Your new work colleague may soon be a Digital Human!

Your new work colleague may soon be a Digital Human!

Introduction: In this reading activity, students will learn about the concept of digital humans and how they could impact the future of employment. They will also explore the advantages and limitations of digital humans, and the types of jobs that could be replaced by this technology.

Pre-Reading Questions:

Have you ever heard of digital humans? What do you think they are?

How do you think digital humans could be used in the workplace?

What advantages and limitations do you think digital humans have compared to real humans?

Reading Passage:

According to a recent study conducted by researchers from the University of Sydney Business School, in collaboration with colleagues from Indiana University and Iowa State, it is expected that “most” companies will have employed a digital human within the next decade. It is likely that your future work colleague may be a digital human. These digital humans are different from well-known chatbots like Siri and ChatGPT, as they use human faces and voices to create a more realistic experience for users. Although digital humans will not be able to replace real ones in every role, they will be effective in areas where there is a need for an emotional connection, such as being a personal assistant or coach, providing customer service, or teaching medical students.

Miquela Bot

Miquela Bot, also known as Lil Miquela, is a virtual influencer and pop singer. She was created in 2016 by a Los Angeles-based company called Brud. Miquela has amassed a large following on social media platforms like Instagram and TikTok, where she shares pictures and videos of herself, interacts with fans, and promotes brands.

Despite their limitations, digital humans are proving to be attractive in the workforce because of their ability to cut costs and provide customisability and scalability.

According to Dr Mike Seymour, a senior lecturer at the University of Sydney, jobs that are at risk are those that involve an element of emotional connection, whereas jobs that involve collaboration will be safe from AI.

However, it is important to note that AI is rapidly advancing and becoming more realistic, especially in terms of language processing and the quality of visuals. While AI may not yet have the emotional intelligence of humans, the field is progressing quickly, and the addition of a human face and voice to technology could lead to a significant shift in the workforce within the next decade. Therefore, it is important for individuals to upskill and adapt to the changing nature of the workforce, rather than view it as a destruction of the workforce.


Comprehension Questions:

  1. According to researchers from the University of Sydney Business School, will most companies employ a digital human in the next decade?
  2. What is the main advantage of digital humans over traditional AI?
  3. Can digital humans feel emotions? Why or why not?
  4. What is Lil Miquela?
  5. In what ways could digital humans be used in the workplace?
  6. What jobs could be replaced by digital humans, according to Dr Seymour?
  7. What are the advantages of hiring digital humans?
  8. According to Dr Seymour, what types of jobs are safe from AI?
  9. Will AI destroy the workforce? Why or why not?
  10. What is your opinion on the use of digital humans in the workplace? Do you think they will become more common in the future? Why or why not?

Discussion Questions:

  1. Do you think digital humans will become more common in the workplace? Why or why not?
  2. How do you think the use of digital humans will impact the job market?
  3. Are there any jobs that you think digital humans would be better at than real humans? Why or why not?
  4. What do you think the limitations of digital humans are?
  5. In your opinion, what types of jobs are safe from AI? Why?
  6. Do you think the use of digital humans is ethical? Why or why not?
  7. How do you think the development of AI and other advanced technologies will impact society in the future?
  8. What skills do you think will be most valuable in the job market of the future? Why?
  9. What advice would you give to someone who is worried about the impact of AI on their job?
  10. Would you ever consider working alongside a digital human? Why or why not?

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