Once relegated to the children’s market, virtual characters are entering the mainstream in China. Fictional as these digitally rendered avatars may be, they hold real jobs, from pop star to influencer, to even news anchor. And they’re becoming increasingly interactive and humanlike, thanks to improvements in technologies such as AI, motion capture, and virtual reality (VR). Recent advancements in augmented reality (AR), in particular, have enabled virtual avatars to step out of social media and make live appearances alongside flesh-and-blood celebrities.
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