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22 June 2022; Carmelo Anthony, NBA All-Star & Entrepreneur, on Centre Stage during day two of Collision 2022 at Enercare Centre in Toronto, Canada. Photo by Stephen McCarthy/Collision via Sportsfile

NBA All-Star and entrepreneur Carmelo Anthony is no stranger to the tech world, having founded his venture fund Melo7 Tech Partners in 2014.

Anthony’s latest tech play has him partnering with Soul Machines, a company that uses artificial intelligence to create “Digital People.”

The basketball legend attended Collision, a global tech conference in Toronto, and took the stage with Soul Machines CEO Greg Cross to debut “Digital Melo” – his humanized AI digital twin.

The Promise of Artificial Intelligence

Soul Machines expects its “Digital People”, to be multi-functional tools, for brand endorsements, marketing, and entertainment through augmented reality. They are also working on digital clones of other celebrities and pop-culture icons, including will.i.am.

“In the future, you can imagine being able to shoot hoops or walk around the basketball stage with Digital Melo”, Cross elaborated.  The company’s website also outlines a number of use cases beyond entertainment, including multi-lingual education, healthcare services, real estate, and call centers.

Although the conversation with Anthony’s digital twin was a bit awkward – filled with long, drawn-out pauses, the potential for the technology is apparent.

Anthony explained, “We are at the beginning stages but this is the future. I want people to take this journey with us – we don’t know everything.  We are learning as the technology grows and changes.”

When asked if he could interact with a digital person, who he would choose, Anthony responded thoughtfully: “I think my dad. I lost my dad when I was young. I would love to sit and talk with him, it would be scary as hell, but I’d love to have this dialogue with him.”

Is Artificial Intelligence Going Too Far?

Sentimental moments aside, the elephant in the room continues to be whether artificial intelligence is going too far. AI technology has come under fire in recent years for programming societal biases such as racism and sexism, into computers – a concept called algorithmic bias.

Recently, Google engineer Blake Lemoine was suspended after going public with his concerns that Google’s AI chatbot was sentient – able to perceive or feel things as a human would. The engineer proclaimed that just like any child, the AI “has the potential to grow up to be a bad person and do bad things.” Lemoine explained that he did not think Google had considered the implications of creating a “person.”

Dystopian Hollywood films like Ex Machina and Chappie, which feature AI robots gone rogue, certainly come to mind.  Indeed, while Digital Melo represents an exciting frontier in technology, this is an area that must be watched carefully as tech entrepreneurs and scientists continue to blur the line between human and machine.

About Collision Conference 

Collision is one of the world’s largest tech conferences with more than 35,000 attendees and 800 investors from 130 countries.

The multi-day experience, which took place June 21 – 24, 2022 at the Enercare Centre in Toronto, featured more than 1,200 speakers – including celebrities such as Academy Award-winning actress Lupita Nyong’o and actor Damon Wayans Jr as well as chief executives from major Black-led tech companies like Tope Awotona of Calendly, Charley Moore of Rocket Lawyer, Dave Salvant of Squire, and Joe Bayen of Grow Credit.

News Source: BlackEnterprise / Written Credits to: Shimite Obialo


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