This Chinese “Alexa”. Is a Singing, Holographic Anime Girl

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At Mobile World Congress Shanghai, I was wowed by the Gowild Holoera, a 'virtual assistant' in a glowing pyramid who talks to you, answers questions, and plays music.

SHANGHAI-China is way ahead of us in some ways. Everybody pays for things with their phones. Trains are really fast. And, if you want an AI assistant, she's an actual animated, holographic girl named Amber.

At Mobile World Congress Shanghai I was wowed by the Gowild Holoera, a “virtual assistant” in a glowing pyramid , and plays music.

The Holoera is not exactly new. It was officially released in 2016, and pops up in some coverage of CES Asia 2017. It is definitely not burned up the market, probably because at $ 551 (3680 Chinese Yuan, at a shopping mall in Shanghai) it's an expensive product for what it does.

But oh, it's so cool. Nobody at the Gowild booth spoke English, and all of Amber's documentation is in Chinese. A Chinese-speaking friend of mine said Amber will greet you, chat with you, sing to you, order you food, play music, help kids learn their Mandarin tones, and tell jokes to cheer you up.

In the demo I saw, Amber chatted with passersby, Amber chatted with passersby, took an aap in the bed, and when asked to play music, put on headphones and sat back in the lounge chair while the Holoera acted like an Echo speaker.

Amber has also popped up as a full-size “virtual idol” singing in concerts with the Chinese pop duo Yu Quan. Virtual idols are computer-generated singers, such as Hatsune Miku from Japan.

Maybe Amber is a little too human, though-or a little too superhuman. Gowild is now looking to be focusing on Xiao Bai, a cute little robot that uses a lot of the same AI conversation-based technology as Amber does, but is an adorable sexless blob.

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