It’s tough being a student in the United States these days. The stress of studies, pandemic rules, exorbitant fees and showerbags with guitars can create difficult times. But don’t worry, fellow kidz: the AI has arrived to ease your worries.
Meet the new president of the digital university:
The system is a digital twin of Keith Whitfield, the human president of the University of Nevada at Las Vegas.
“I had this kind of awe-inspiring desire to talk to every student, and I think I said that and the whole room fell silent and said, ‘He’s lost his mind,'” Whitfield told 13 ActionNews.
The president presumably brushed off their concerns — and sought out an AI lookalike.
Learn on the job
After recruiting the services of the AI Media Lab for a good deal $125,000Whitfield headed for the studio.
He spent about eight hours reading information about UNLV, reciting questions to students, and talking about himself.
AI Media Lab used Whitfield’s recordings and 3D images to create his avatar. The virtual mentor then went wild on the lucky UNLV students.
To get his advice, they just need to turn on their microphone and agree to two privacy policies, as well as terms of service.
I couldn’t foresee any risk, so I immediately loaded it.
Seconds later, the digital prez appeared on my laptop screen.
“My goal is to support you throughout your experience at UNLV by answering your questions, directing you to resources, and helping you with anything you may be going through,” he explained.
Virtual Whitfield tried to meet all my needs. He revealed his favorite spot on campus, gave me advice on studying dystopian technology, and was kind to drug requests.
However, I was pissed off by his advice on finding love.
“I’m not currently married,” he said.
Maybe I shouldn’t be too critical. The UX is quite smooth and the AI recommended resources for mental health, financial aid, and career advice – although a simple search function could have provided this more quickly.
I guess it’s nicer than a chatbot, but if I wanted guidance from a digital twin, I wouldn’t pick my college president. I would much rather show my soul to an artificial intelligence therapist.
If those weren’t options, that $125,000 might have been better spent on real support services — rather than an avatar just talking about it.
excl. tax: Chris Gilliard