We Get Real AF

Linda Ricci, TedX Speaker & Published Author: Immersive Branding, Redefining Authenticity, and the Future of Interactive Film & TV

September 22, 2020 Vanessa Alava & Sue Robinson Season 1 Episode 18
We Get Real AF
Linda Ricci, TedX Speaker & Published Author: Immersive Branding, Redefining Authenticity, and the Future of Interactive Film & TV
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We Get Real AF
Linda Ricci, TedX Speaker & Published Author: Immersive Branding, Redefining Authenticity, and the Future of Interactive Film & TV
Sep 22, 2020 Season 1 Episode 18
Vanessa Alava & Sue Robinson

Linda is a TedX Speaker, Published Author, and Immersive Tech Entrepreneur. She is the founder of Decahedralist Consulting, a boutique firm with a focus on disruptive innovation and strategic transformation in industries where emerging technologies are transforming markets. Find Linda Ricci Online: LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/lindaricci/ Twitter: https://twitter.com/Decahedralist Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/LindaRicciBlog Website: https://lindaricci.com/ and https://decahedralist.com/index.html Referenced:
Handbook of Research on the Global Impacts and Roles of Immersive Media by Jacquelyn Ford Moire and Kate McCallum: https://www.igi-global.com/book/handbook-research-global-impacts-roles/236585  Black Mirror by Charlie Brooker: https://www.netflix.com/title/70264888  IEEE – Advancing Technology for Humanity: https://www.ieee.org Lil Miquela: https://www.instagram.com/lilmiquela/?hl=en Arthur C. Clarke: https://www.clarkefoundation.org Bitmoji TV: https://www.snapchat.com/discover/Bitmoji_TV/5972203796 Second Life: https://secondlife.com Adopt A Grandparent: https://chdliving.co.uk/adopt-grandparent
RADiCAL AI Motion Capture: https://getrad.co
We Get Real AF Podcast Credits: Producers & Hosts: Vanessa Alava & Sue Robinson
Vanessa Alava
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/vanessahalava/ Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/vanessahalava/  Twitter: https://twitter.com/vanessahalava
Sue Robinson LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/sue-robinson-29025623/ Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/memyselfandfinds/ Twitter: https://twitter.com/sociallysue_
Audio Producer/Editor: Sam Mclean Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/mcleansounds/ Website: www.inphase.biz
Audio Music Track Title: Beatles Unite Artist: Rachel K. Collier YouTube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCiHnYgtOn8u9YovYplMeXcw Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/rachelkcollier/ Website: https://www.rachelkcollier.com
Intro Voice-Over Artist: Veronica Horta LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/veronicahorta/
Cover Artwork Photo Credit: https://unsplash.com/@alicemoore
We Get Real AF Podcast Online Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/wegetrealaf/ Twitter: https://twitter.com/wegetrealaf We

Support the show (https://wegetrealaf.com/how-you-can-help)

Show Notes Transcript

Linda is a TedX Speaker, Published Author, and Immersive Tech Entrepreneur. She is the founder of Decahedralist Consulting, a boutique firm with a focus on disruptive innovation and strategic transformation in industries where emerging technologies are transforming markets. Find Linda Ricci Online: LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/lindaricci/ Twitter: https://twitter.com/Decahedralist Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/LindaRicciBlog Website: https://lindaricci.com/ and https://decahedralist.com/index.html Referenced:
Handbook of Research on the Global Impacts and Roles of Immersive Media by Jacquelyn Ford Moire and Kate McCallum: https://www.igi-global.com/book/handbook-research-global-impacts-roles/236585  Black Mirror by Charlie Brooker: https://www.netflix.com/title/70264888  IEEE – Advancing Technology for Humanity: https://www.ieee.org Lil Miquela: https://www.instagram.com/lilmiquela/?hl=en Arthur C. Clarke: https://www.clarkefoundation.org Bitmoji TV: https://www.snapchat.com/discover/Bitmoji_TV/5972203796 Second Life: https://secondlife.com Adopt A Grandparent: https://chdliving.co.uk/adopt-grandparent
RADiCAL AI Motion Capture: https://getrad.co
We Get Real AF Podcast Credits: Producers & Hosts: Vanessa Alava & Sue Robinson
Vanessa Alava
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/vanessahalava/ Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/vanessahalava/  Twitter: https://twitter.com/vanessahalava
Sue Robinson LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/sue-robinson-29025623/ Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/memyselfandfinds/ Twitter: https://twitter.com/sociallysue_
Audio Producer/Editor: Sam Mclean Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/mcleansounds/ Website: www.inphase.biz
Audio Music Track Title: Beatles Unite Artist: Rachel K. Collier YouTube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCiHnYgtOn8u9YovYplMeXcw Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/rachelkcollier/ Website: https://www.rachelkcollier.com
Intro Voice-Over Artist: Veronica Horta LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/veronicahorta/
Cover Artwork Photo Credit: https://unsplash.com/@alicemoore
We Get Real AF Podcast Online Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/wegetrealaf/ Twitter: https://twitter.com/wegetrealaf We

Support the show (https://wegetrealaf.com/how-you-can-help)

Vanessa Alava  

Welcome to the we get real AF podcast I'm Vanessa Alava

 

Sue Robinson

And I'm Sue Robinson. Before we get started today we would so appreciate it if you would subscribe, rate and comment on the show. 

