the AI risk

Virtual Insanity: Zoom CEO Proposes AI ‘Clones’ to Replace Human Interaction

EDITOR'S NOTES

Are you ready for a future where your AI double renders you professionally irrelevant or obsolete? Well, in a dystopian twist, Zoom’s CEO Eric Yuan envisions a future where employees can skip work meetings by sending their AI-powered “digital twins” in their place. This chilling proposal suggests a reality where human presence is rendered obsolete, replaced by artificial clones making decisions on our behalf. As Yuan touts this as a revolutionary work-life balance solution, critics slam it as a fantasy devoid of common sense. The idea threatens to erode genuine human interaction and professional networking, potentially leaving a trail of job insecurity and dehumanized workplaces in its wake.

What if you could skip virtual Zoom meetings at work while still making an appearance?

“Digital twin” technology could be a future development implemented by the San Jose, California-based software company – giving users the ability to send their deepfake to meetings and make decisions on their behalf, according to The Verge.

“I can send a digital version of myself to join so I can go to the beach. Or I do not need to check my emails; the digital version of myself can read most of the emails,” Zoom CEO Eric Yuan told The Verge.

Kurt “CyberGuy” Knutsson, a tech journalist and Fox News contributor, told Fox Business the idea is nothing more than “a fantasy” and “will never fly in the American business culture – even [in] Silicon Valley.”

“Some ideas being generated for the sake of companies demonstrating AI growth are missing one important thing: common sense. A Zoom call with a clone of yourself is one more,” Knutsson said.

“Most bosses will think that if you want to send a digital clone of yourself to work in your place, we’ll just hire the clone and let you enjoy an extended stay at the beach without pay or future employment,” he added.

Through Zoom, a user would be able to create multiple “digital twins” by adding personal training to tailor each twin for various commitments.

“Multiple digital twins are different based on your training. One digital twin is really more like a sales expert; another digital twin of yourself is more like an engineering expert,” Yuan told The Verge.

“Again, you manage that. Whenever you send a digital twin of yourself to join any other meetings, any other digital context, we know that they’ll be authentic given AI-based authentication.”

Chelsea Stokes, a career coach based in New York, told Fox News Digital that she sees some big issues with the digital clone suggestions, saying it will not solve underlying issues in the workplace.

“Why are companies still having unnecessary meetings? It seems like companies and team leaders need to start asking how employees can be more efficient with their time and limit meetings that don’t improve performance,” Stokes said.

“In my experience, career progression comes from networking and connection,” she added. “The most successful careers come from who you know. Limiting connections in the workplace could have drastic impacts on career progression if professional relationships aren’t being built.”

Yuan did acknowledge the need for human intercommunication at work.

“If I stop by your office, let’s say I give you a hug, you shake my hand, right? I think AI cannot replace that. We still need to have in-person interaction,” he told The Verge. “That is very important. Say you and I are sitting together in a local Starbucks, and we are having a very intimate conversation — AI cannot do that, either.”

Yuan said AI could, however, change a person’s work-life balance.

“You and I can have more time to have more in-person interactions, but maybe not for work. Maybe for something else. Why do we need to work five days a week? Down the road, four days or three days,” he told the outlet.

“Why not spend more time with your family? Why not focus on some more creative things, giving you back your time, giving back to the community and society to help others, right?”

Yuan recognized that “digital twins” could “take some time” as “AI is not there yet.”

“Let’s assume, fast-forward five or six years, that AI is ready. AI probably can help for maybe 90% of the work, but in terms of real-time interaction, today, you and I are talking online,” he said.

“So, I can send my digital version — you can send your digital version,” Yuan added.

In 2022, the majority of Zoom users who preferred to have their cameras on at work was 58%. Thirty-eight percent preferred to have their cameras off, according to a Zoom blog post revealing their metric and survey findings, which was updated in January 2023.

This article originally appeared on Fox Business

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