For many of us, the pandemic means we’re living increasing portions of our lives through screens: working, Zooming, streaming, gaming, connecting. That last part—connecting—is in some ways the most challenging. Spend enough time on screens, and even the real live humans we’re interacting with can start to feel like avatars. So what happens, in the future, when the people we’re chatting with actually are avatars? And what if that future is now?
On the latest episode of the Get WIRED podcast, writer Emma Grey Ellis explores this emerging world of virtual beings. Ellis recently attended the Virtual Beings Summit, where artificial intelligence companies assembled (remotely, of course) to demo their newest creations. And during the episode we hear directly from Lucy, a new virtual being from Fable Studio—though to hear her talk, you might think Lucy was a “real” fourth-grader.
Some virtual beings are hugely popular. A virtual Japanese pop star has become so beloved that nearly 4,000 fans have “married” her. The US has its own entirely virtual influencer: Lil Miquela, who currently has 2.5 million Instagram followers. Her career path has followed the familiar arc of human influencers, starting with lucrative advertising deals, followed by a little bit of controversy and, naturally, an album dropped on Spotify. The sex industry has also pivoted to virtual beings—which raises questions about both the ethics and the economics of never-aging, programmable lovers.
The presence of virtual beings on our screens, in our timelines, and in our lives seems inevitable at this point. But before dismissing their rise as proof of a dystopian present, consider this: We are already talking to computers all day, in different ways. And communicating with each other, human-to-human, is complicated, too. Virtual beings might not be adequate replacements for real human interaction, but they still might be able to teach us something about our humanity.
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Why an ‘active’ approach to risk modelling is key to navigating markets today
Whether investors are aiming for a cautious approach or a riskier investment profile with the potential for higher returns, Architas’ Blended Fund range is designed to match a range of investor risk appetites. And like many asset managers, Architas predominantly uses two approaches to define asset allocation within the five risk bands used in the Blended Range – strategic and tactical.
Whilst risk model provider EValue’s quantitative approach to asset allocation takes into account the long-term performance of different asset classes and the likely future performance given current valuations, along with long-term measures of volatility and correlations with other asset classes. Yet as with most systems of its kinds, EValue focuses on the long term; it is unable to analyse short-term market movements and fluctuations. So whilst it would have seen that in Q1 2020 markets fell by a record percentage before rebounding, it will not be able to factor in the cost of the coronavirus and lockdown and its impact on markets. Similarly, it is not able to consider ongoing Brexit woes, geo-political trade wars or the outcome of the US election in 2020.
Click here for the full article and to access more about the flexibility of the Architas Blended Range by clicking on the box below.
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