Talking through time: How AI can be a medium for conversing with historic changemakers

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Mary Seacole has come to be widely recognised as a pioneer of healthcare in what we would today call a nurse practitioner. A British-Jamaican nurse that saved countless lives during the Crimean War, Mary passed in 1881 but through the power of AI and digital tools paired with historical accounts and modern performing arts, a new generation of changemakers can engage in conversation with a virtual avatar of Mary.

Utilising digital technologies such as Epic Games MetaHumans, or bespoke photogrammetry (mesh to MetaHuman), AI, image detection and mesh generation, a life-like virtual character can be created and animated using motion capture, which opens up opportunities for a number of sectors and industries, including heritage organisations for engaging with emerging technologies and performers. Having a virtual character provides more flexibility for public interaction and can further support visitor engagement.

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This project showcases how the VEC can support in:

  • Developing an interactive model for greater levels of engagement for learning and educational purposes
  • Bring significant and historical individuals and characters to life for keeping their legacy alive
  • Updating records of people and their history through extensive research
  • Showcase widely how this technology can be applied cross-sector for multiple purposes

The Benefits

  • Conversational avatars can improve communication and information shared with a magnitude of audiences
  • Realistic approach for an advanced experience including natural conversations
  • The avatar can be used as part of a digital training tool and technique for practising conversations or observing authentic behaviour for individuals with psychiatric disorders
  • Conversational avatar can be adapted into a training tool for healthcare and psychology sectors
  • Possibility to recreate historical neurodiverse figures to celebrate their contribution to mankind
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