人工智能虛擬角色 Carey如何誕生Creating A.I. Carey


Asiabots Chatbot on WhatsApp

於2018年4月,人工智能公司 Asiabots 創立了一個Facebook 頻道名為 Dr.care 隨行醫生。 隨行醫生除了有面書之外,亦於Facebook Messenger 有一個以醫療題材為主的Chatbot Dr.Care (同名)。Dr. Care Chatbot 的建立一方面用來展示當時第一代的NLP系統, (雖然是第一代但是已經能夠理解廣東話),最主要還是希望免費服務大眾,因為我們理解到醫療服務是分秒必爭,幫病人有需要尋找醫生時,運用chatbot是最快最準確最直接的工具。


In April 2018, A.I. company, Asiabots, created a Facebook Page, named Dr. Care. Not only on Facebook, Dr. Care has also set up a medical Facebook Messenger Chatbot. Dr Care Chatbot not only can demonstrate the very first NLP Engine, which can already handle Cantonese, aims at serving the public. We understand medical service is important. Using Chatbot is the fastest and the most accurate tool to help finding a doctor when necessary.


最受歡迎的是詢問急症室的輪候時間功能,每年到流行病爆發的月份公營醫院的輪候時間每每變得很長,而某些公立醫院的距離其實相差不遠,病患者可查核急症室輪候時間後選擇較快者縮短輪候之苦。隨行醫生亦使用了Asiabots 第一代的病徵與疾病關係系統 Symptom checker,印象所及,大約學習了二千幾種病徵與三百多種病症的關係。


The most popular question is to ask for the queuing time of emergency service. The emergency services are often packed when epidemic disease is common. If patients could check the queuing time, the distributary will be better. Dr Care Chatbot also used Asiabots’ the first version Symptom Checker, which records over 2000 symptoms and 300 diseases.



Chatbot by Asiabots showing information in cards


於設計隨行醫生這個chatbot時, 我們便已加入人格化的設定,希望用家使用時,能夠想像和一個有形象、有溫暖感的角色對話, 而不是冷冰冰的機械人。 所以人物角色設定便隨著chatbot 的成立而誕生。我們設定了主人翁為一位由未來來到今天的半人半機械人Cyborg (橋段自認有點老土), 雖然各式設定的時間很短,但我們的團隊都感覺非常雀躍。


While designing the chatbot, we had already introduced a personality into the chatbot, which allows users to chat with a wam character instead of only a cold robot. With the creation of the chatbot, we also created a character, a Cyborg, who come from the future. We are all very excited.

人物主角Carey,名稱的設定已經暗示她是一個能夠關心別人的機械人, 她來到今天地球的目的是未來的Dr.Care 派遣她來拯救一位名為潺仔強的另一位主角。Carey 的設定是半人半機械,是貼合我們的NLP技術所設定,因為NLP就好像一個人工智能大腦,只要更換之後她便能夠回答不同的問題。為了令人物角色性格突出,我們亦都設計了一眾二線角色。 通過悉心的安排和畫師擅長的漫畫功力, 通過故事將Carey 的角色性格設定展現出來。往後一年我們看著讀者數量直線上升, 證明chatbot並不是只是一個噱頭, 加上人物設計之後,人們更喜歡使用和與她交談。 這個亦可算是值得鼓勵的本土設計之餘亦是聊天機械人業界的一個小小的範例。


She is Carey, a caring robot. She comes to ‘the past’ since Dr Care sent her back to save Keung, another character. We set up a NLP Engine in Carey’s brain, and NLP just likes a A.I. brain, which allows Carey to answer many questions, that makes Carey becomes a half human half robot. With our illustrator hard work and our preparation, we also launched other characters to create a completed story. In the next year, we observed the number of users rose significantly. This was a great recognition to us since it proved chatbot is not only a gimimick but a useful product. The public is willing to talk to her and enjoy her service.





A.I. Ambassador 智能服務大使 Carey 登場

Carey becomes an A.I. Ambassador


本著我們團隊同仁對Carey的喜愛( 偏心 ),Asiabots 第一個人工智能的虛擬人物設計便是基於Carey 為藍本所創作, 但是明白到需要客製化,於設計動畫時便考慮到模組化的設定, 簡單來說,所有衣服、皮膚顏色、頭髮、飾品等全部可供替換。為了令動畫流暢以及能夠配合人工智能,畫師以及工程師團隊經歷超過半年的努力才能完成第一個Beta版。


Asiabots’ designed the first A.I. Avatar based on Carey’s character as we really like her. 😊 Knowing that being an A.I. Ambassador, customization is a must, while designing, we payed special attention to the modular design. The outfit, skin colour, hair style, accessories all could be changed. To create a natural and integrate with artificial intelligence, we finally finished the first Beta version after 6 monthes of hard work.


另外重要的課題便是前文所及的聲音,若果每一個定制化角色都用同一把聲音,便無特色可言; 慶幸的是工程師團隊努力之下, 自家技術的TTS Engine誕生了,從此Carey 1號、Carey 2號、Carey 3號,除了外型服飾不同之外, 她們的聲音亦可根據個性配合不同的聲線。


Another main point was the voice. If every customized characters use the same voice to speak, they are not special anymore. Therefore, we have different outlook of Carey, and also different voices according to their personality with TTS Engine developed by our engineers.


除此之外,於2019年我們還設計了另一位角色小黑, 他是一隻機械貓。性格有點分裂,是因為內置了多於一個NLP系統之故? 不得而知,但他將會是Carey 以外的選擇。


Moreover, we launched another character Ash in 2019. Ash is a cat with complicated personality. Maybe it is because of owning over one NLP Engine? We don’t know yet, but he would be another choice apart from Carey.


有很多人會問為什麼我們不建立3D模組?原因是我們考慮到運行機能的問題, 要避免恐怖谷的困難,3D模組需要用上高解像度以及精細的建模,那樣勢必對運作的硬件系統帶來負荷;另一方面,3D 模組並非是必然選擇,作為服務大使,我們並不需要顯示她的背面或需要她作出跳舞或其他高難度的動作;故此我們選擇了2.5D - 一個介乎於平面與立體之間的一種方式, 通過視覺效果,能夠將平面動畫顯示近乎於立體,但同一時間保留了2D 平面畫的精細感。


Many of you asked about the 3D model. We did not consider building a 3D model because of the Uncanny Valley problem. Building a 3D Model requires high resolution and a detailed model. It will bring huge challenge to the hardware. Also, as an A.I. Ambassador, 3D model is not that necessary. We do not need the Ambassador to dance, or to do something complicated, therefore we chose 2.5D, a balance between 2D and 3D. With the animation, it nearly looks like 3D but it could still look like a 2D detailed picture.


 

Medium Chinese version: https://medium.com/@asiabots/creating-ai-carey-chi-d54949df0baf

Medium English version: https://medium.com/@asiabots/creating-a-i-carey-eng2-ece3e910ddba

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