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Apple’s Vision Pro: A Haunting FaceTime Experience

Apple’s WWDC 2023: An Exciting Unveiling Overshadowed by the Haunting FaceTime Feature

Apple’s annual Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) brought forth a flurry of exciting announcements, among which the Apple Vision Pro AR headset stood out as a technological marvel. However, one aspect of the headset’s functionality raised concerns and left a haunting impression: the AI-generated FaceTime avatars.

The Vision Pro’s outward-facing cameras necessitate a unique approach to video calls, as the user’s face is not visible to the call recipient. To address this, Apple introduced a feature that leverages AI to create a 3D recreation of the user’s head and animate it in real-time.

This approach, while technically impressive, raises several issues. Firstly, it replaces the genuine connection of seeing the actual person’s face with an artificial representation. The uncanny valley effect becomes apparent, as the AI-generated avatar’s movements and lip-syncing often appear robotic and unnatural.

Moreover, the data privacy implications of this technology are concerning. Apple would be required to scan and store users’ virtual likenesses, raising questions about the security of these biometrics. The prospect of having a deepfake face saved on an expensive device that could be easily stolen is unsettling.

The necessity of this feature is also questionable, given that the Vision Pro is designed to work seamlessly with iPhones and MacBooks, both of which have front-facing cameras. The convenience of using a headset for video calls seems limited when compared to the more straightforward option of using a smartphone or laptop.

The FaceTime demonstration during the WWDC livestream further highlighted the shortcomings of this feature. The avatar’s movements and expressions appeared unnatural, and the lip-syncing was noticeably delayed. The overall effect was more unsettling than impressive.

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In conclusion, while the Apple Vision Pro boasts impressive technological capabilities, the AI-generated FaceTime avatars leave a haunting impression. The uncanny valley effect, data privacy concerns, and the questionable necessity of this feature detract from the overall excitement surrounding the headset. Until these issues are adequately addressed, the FaceTime feature on the Vision Pro remains a major turnoff.