 

Sue Robinson  

Today we're talking about the spatial web, immersive branding and so much more with our wonderful guests Linda Ricci, Linda is a consultant and advisor with Decahedralist Consulting and a TEDx speaker on immersive tech. Welcome, Linda.

 

Vanessa Alava

Welcome! 

 

Linda Ricci 

Thank you! I'm impressed you got Decahedralist correct. Apparently, that's been difficult. 

 

Sue Robinson  

I practiced! We are so excited to have you on the show with us today. 

 

Vanessa Alava  

Linda, if you wouldn't mind explaining what immersive branding is to people who may not know what that is

 

Linda Ricci 

For me what immersive branding means is experiential branding, what does it mean to experience the brand? And what does it feel like to have a relationship with a brand that it's interactional not just the brand is fed to me. 

 

Sue Robinson  

Linda, I just watched your TED talk about immersive tech and grassroots movements. Give us a little bit of background about your journey career wise and how you got into the immersive space.

 

Linda Ricci 

I have been drawn to emerging technologies and how people use them. So it's not so much about the technology. I'm not an engineer, I don't turn it over to take it apart to see how it works. I'm more interested in how humans adopt it, and how humans play with it and how that impacts on how they interact and do things with each other. And then in turn, the technologies are developed even further. I find that fascinating. Years ago, I graduated with an MBA in a very traditional more traditional time than now. And I was lucky because I ended up at a large fortune 200 company in the in Europe, in a manufacturing company. And what they did was they noticed that this new emerging technology called digital printing was impacting on their markets. And they hired me to head up a new group that was looking at the impact that was going to have on them, their market leaders, and, and they come up with new products and new markets and all these things that they had to do to stay competitive and that kind of kicked it off. roughly the same time. I actually did write my grad school application on virtual reality and I wrote about future commute commercial uses for virtual reality. I don't remember how I knew about it back then. But I remember being completely intrigued. Because not only you know, I'm a business person, but I'm also an artist in my free time. I always have been. And I've always been interested in digital art. So the concept of being able to immerse yourself in a complete experience in a different world. And I was playing with ideas about like, how you could change gravity, and how would that affect how things work to change the laws of physics. So I've been mentally involved with VR, and now AR forever. My career is focused on helping companies in industries, the emerging tech and what the impact is, but virtual reality and augmented reality are starting to finally become real. So I have been focusing on where that's going and I think it's an amazingly creative and interesting time. It's the Wild West still. It’s like the early days of the internet where and I was there for that, too. So I'm intrigued by all the opportunities. I'm amazed at how much activity there is. And I think honestly the Coronavirus thing is going to give it a kick up its butt to in terms of adoption. 

 

Sue Robinson  

Agree. So many of us are having to make do with working virtually, and it's giving us all pause to realize what an opportunity and what a need there is for tech and for VR. 

 

Linda Ricci

Yeah.

 

Vanessa Alava  

So I've got a question, you had mentioned you really didn't know how you had heard about it. So this is what like, late 80s 

 

Linda Ricci

It was ‘89. 

 

Vanessa Alava

So VR, I'm gonna write a paper on this. I was gonna ask like what fueled that curiosity and interest obviously you said, you're an artist and the concept of being immersed in a world where you can get lost, and it's amazing, but so this is just something that you maybe potentially read about. And back in ‘89. I mean, VR was really being used for like, you know, high, highly classified government things, and NASA, right? But it wasn't a very mainstream thing. I don't even think for gaming. So I mean, it’s very intriguing to me that you were just like VR!

 

Linda Ricci 

I don't know, I, I, I have been reading science fiction since I was born. My dad had an extensive collection of mid-century science fiction books, and I started reading those things when I was probably eight or nine years old. I mean, I've always loved science fiction. And so I think the mindset has always been there, the exploration, the the immersion in something else, and then looking at, you know, science based possibilities for what the future can be. So that's why I like science fiction. I want it to be based in the laws of physics and reality. But then explore all the things that can happen. I'm very frustrated at how long it’s taken for things to actually become real. Right. You know, I've been living in the future for a long time.

 

Vanessa Alava  

That is amazing. Well Sue and I work for a company that creates VR and AR content for enterprise clients. It's been such a gaming solution for so long that now we're really starting to see amazing use cases for it in like real world adaptations. So you know, whether it be training or empathy, or, taking people places in which they can't physically go.

