The exponential future of finance

Avatars make online conferencing easy

Emily Caruthers
Revolutionizing virtual worlds
Revolutionizing virtual worlds

It's not every day a CNBC anchor has the opportunity to interview an avatar. But at the Exponential Finance Conference at Singularity University, the "Squawk Alley" team did just that. They interviewed Second Life founder Philip Rosedale's avatar, what he calls "the Wall Street version of Philip" — just check out the video above!

High Fidelity has created avatars that can be used in peer-to-peer meetings online.
Source: High Fidelity

Rosedale's avatar did everything a human would do: wave, smile, wink, you name it. And all of this was done in real time, with lag times that some say could put Skype to shame. The lifelike simulation was controlled by Rosedale, who was sitting across from it. The screenshot featuring CNBC's Jon Fortt and Rosedale's replica certainly made one thing clear: Virtual realities aren't just reserved for the Oculus Rifts and Project Morpheuses of the world anymore.

Sure, we've been talking about virtual reality taking over our lives for years now. But the mastermind behind 3-D interfaces says there's been a massive change in technological innovation. The key to creating a new market for these virtual realities he says? Oculus.

Whereas Second Life and other virtual interfaces require a mouse and keyboard to control simulations, future virtual worlds like High Fidelity, Rosedale's latest creation, will rely purely on a 3-D camera and motion trackers. The virtual interface also uses a peer-to-peer functionality in which communication is transferred directly between the two users, rather than by passing through a central server (similar to the way voice-over services like Skype work).

Rosedale expects High Fidelity to revolutionize the market for VR as it is gradually incorporated into the business sector. He notes that the virtual program will transform video and audio conferencing and other "frustrating things to use." And the inventor isn't stopping there. Rosedale expects High Fidelity to also provide services but by using more advanced features than its predecessor Second Life.

As more companies adapt to a world of communication among avatars and as we continue to refine VR interfaces, we have an opportunity to "be immersed in the world, to be visible to other people in a way you never could before" Rosedale said.

The High Fidelity team is about a year from having a finished project, perhaps even a few more from having the kind of technology that can seamlessly capture and transfer motions. But one thing is certain. With this incredibly innovative interface, virtual realities, once exclusive to the fantastical world of gaming, may very well become an integral part of our daily lives.