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UNLV President Turns Himself Into an AI

UNLV President Keith Whitfield and his digital avatar

UNLV President Keith Whitfield (left) recorded information and posed for 3D images for his digital avatar (right).

Keith Whitfield, president of the University of Nevada at Las Vegas, is available to chat with all 31,000 students at any hour of the day or night — as long as they don't mind talking to his digital avatar.

The public research university recently unveiled the digital President Whitfield, an artificial intelligence and online avatar that can answer more than 1,000 questions about hundreds of university-related topics. Whitfield and the developers at AI Media Lab, the company that built the avatar, hope the digital president will serve as a resource for students, employees, and potential applicants.

Whitfield was inspired to build an online version of himself after he toured a technology park on campus where he met two UNLV alumni who design AI and avatars that mimic real people or mascots.

Development took about seven months.  The digital president can now address about 1,000 questions about campus services, financial aid, housing, and other topics. The AI will continue to learn as it has more conversations.

From Inside Higher Ed
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