 

Linda Ricci 

I love it. Yeah, for the first time in history, you can actually walk in someone else's shoes, I can experience what it's like to be a man and I want to know what that's like. Because life is completely different people treat you differently, you interact with you ever different. And that counts for so many other you know, types of experiences. The opportunity to experience as someone else is it really, for training purposes, is fascinating. I would love to see a simulated experience where it's actually interactional. And you know, AI will slowly get us there, where it's its natural language, its interaction with things that can interact with you in a natural basis and there's been videos and all that, but this is the opportunity to actually do it. And I think that's fantastic. So for training purposes, fantastic empathy purposes, fantastic. Healthcare, amazing!

 

Linda Ricci 

I think it brings it brings things to life. Because I mean, we, you know, humans have evolved being experiential creatures these days. And you can mentally put yourself in somebody else's shoes or understand, but actually experiencing it is completely different. 

 

Vanessa Alava  

Something that will never get old for me is seeing somebody in a headset for the first time experiencing something like that. You can talk about it a lot. But until you're in it, you don't realize the sense of presence you have of being in that place at that time. 

 

Sue Robinson  

And how it opens up whole worlds to people that we might not ever otherwise have the opportunity to experience and that is just incredibly powerful.

 

Linda Ricci 

I think that the opportunities to connections for real people, yes, it's a digital representation, but you really feel like you're standing next to somebody, and how easily humans actually do that. We feel like we're there with this person. So the opportunity for connections like I talked about in my TEDx thing is huge. You're, you know, in people who haven't tried it to your point and haven't done it, you're like, Oh, it's digital. It's not the same as real. I've heard that so many times that I'm like, have you ever put on a headset? Because when you put it on, you get it?

 

Vanessa Alava  

Right. And it’s interesting because so many people view these types of technologies as maybe things that distance us so I love talking about how it's going to bring us together, it really can establish that connection even more that human connection, especially during times like these that we're living with now. You know, I, we also talked about how this is the year that if companies aren't already strategizing and adopting then, they're going to be way behind the curve.

 

Sue Robinson  

Right? Yeah, absolutely. I mean, I think with with what everybody's going through right now, it's a sea change in how we work and how we connect. And the realization that you can be in a virtual meeting with somebody across the world that you might not otherwise ever have the opportunity to collaborate with, is incredibly powerful. And what we need to do is leverage this time and the technology that's available to us and take it to the next level moving forward. The concept of the spatial web is something that we'd like to get into with you to help people sort of understand what the next wave of the internet is going to look like. Can you kind of talk about that and define that for us?

 

Linda Ricci 

I think the next wave of the internet, if you want to call it that is, is that right now we interact kind of unnaturally through screens and keyboards and mouse, and the next version of that is going to be talking. And it's going to be everywhere. So we're going to be swimming in it as opposed to having to go to a destination to interact with it. And that's why it's spatial. It's because it's part of your environment, you're interacting with it. So there's a lot of work being done on interfaces. That's one aspect of it, but also just naturally moving through your day and having it be part of everything you experience and not having to go to a dedicated screen to do it now is our phones or TVs or computers and those things are emerging but, it's like breathing. I heard a quote once and I love it. Technology is only technology until it becomes natural and we're swimming in it, and then it's just there. And it just natural for us. And I think, you know, if you watch the adoption of phones where nobody can let go that damn thing or be staring at it all the time, you know, that has become so natural for us, you feel kind of naked without it, but we're still interacting through that boat. So the spatial experience is going to be as we walk through our day, augmented reality is going to emerge whenever we need it on demand, when we want it, it's going to concierge and show up when we want to even though we didn't necessarily call for it. So that's one aspect of it. And then the interaction being more natural and not so much dedicated to I'm going to this now. That's for me is what spatial 3D computing means.

 

Sue Robinson  

So how will people access that technology? You want to talk a little bit about like glasses or head mounted devices? 

 

Linda Ricci 

I think the glasses will be a nice short term step if they can get it right. You're still wearing something on your face but they're still occluding your vision. I mean, this is just me, I'm an inordinately visual person. I find that distracting. But if I were walking down the street and I didn't know whether I wanted to go to that bakery, do I go left or right and I just said left or right and it gave me an arrow like that's a that's an a simpler example of how things could help. I mean, there's a lot of integration that needs to happen between well I guess our social media to one extent, but also, you know, information on location information on geography information on everything that now is currently just distant is fragmented. So Yelp, we go for recommendations. We go to Google Maps for directions, we go to our social feed for our commentary or reviews or questions. Like all these things are now fragmented, we have to go to each separately, I think the interaction will be initially glasses, be nice to have it as contact lenses, which I know there are some companies actually working on that. But as soon as it becomes seamless, is when it becomes visible. And it just becomes part of the I keep saying the water, we swim in that's what the digital is going to become. And it's there on demand. I think that's more importantly, it's on demand. And also it reaches out when it knows we need something. So anticipating and that's the AI part. It's like a digital concierge of our day. Like it knows when we want something it knows our preferences, it can manage that for us, help us so for me, that's what it will be. I'm not as far as to say chips implants, because that's still out there. But the contact lenses 

 

Vanessa Alava  

Yeah and I agree with you I mean, intuitive technology is definitely where it's at where you remove any type of barrier to entry, where it becomes very natural and it becomes a part of you. But yeah, I mean, you talk about the contact lenses and we know that that's in the works. And I when you said chips, I'm thinking of the Black Mirror like the very first Black Mirror episodes where we have chips behind our ear.

