JD.com, one of China’s leading e-commerce companies, has been at the forefront of developing and integrating digital human technology into its operations. Over the past few years, the company has made significant advancements in leveraging artificial intelligence (AI) to create realistic and interactive virtual entities for various business applications.
Early Exploration in AI and Foundational Work
The origins of JD.com’s digital human endeavors can be traced back to early investments in AI research and development under the leadership of Dr. Xiaodong He. Joining the company in 2018 with extensive expertise in natural language processing and deep learning, Dr. He provided the strategic direction and technological capabilities to set the groundwork for digital human technology at JD.com.
Emergence of Digital Humans and Initial Applications
JD.com’s first prominent foray into digital humans came in 2020 during their high-profile 618 campaign event for the company’s 20th anniversary. The event featured multiple AI-powered virtual hosts interacting with viewers and even showcasing products. This reflected a strategic push towards integrating their maturing digital human technology for enhancing customer engagement.
Another campaign, the “Free Digital Human Live Streaming Room,” underlined JD.com’s intent on making this technology more widely accessible. The company offered custom digital avatars to participating merchants to boost interactivity and conversions in live streams. Concurrently, JD Cloud launched the Yanxi Virtual Anchor product, an affordable digital host solution equipping businesses with automated product showcases and buyer interactions.
Expanded Business Applications
Starting in 2021, JD.com greatly expanded the application of digital humans, implementing them not just in live streaming but also areas like customer service, marketing, purchase assistance and more. The interactive and informative performance of their Yanxi virtual anchor during 618 campaigns highlights the technology’s appeal for boosting engagement.
JD.com also tapped advanced AI for natural language capabilities so digital entities could address buyer queries, provide consultations and resolve issues, enhancing overall customer experience. The integration of digital humans in multiple facets, whether assisting purchases or after-sales support, underscored their vision of transforming consumer interactions.
Ongoing Innovation and Future Implications
Recent advancements by JD.com in 2022 include further improvements to their digital humans’ interactive capabilities, text styles and adaptive live streaming skills. With exponential progress in underlying AI, JD.com aims to create digital entities that can behave and respond much like real humans.
As the metaverse gains traction, digital humans hold immense potential for unlocking immersive, interactive and innovative shopping environments. By already implementing digital solutions at scale, JD.com has established itself as an e-commerce leader poised to drive greater innovation at the intersection of technology and consumer experience.
In summary, JD.com’s pioneering work in digital humans has progressed from foundational research to widespread business integration within a few years. With AI expertise from leaders like Dr. Xiaodong He, JD.com has reached significant milestones, from launching interactively shoppable live streams to augmenting customer service with virtual assistants. As the technology advances, JD.com’s strategic embrace of digital humans exemplifies how e-commerce players can tap AI to transform not just marketing tactics but also the consumer experience.