Westside actress Elizabeth Dowden is about to become a household name in an unusual way.
The young actress, who has also appeared in The Hugh Hefner Story and the soon to be released second series of Roman Empire has been signed to become a face behind a digital human for Soul Machines, a ground-breaking, artificial intelligence (AI) company.
This week she started the process of becoming a digital human at the company’s Auckland office. Soul Machines is run by businessman Greg Cross and AI engineer, Mark Sagar, best known for his ability to create lifelike animations, winning Oscars for his technical efforts on movies Avatar and King Kong. Together they have broken major international ground, creating life-like, emotionally-responsive “Digital Humans” with personality and character that allow machines to talk to people face to face.
The company’s talented group of AI researchers, neuroscientists, psychologists and artists will begin to collect visuals and details of Dowden’s mannerisms and responses and begin creating the digital version of herself in the next few weeks. Digital Elizabeth will learn the real version’s personality, manner, behaviour and reactions, downloading it all into her virtual system — a digital brain built to work just like the real thing.
“We’re developing a diverse range of Digital Humans, and Elizabeth will help with this,” says Cross.
“Elizabeth has an international look and is very personable, so we expect the virtual version of her will relate well to a broad range of industries.”
Soul Machine is already working with companies such as Daimler Financial Services and UK bank NatWest to create emotionally intelligent Digital Humans for their customer services experiences. Dowden is one of the first people they will turn virtual. Digital Elizabeth will then become part of a database of Digital Humans that clients around the globe will choose from. “This is an amazing project to be part of,” Dowden tells Spy. “I’m more than a little intrigued to see what the digital version turns out like, it’s a fascinating process to see it all come together. The possibilities with the technology is endless and really exciting to be involved in.”
It’s a big year for Dowden, who, along with this project, last week wrapped filming on the fourth series of Westside, where she plays Lefty’s (Dan Musgrove,) new girlfriend Theresa. Dowden’s character is much bigger this season and gets heavily involved in the West family’s shenanigans.
Once she completes her work with Soul Machines, Dowden will be jetting back to LA to reunite with American beau, Matt Felker, who is also an actor and model.
Westside wrapped filming last week and celebrated in style at the Oakroom in the central city. The series will screen on Three later in the year.