 

Linda Ricci 

I curse that show! They had some amazing people advising them, obviously, they were right on on just about everything. I mean, I personally am not happy that they took the Frankenstein approach to technology most of it is negative. And I don't think that's necessarily true. But I think they have some amazing advisors. But yeah, no everything I say sounds like it's a Black Mirror episode, which was not the case

 

Vanessa Alava  

It's funny because when we start talking about what this looks like the spatial web in the future, you know, initially, if this was you know, 15 years ago, you would think of wired technology, right? So you'd have sensors around your house or your smart devices would be connected in your house. But then again, if you leave the house, how does that go with you? So what when you get into your car and it picks up there, but you have these intermittent moments where you're you're right there has to be integration interconnectivity, with all the technology that we use seamlessly

 

Linda Ricci 

Right. And there's privacy issues with that exactly the issue and there's also more garden, I mean, just companies, how do you make money when all information is shared? I mean, the walled gardens is currently how a lot of companies make their money. And I think that's one of the barriers to VR and AR right now. Um, you know, everybody has to download a proprietary AR app for their AR experience. It doesn't make sense. Ease of adoption is what drives that and people are going to give up their privacy because they want the stuff. The ease of it.

 

Vanessa Alava  

I mean, they're already doing it in so many ways. Not, saying it’s a good thing, but I mean, we do it with our phones, we do it, because, again, it's just easy. And I, I'm like, so guilty of it. I'm like, Well, everyone else is doing it. It can't be that bad. 

 

Linda Ricici 

I know,

 

Vanessa Alava  

But we want to focus on tech for good and the technology is good. It's just humans that are behind the technology, right?

 

Linda Ricci 

It’s just a tool. Can a knife be used to put on butter on your toast or can it be used to kill somebody it's a tool.

 

Sue Robinson  

Well, and it's used in service of people. And that's what we wanted always to be. However, you know, as convenience goes up, security goes down, and is that that's a real thing that we need people to understand and to prepare for and to be vigilant about. You've spoken a couple of times about science fiction. And I know Vanessa and I have said a few times in conversations, we feel like maybe science fiction, really does sort of predict the future, and a lot of ways do you feel that way? I mean, where do you see that?

 

Linda Ricci 

I think good science fiction, looks at the data and extrapolates it using some sort of I call it vector analysis and extrapolates where it's going to be based on realistic, this is what's happening - this is happening, this is where they merge. Think Arthur C. Clarke was my favorite author. I'm old school sci fi. I thought was right on I mean, and he was an engineer and he predicted you know, everything from satellites around the US, you know, the world's the globe to you know, network of communications that is good science fiction, I think they lose me around 1973 when it becomes dystopian because I don't want to be negative I like the possibilities of it. And I understand that there's negative possibilities too but the cyberpunk stuff really kind of is so negative, a lot of it.

 

Vanessa Alava  

I think, to Sue's point, is acknowledging that we have these issues, whether it be security or whether it could be something a lot more detrimental to people's lives, etc. But to know that the issue is there, that we need people that are educated and that have careers in the future, to study those issues and to help come up with solutions to those issues.

 

Linda Ricci 

Yeah, and the I triple E (IEEE), and there's other organizations that are that are trying to, to stay in front. And I think there's plenty of activity trying to. So you know, let's stay positive about it. And also just acknowledge that the world changes, every generation is a different change. Right? So I can't keep expecting my 10 year old nephew to be as concerned about privacy as maybe I am because he's going to grow up with it. And that's just a shift in reality that's happening. And you can't you can't keep it the way it was because things change.

 

Sue Robinson  

Yeah. You know, it's interesting. My daughter who's a junior at UNC Chapel Hill, she's taking classes right now in ethics and AI, and uploading and what point does identity change in our industry telling your brain is uploaded to a digital copy of you? So the good thing is, even though some of these things sound really out there, and scary This next generation is being taught to think about it and look at that ethics and really analyze the human impact of all of that and keeping humans out in front. So I think that's that's the hopeful news in all that.

