced herself, “Nice to meet you, I’m Suzu Hirose. The avatar introduced herself by saying, “Nice to meet you, I’m Suzu Hirose,” and made a series of jokes that she would have said herself, which excited the audience.
Afterwards, Yuriyan talked about the episode of creating this avatar.Yuriyan said, “It was just a bunch of unintelligible sentences spoken in a dark room with cameras all over the room.
Actually, the words coming out of the AI avatar are not actually recorded, but are created by combining samples of manuscripts with completely different words.
In other words, they use voice samples instead of words, so if you take a picture of it, it will automatically respond to not only Japanese, but also English, Chinese, Korean, and Kansai dialect.
Yuriyan, who hadn’t seen the finished product of the AI avatar until the day of the press conference, seemed quite surprised by this.
However, it took a whopping two years to make the avatar. During that time, Yuriyan succeeded in losing over 35 kilograms and looked like a different person, but her avatar was still the same as it was two years ago, so she was still chubby.Kazutaka Shimura, director of Yoshimoto Sales Promotion, laughed at this and said, “I never expected to lose weight.
If AI avatars become widespread, not only will it be possible to perform stories in various places without having to move around, but it will also be possible to send your stories overseas even if you cannot speak other languages.
～AI Yuriyan and the real Yuriyan face off in a big game! ～
After AI Yuriyan’s greeting, Crystal Noda of Magical Lovely, who is famous for winning M-1 recently, appeared on stage. Crystal Noda is famous not only for her comedy, but also for being the first game creator in Yoshimoto.
This time, Crystal Noda created a game using YURIYAN’s AI avatar, and she and YURIYAN Retriever faced off in a big comedy match.
Overwhelmed by AI Yuriyan, who answered the questions before she could finish reading them at a speed similar to that of a quiz show, Yuriyan looked a little unhappy as she could not answer any of the questions.The program for the game, which used AI Yuriyan, was to instantly determine the subject, extract three words from a variety of registered words, and connect them to form a sentence.
However, the AI was still not accurate enough for impromptu blurbs, so I felt the need for machine learning and felt that we iU students who are learning programming could be involved in some way.
~~Handsome Vtuber Rikuto’s appearance!~~
Next, Rikuto, a handsome Vtuber created by Kazuki Yone, a famous illustrator of Hakuouki and other works, appeared as a 3D avatar and introduced himself in fluent Japanese, while weaving in and out of Chinese without hesitation, to the surprise of the audience.
Conventional Vtubers used to read from a script, but this 3D avatar, like Yuriyan’s AI avatar, not only reads from a script, but also converts recorded voices into data and uses them to have conversations on its own.
In China, avatar-only audition shows are already in full swing, and idol groups are sometimes formed using only avatars. Vtubers, who used to be few and far between, have now become a familiar presence. Expectations are high for the future evolution of these Vtubers.
~~Through this press conference~~
I learned a lot from participating in the press conference of Yoshimoto Kogyo, one of the iU’s partner companies. When I heard the name of Yoshimoto Kogyo, I had the image of an office to which comedians belonged, but I learned that DX has progressed to such an extent even in this industry, and it was a good opportunity for me to think about the future of society.
It’s very exciting to imagine that in a few years, AI avatars will be appearing on TV, as well as in corporate reception areas, advertisements, and many other places in a futuristic society.
I hope you all enjoy the Yoshimoto Comedian AI Project!
Company name: Yoshimoto ObEN AI Agency
Location: 5-18-21 Shinjuku, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo
Establishment: January 2021 (planned)
President and Representative Director: Kazutaka Shimura
Business description: Combining Yoshimoto Kogyo’s IP and content with ObEN’s cutting-edge technology, we develop and nurture 3D avatars. It will revolutionize entertainment, communication and marketing in online communities.
Official website: http://yoaa.co.jp/
Official Twitter: https://twitter.com/YoshimotObEN
Official YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCr0x2SsGxn8xfc20Svv52wg
Company name: Yoshimoto Kogyo Co.
Representative: Akihiko Okamoto, President and Representative Director
Headquarters: Osaka: 11-6 Namba Sennichimae, Chuo-ku, Osaka 542-0075, Japan
Tokyo: 18-21Shinjuku 5-chome, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo 160-0022, Japan
Business activities: Talent management, agency, production, distribution and exhibition of software, TV and radio programs, entertainment and theater
Company Name: ObEN, Inc.
Representative: Adam Zheng, CEO
Headquarters: Pasadena, California
The company develops personal AI technology that revolutionizes communication in virtual and digital spaces. Personal Artificial Intelligence (PAI) avatar customization service.