Rikki Jørgensen
1 week ago

AI avatars to replace humans in Zoom meetings, says CEO Eric Yuan

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Shutterstock

Zoom's founder and CEO, Eric Yuan, is forecasting a future where AI-powered digital avatars could attend meetings on behalf of employees, allowing for shorter workweeks.

This visionary concept was shared during an interview with The Verge's editor-in-chief, Nilay Patel. Yuan believes that utilizing AI in this manner could revolutionize the way people work, enabling them to balance their professional and personal lives more effectively.

As reported by AV Magazine, Yuan discussed the potential of 'digital twins'—AI-driven avatars that could not only participate in meetings but also make decisions, manage emails, and handle various routine tasks. He envisions a scenario where individuals could deploy these avatars to maintain productivity without the constant need to be physically present in every meeting.

Yuan suggested that this approach could lead to a significant reduction in the traditional five-day workweek, proposing the possibility of working fewer days without compromising on efficiency or output. "Why do we need to work five days a week?" he questioned. "In the future, maybe we only need to work four or even three days." This shift, he argues, would give people more time to engage in creative activities, spend time with family, and contribute to their communities.

The concept of digital twins extends beyond just attending meetings. Yuan highlighted that each person could have multiple avatars tailored to different tasks. For instance, an avatar designed with enhanced negotiation skills could represent someone in a sales meeting. The goal is to make these avatars versatile and capable of handling various professional scenarios effectively.

While the technology for fully functional digital twins is not yet available, Yuan is optimistic that it could be developed within the next five to six years. He emphasized that Zoom is already integrating AI into its platform with features like the Zoom AI Companion, which provides tools such as meeting summaries that users have found highly accurate and useful.

Despite the advances in AI, Yuan acknowledged that in-person interactions remain irreplaceable. The physical presence for activities like handshakes and hugs retains its unique value. Nevertheless, he is confident that AI can greatly enhance productivity and work-life balance by taking over many routine tasks.

Zoom aims to expand its offerings beyond videoconferencing, positioning itself as a comprehensive collaboration platform. Yuan expressed a desire to compete with giants like Microsoft and Google by integrating tools such as documents, email, and chat into Zoom's suite of services.

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