 

Linda Ricci 

Yeah. I think we just need to pay attention to it

 

Sue Robinson  

So on that note talk about virtual influencers because that's pretty interesting and pretty bizarre

 

Linda Ricci 

Changing definition of what is human. Fascinating! So we are moving from influencers being people who attract a lot of attention and move markets because they have a lot of people to follow them and they have tastemakers or they're famous or for whatever reasons to being able to control that with digital influencers. So you create a virtual person. Like Little Miquela is a famous one and there's a couple others too, and they are the ones that are you know, wearing Versace and all that influencer stuff. And I wonder if the early days, we’re still very early days of this, It's not more of a interesting gimmick, then like, we'll see, you know, the staying power, I think ultimately again as more people get involved with the spatial web and immersive experiences that are digital they can become influenced because we'll be giving digital representations of humans the same respect. And as that happens, they can become influencers. The good thing about that for brands is that they can control them. There's not going to have any like wildfire Since some paparazzi catches them doing something and that ruins your brand equity you can control them. And if you want to have a blowout in a paparazzi you know, you can manufacture that if it works for your brand, but from a brand perspective it’s interesting because you can control what that influencer is saying and doing. I think as people increasingly accept these digital representations as the face of something is going to be something that brands use to interact with and use as influencers and people will see them as legit. Lips Incorporated just launched a digital influencer division, literally, they're going to have digital influencers that you can hire as your brand. And I find that fascinating. There's an agency for digital influencers like a modeling agency.

 

Vanessa Alava  

I'm trying to wrap my brain around this. I'm thinking of it because yes, you're right, you know, I can create an avatar of myself or whatever image I want if I'm going to enter a virtual environment. These virtual influencers are a little different in the aspect that you know, a brand can create almost like a mascot if you will. I mean, I have to think of it in that way. It's a mascot for their brand and they can control it you know, as the puppeteer right? And what they what they don't do good or bad publicity. However, you want to talk about it. Publicity is publicity, right? So, do we look at it as like, no harm, no foul, it's kind of like, you know, it could be even a cartoon an animation that, you know, brand the associate themselves with and this one just happens to look like a human and act like a human.

 

Linda Ricci 

Sort of. I mean, artificial intelligence, is going to be driving some of this. So there's interaction, but I also think, as consumers have taken back a lot of power in terms of feeling like we have the right to control our relationship with that brand. So I think that the 3D stuff the immersive that the artificial humans is the next generation of that where it is literally experiencing the brand. So does this person talk the way I expect that brand to talk? Does it respond to me and interact with me in the way that I expect the brand to interact me are therefore like IBM is never gonna have a Little Miquela, right? But like a young hip brand might want somebody that can be their digital ambassador and actually talk and interact with people to me restaurant branding has been immersive branding, right like down to menus down to the color of seats in the fabric they pick like they pick the experience they have and this is sort of the digital version of that, which is how am I going to interact with this brand interaction means an artificial human. Maybe I'm a huge fan of Nike like they have or Apple they these these these mega brands and I want to hang out with my apple brand. I want to know what that feels like. And this is what the digital humans can be. They can actually be fueled by artificial touch to have natural and we're not there yet, but natural language interaction. They can be taught and learn to interact with me in a way that feels right for me and the brand. And it's a way for brands to stay relevant because the whole This is our brand and this is what we stand for. Is is being wiped out with with the interaction level of humans and Facebook and social media. And we have the power now and brands have always struggled with how do I then stay a brand? What does brand mean in this world? So I think digital humans are one aspect of that. So having them be influencers is another way of like a fandom of you know, having a relationship with this brand and actually having it be a relationship.

 

Vanessa Alava  

I love having this conversation because it challenges me to think further as well because As we talk about human connection a lot, right. I'm thinking, you know, you get a celebrity that's relatable to your brand maybe more diligent research before you commit to engaging in partnering with somebody. That person, whether it be an athlete or a movie star or a politician, whomever it may be, they've established credibility as being, you know, a human person that have like a strong following, and that's why you've chosen this person for your brand. Being a human versus a virtual influencer, I mean, does that hold more weight because of that, being a person? 

 

Linda Ricci 

I don't know, I think I think the definition of what is real is morphing, I think the lines are blurring. And I think, you know, we've increasingly and also have become kind of narcissistic. We want it the way we want it, how we want it, and we want them to reflect what we want. So, I don't know. I mean, it's an issue of trust, isn't it? As people increasingly trust interacting with digital world, they're going to increasingly be like, yeah, person, digital, whatever. 

 

Sue Robinson  

But the idea of an influencer means that they are going to have influence over somebody. And really, it's not a person. It's a brand, right? And it's so interesting to me because we talk about how important authenticity is these days and everybody wants authenticity, but there's no authenticity in creating an artificial human who truly reflects the motivations of the brand and then you couple that with the audience who's on social media, which is primarily a very young, impressionable audience, and we already hear about real influencers, young women who change the way they look, and they just have this picture perfect life that's not real. And how does that affect real young women who are following that influencer? And and I think there is cause for concern because it's a brand that's got a very specific agenda. Right. So what are your thoughts about that? 

