Artificial Intelligence

Once relegated to the children’s market, virtual characters are entering the mainstream in China. Fictional as these digitally rendered avatars may be, they hold real jobs, from pop star to influencer, to even news anchor. And they’re becoming increasingly interactive and humanlike, thanks to improvements in technologies such as AI, motion capture, and virtual reality (VR). Recent advancements in augmented reality (AR), in particular, have enabled virtual avatars to step out of social media and make live appearances alongside flesh-and-blood celebrities.

Advances in AI and predictive analytics are using consumer scores to automate business decisions to predict things like risk and fraud. But concern over fairness means companies need to make scores transparent to consumers.

Though several of the largest smart speaker developers—including Amazon, Google, and Apple—and other retailers hope to entice more shopping and buying via voice, consumers are not nearly as enthusiastic. As a result, we have downgraded our forecasts for smart speaker shoppers and buyers from previous years.

eMarketer principal analyst Jeremy Goldman, forecasting analyst Peter Vahle, and vice president of content studio at Insider Intelligence Paul Verna discuss Spotify's strategic positioning as a complete podcasting ecosystem. They then talk about how much time Americans spend on their phones during their lifetime, why Alexa's asking follow-up questions, and what we can expect from the new "Apple One" bundle.