Samsung’s Neon ‘artificial humans’ are confusing everyone. We set the record straight

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Neon CEO Pranav Mistry introduces the company’s new AI to an audience at CES 2020.

Sarah Tew/CNET

A robot that . Samsung’s . Of all the digital pals shown off at last week, none were quite as , the humanlike «life form» funded by a Samsung lab (but don’t confuse it with a Samsung product).In a practical sense, consider it a chatbot with a human face and personality. 

Imagine if Siri or tranh gỗ treo tường phòng khách gỗ vinh quy bái tổ Alexa had a virtual face and could carry on a genuine conversation instead of only fetching you tomorrow’s forecast. Neon is headed in that direction, and it’s equal parts fascinating, impressive and eerie.

Much of the technology behind this lifelike AI is still under development, with a beta release slated for later this year.Consider our curiosity piqued. Here’s a virtual being that looks nearly human. What’s it for, and will people accept it or reject it for being «too» human?

Neon comes at a time when companies are ramping up investment in AI technologies, from camera processing to full-blown interfaces like this. For example, two years ago, Samsung vowed to and 5G by the end of 2020. But this increased AI spending goes hand-in-hand with  that skirts the edge of sentience. 

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Now playing: Watch this: Neon, the lifelike AI from Samsung, answers my questions…

CNET got a chance to  and . Both encounters led to more questions. Even still, the buzz around Neon is palpable. What does a Neon do, can it «feel», and what happens next? Here’s everything we know about the Neon project, as well as a few lingering questions about these next-generation AIs.

One Neon, two Neons, red Neon, blue Neon

First things first, Neon is the name of the company, the project and an individual AI entity.You can communicate with a Neon, with two Neons, and so forth. 

What’s a Neon?

A Neon is an artificially intelligent digital avatar that’s meant to mimic real human appearance and emotions. It’s envisioned as a highly lifelike companion that has its own personality and can converse and behave like humans. Neons can also remember and learn.

According to Neon CEO Pranav Mistry, «Neons are more like us, an independent but virtual living being, who can show emotions and learn from experiences.» According to the founder’s vision, they’re like a related — yet different — new species of life from humans.

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