 

Linda Ricci 

I agree, but I think that I think that people will become increasingly comfortable with seeing a digital interaction as the same as Human and that they, the things that you're saying authenticity are so have to be real, like brands still have to project authenticity even without digital avatars. I don't know if authenticity is necessarily relegated to only humans, I'm saying I think the feeling in the interaction you have with a brand is what makes it authentic. And you know, the fandom around some of the brands is huge, like an Apple. Apple fandom, like, Is there a way to create an experience in an interaction with Apple that is authentic to how the user expects them to be. And then to take it a step further, you know, with the artificial intelligence driving the interaction, and it can learn on an individual basis, what your interaction with them is what is authentic for you, it can actually learn how you want to experience that brand and within the parameters of what their brand is, it can tailor that interaction to you and remember it so that you don't have to. It's a training and learning experience. I think that authenticity is not necessarily in the delivery mechanism where the interaction, it's in the messaging that is done while you're there. So it would be really off brand for any interaction with Apple at any touch point, to have something that is wildly tastelessly, gauche and over designed, right? That would just feel completely inauthentic to its users. So that's what I'm talking about. I think it can be inter authentic, it just the interaction is a is it's an interaction versus an experience. 

 

Vanessa Alava  

You mentioned something earlier, Linda, too that I think is essential here, right? Generations experience things so differently. Yes. So next generation I'm not even talking about the people right now that are in middle school. I'm talking about the people right now that are in kindergarten and elementary school. Yeah. Those are the people that might look at this a little differently and have a different definition of authenticity because that was my question to when you jumped in I was like, how is that authentic? You know, how does having a virtual influencer catering to you specifically, and talking to me in the way that I want to be talked to and then talking to Sue and Linda the way they want to be talked to. How is that authentic? Right? But you're saying that it’s more so the messaging itself?

 

Linda Ricci 

Right. And also, I think, I think we've become very self-centered right? My little nephew when he was two, He's never had to have a TV show that wasn't scheduled at a certain time. He's never had to watch an episode he didn't want to watch because it was on at that time. He's never had to not have something on demand. So that egocentricity and I've been watching to see how that goes. So we have a generation of that, right. He’s now 10 and I'm watching to see like, his lack of patience with not having something the way he wants it. So is you know, authenticity to me is quite different than it'll be hip for him because for him authentic will be on his terms. Right. And and he's never had to compromise. 

 

Sue Robinson  

So with brands, targeting messages exactly to you, does that make that self-centeredness even greater?

 

Linda Ricci 

Micro targeting has been, you know the dream for so long. And it's gone from mass marketing to segment marketing to, you know, interaction, with digital and I think you know, the natural progression is you get what you want. I think bitmoji TV is perfect so they're in Japanese like Japanese anime. They're hilarious. And your avatar that you created on snap is in the movie. So you're watching yourself interacting with this Japanese anime in my car. 

 

Vanessa Alava 

I have never heard of that 

 

Linda Ricci

But I think it's hysterical. And it's really the first time I watched my little, you know, avatar, and she's in there interacting in Japanese with this guy and they're fighting aliens together but I mean it caters perfectly to that trend, it's more about us than it's ever been. And we haven't had to choose between us and something else. And so you can actually watch yourself in TV, I totally think that this is going to be the future of entertainment. Or you can pick you don't like George Clooney, you can get you know, Jason Momoa you could like put him in the, in the movie instead, you know, between photogrammetry where they can, you know, digitize themselves, and it put them right in the movies. And I've seen companies that are actually working on stuff like that. So I know it exists. But I mean, being able to select your own experience is what's going to drive all this, drive adoption for it, and drive success of it and it will quintessentially change how so many industries work.

 

Vanessa Alava  

So I've got a question with that whole Hollywood entertainment aspect of it with the deep fakes situation. 

 

Linda Ricci 

Oh my yeah

 

Vanessa Alava

I've saw an app the other day and I sent it to Sue, I’m like it's happening. Now where you can actually like become basically you're a celebrity so it's a mix of your face and whatever celebrity you want. So are you saying to that at some point, we're gonna be able to say, you know, George Clooney forget that I want to see myself with pieces of that celebrities or whatever and have your deep fake in the movie.

 

Linda Ricci 

So I already saw that. I saw a demo, but it is exactly that it is it is immediate motion capture. Well, they, you and then through AI they have like Singing in the Rain is the demo I saw and they will on the fly, match you your avatar to the motion in in that they've extrapolated 3D motion from 2D screen and literally have your avatar dancing along to its, its matching motion. Right. And, and the deep fake but I mean, you know, that was a quick demo. Radical is the name of the company. And, and I was blown away because I mean, this is near instant, real time. You know, swapping out info that you don't like. And then the next step to that is why use a live actor who ages when you can create a an avatar actor, just like a digital influencer and use them wherever you want. I mean, if I were an actor, I'd be having my appearance digitized and make sure I had the rights to that because all of this is you know, we're seeing that this is happening. So again, part of the on demand world where you can do whatever you want.

 

Sue Robinson  

This is so fascinating because I'm saying how our technology really is just a mirror, maybe a black mirror, I don't know, but it how it reflects us because on the one hand, you have VR that can take you to a Syrian refugee camp, and that can really improve your empathy and give you empathy that you might never wise otherwise have had. On the other hand, we're creating this information ecosystem that reflects our preferences, what we want to see what we want to hear and how we want to consume it, which is the opposite of empathy. And so how do you reconcile those two? How will tech reconcile it or do we just going to sort of muddle through?

