The advent of digital humans, also known as virtual humans, represents a transformative development in the travel, tourism, and cultural industries of China. These digital entities, powered by sophisticated artificial intelligence (AI) and computer graphics, are increasingly becoming integral components of cultural and tourism experiences in the country. This essay delves into the various applications of digital humans within these sectors, elucidating their roles, impacts, and potential future implications.
Kunlongxi: A Cultural Ambassador
One notable example is Kunlongxi, meticulously created by Xinjiang Ting Guangtong Digital Technology Co. Ltd. After nearly two years of production, Kunlongxi is slated to make a significant impact in the cultural and tourism industry of the Xinjiang autonomous region. This digital human embodies the cultural essence of the region, potentially serving as a bridge between the rich heritage of Xinjiang and visitors from across the globe.
Transforming Museum Experiences
Museums in China have started to embrace digital humans to revolutionize visitor experiences. The National Museum of China, in collaboration with AI companies like Baidu and Tencent, has introduced digital humans as tour guides. These virtual guides, equipped with mixed reality technology, narrate stories from China’s history, enhancing the educational and immersive experience for visitors. The use of digital humans in museums not only offers an interactive way of learning about historical artifacts and events but also adds a novel dimension to museum visits.
Preserving Cultural Heritage
In the realm of cultural preservation, digital humans are playing a pivotal role. The “SSSR (Living Heritage)” project from Shenzhen University stands as a testament to this. The project utilizes advanced techniques, including 3D modeling and texture mapping, to preserve and revitalize intangible cultural heritage. This initiative demonstrates how digital humans can serve as custodians of cultural narratives, ensuring their longevity and accessibility for future generations.
Spotlight at Cultural Fairs
The usage of digital humans was prominently featured at the 2023 China (Nanjing) Cultural and Technological Integration Fair. This event underscored the growing interplay between the metaverse, cultural digitization, and digital humans. Similarly, the 18th China (Shenzhen) International Cultural Industry Expo showcased new technologies, including digital humans, highlighting their potential in creating new fashions in mass tourism and smart tourism.
Virtual Influencers and Tourism
Virtual influencers, such as those provided by iMaker, exemplify the commercial application of digital humans. These entities could be leveraged in travel and tourism for marketing campaigns, representing a novel approach to engaging prospective tourists and offering them a unique insight into destinations and cultural experiences.
Cuixiaopan and Cultural Tourism
Cuixiaopan, developed using deep neural network technology, illustrates the versatility of digital avatars in cultural tourism. By creating anthropomorphic identities, these digital entities can communicate in a human-like manner, making them ideal for interactive cultural and tourism experiences.
Beijing’s International Service Trade Fair
At Beijing’s International Service Trade Fair in 2023, digital humans took center stage, showcasing their growing prominence in the service industry. Xiangxin Technology’s AvatarX platform, which allows users to generate and customize 3D digital human images, is a prime example of how these technologies can be applied in various facets of cultural engagement and tourism.
The integration of digital humans in China’s travel, tourism, and cultural industries is not just a technological marvel but a testament to the country’s commitment to innovation. These digital entities are redefining interactions, preserving heritage, and enhancing experiences in ways previously unimagined. As technology continues to evolve, the scope and impact of digital humans are poised to expand, further solidifying their role as an indispensable element in these dynamic industries.