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Who thinks AI avatars could one day replace people in meetings?

Answer: The founder of Zoom.

A robot sitting in an office working on a computer surrounded by humans also working.
Zoom CEO and founder Eric Yuan thinks we’re not that far away from a reality where we no longer have to attend virtual meetings. In an interview with The Verge, Yuan speculated that we’ll be able to send artificial intelligence systems in our place before too long.

In Yuan’s vision, “five or six years” from now we may have developed AI systems that are advanced enough to take our places. He suggests that each person could have their own large language model (LLM), the technology behind today’s generative AI systems like ChatGPT, that has been trained on their individual behavior and speech patterns. Then, when someone wants to meet online, “I can send my digital version, you can send your digital version.”

So what would we be able to do with all that extra time we no longer need to spend in meetings. Yuan’s hope is that it won’t be used for work: “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. Why not spend more time with your family?”