 

Linda Ricci 

Oh man. agree with you. And I think all technology is only adopted because it resonates with deeply with what it is to be human right? I mean, it our need to communicate our need to connect all of that is primal, and it drives everything. Um, you know, it comes down to I hate to save money. I mean, a lot of companies These things to do these things, development is expensive. So unfortunately, a lot of the companies that have the money to do things are going to be the ones that are developing stuff, and they're going to own it. And and I don't know if there's much we can do about that. I don't know, I don't want to sound negative, but the future is a little self-centered and a little data heavy and not owning our own data. 

 

Sue Robinson  

Yeah. And I think it's gonna be really important for us. And this is another thing we can talk about to program our AI in such a way that it reflects diversity and reflects all different kinds of people. And that's gonna be key, don't you think? 

 

Linda Ricci 

Hard. I don't, I can't. I can play an AI practitioner on TV, but I'm not really one. So I can't answer that question with you know, 100% accuracy, perhaps. I think, from the bit I know about AI training, it takes a enormous amount of data of standardizing that data so that it is understood as this huge challenge. I think AI is, is fascinating and it's a learning technology. It's the the dream, and it's the scary parts of the future. And yeah, AI is, it'd be nice to reflect diversity. I mean it that's what it is. It's just, it's the data that goes into the data that comes out and also the learners that gets hurt. On the other hand, I find it fascinating that we had social media when, you know, when the internet and social media first launched, we were all like, oh, the dream of humankind to connect, we're gonna learn so much. And then what did it degrade into everybody hurling insults at each other constantly, and even more tribalism. So, you know, that's who we are as humans. I mean, there's good and there's bad but you know, Yeah, I would love to see a AI reflect the diversity of learning. 

 

Vanessa Alava  

Definitely. 

 

Sue Robinson  

Well, Linda, is there anything else that you want to like take a deeper dive on that we haven’t covered already? 

 

Linda Ricci 

I find it fascinating that 10-15 years ago when I when Second Life was more popular, I was expecting everybody to go in there and develop really wild creative alternatives, you know, avatar, like planets. There's all kinds of really creative, interesting things. And what I was astonished by, is it most experiences I saw were they made a living room with a fireplace, two couches and a Picasso. I was astonished at how humans when faced with the opportunity to create anything they wanted, defaulted to the what they knew. And I am watching to see how that manifests itself with virtual reality because we again have the opportunity to build complete new, creative, different exploratory things. And you know your home in Oculus when you when you arrive, it's a fireplace, your couches and I'm astonished at the need to recreate the real instead of exploring and adventuring more. That's something I've been watching for a long time. I find that amazing.

 

Sue Robinson  

I wonder if it's because people want to feel comfortable. I mean, what do you think that is? Do you think it's a sense of safety or the familiar is comfortable and that's what we default to?

 

Linda Ricci 

I don't know. The Second Life thing I thought was they really are creating a second life it’s just a better version of what they got. But I, I don't know. I mean for me VR because I've started learning how to actually make VR as an artist now and having fun with that. Like I want to create really exploratory, odd, weird out there things. For me it's an opportunity to be exploratory for a lot of people's actually recreating a safe space, I guess. 

 

Vanessa Alava  

I think comfort comes to mind in my head, like, feeling comfortable in the space. And maybe, you know, depending on how long they're in the environment, they start out that way and then they become more creative.

 

Linda Ricci 

I'm hoping because it's an it's a tool for us to become, to be bigger humans, we can do more. I didn't see as much of that in Second Life as I would have liked to. And that is the precursor to VR. 

 

Sue Robinson  

That's fascinating. Well you have an artist's brain too, and I think that we've spoken with several women who have that sort of right brain creativity. I think that's definitely more the way I'm wired. I'm much more right brain and left brain. I don't know, you may feel that way too. But I think that might play into it as well. You know, when you you look at something either in a really analytical way, or you see the potential and the possibilities, but I'm with you. I think it's awesome to be able to do something you can't do in the real world.

 

Vanessa Alava  

yeah, well, and I'm thinking of it now, too, from a content creators viewpoint, potentially, if I'm creating content, let's say for an enterprise client, and I want it to seem like a relatable real situation, that you want it to look like every day, right? You want it to look like your natural environment? And then I feel like gaming because it's more entertainment base lends itself more to that creativity and the different worlds and you know, the possibilities are kind of endless in that regard. But yeah, it'll be interesting to see how the two meet in the middle.

 

Sue Robinson  

Okay, we ready for our lightning round.

 

Linda Ricci 

I hope so.

 

Sue Robinson  

Okay, so these are just fun questions to get us to know you a little bit more as a person. The first one is finish this sentence women are

 

Linda Ricci 

Amazing. 

 

Vanessa Alava  

What are three pieces of advice you'd give your younger self?

 

Linda Ricci 

it took me an inordinately long time to get over what I thought I should do versus what I really liked. Hmm. So, ignore your basic training. I got into MIT. I didn't go that stupid. I've kicked myself ever since then. And stop analyzing. Just do more stuff. I've rationalized myself into more situations that ended up not being right where my gut was saying, This is wrong. And I was like, No, but it's the right thing to do. So always working on listening to my gut. 

 

Sue Robinson  

What is your current favorite application of tech for good?

 

Linda Ricci 

I love the empathy ones that we talked about in the beginning. I love the idea of being able to experience life as somebody else. So the Unity one, that won was the runner up in their unity for empathy contest, I believe it was called a were you and experience what it's like to be a transgender person. I find that fascinating. Um, you know, those kinds of things are what appealed to me personally, what is it like to be somebody else I find amazing. So those are my favorites. 

 

Vanessa Alava  

What issue do you most hope technology will help resolve in the future?

 

Linda Ricci 

Loneliness. I just volunteered to adopt a grandparent because there's all these older people who are stuck in their homes now and have nobody to talk to So they have a volunteer situation a charity in England set it up where you can regularly talk to a grandparent, somebody’s parent. But I hope I find it so sad that so many people end up their older years lonely and desperately lonely. And I love the idea that technology can connect us. That using virtual technology, we can connect to people across the world, and people need never be lonely again. 

 

Sue Robinson  54:54

What inspires you

 

Linda Ricci 54:59

Oh, Obviously out there creativity. I like that there's so much activity around empathy and connecting in the VR space. I don't know if I would have predicted that as a left brain consultant back when, when it goes was starting out that there'd be so much of that, and there is. So I think it's great. There's so much going on in the VR for good space. Mm hmm. And that's very heartening to see. Because VR, it's not easy to make. So I think that's great.

 

Vanessa Alava  

What do you wish to learn more about,

 

Linda Ricci 

Personally, I'd love to learn how to make VR. From a modelers point of view. I've been in CAD for years. So just taking my 3d skills and doing some of that creative exploration I was talking about. actually turning into a VR experience. What would I learn professionally, I would love to get even more involved with clients and helping them explore what both AR and VR can do for them. AR is more business focus for the most part. But I think that companies are still very nervous. I would love to be more impactful on that level with companies and say, here's the opportunities here things, here's where you can use it. Here's where I can give you some ROI. There's not a lot of ROI stuff in the market yet. So that's a barrier. But like, there's so many things these technologies can do. And the companies are still not a lot of them are still not of thinking about it.

 

Sue Robinson  

Well, I think it goes back to what we were saying earlier. People defaulting

 

Linda Ricci 

Yeah, to what they know. Right. Absolutely. Yeah, absolutely.

 

Vanessa Alava  

It’s interesting because we talk about human connection so much, and I feel so many brands are doing it really well, where they're connecting with their audience where they're being really authentic, their engagement rates are up, but there are some corporate you know, fortune 500 companies that just do not get It yet and they are stuck in the past with just messaging and very rigid communication strategies that are that it really is mind boggling to me when they don't think outside the box.

 

Linda Ricci 

I get the fear, but you would hope that they could use some of that time they're having at home to look at some new stuff that's out there and new ways to do things.

 

Sue Robinson  

Okay, Linda described the future in one word.

 

Linda Ricci 

The future is big, connected.

 

Vanessa Alava  

Fill in the blank, blank. blank. Like a girl,

 

Linda Ricci 

Think. When I was growing up, I heard a lot of think like a man. Be irrational. I think that's the biggest load of uuugh ever. I think women are smart and creative and hardworking and have to work a lot harder and a lot of times. So I think think like a woman should be a phrase.

 

Vanessa Alava  

Linda, please share with us where people can find you? And, for those who don't know, Linda co-authored a book that has been published, it's called the Handbook of Research on the Global Impact of Immersive Media.

 

Linda Ricci 

We just kicked off and it is on IGI Publishing's website. It is an amazing book. And it is curated by an old timer in the industry, who's an amazing woman, Jackie Morie. She really gathered the best group of people to come up with all all aspects of it. I was you know, more of the branding business side. There's people talking about the creative side. And there's people talking about impact. I mean, it's amazing group of people.

 

Sue Robinson  

It is an amazing Yeah, collaboration of so many different perspectives on this stuff

 

Linda Ricci 

Yeah, that's what the intent was. It's quite a read.

 

Vanessa Alava  

Well, congratulations to you on that honor. Where can people find you online?

 

Linda Ricci 

Linda Ricci dot comm L-I-N-D-A  R-I-C-C-I I dot com and then my company page is Decahederalist, deca-hydral like as in many sided – ist  like mentalist, dot com. I have a consulting firm where I help companies navigate emerging technologies, what to do as a result. So that's that but Linda Ricci is more my blog where I post what I'm doing. 

 

Vanessa Alava  

And then you're available on the social channels as well. LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram.

 

Linda Ricci 

Yeah, I'm on all of those: Dechaderalist or Linda Ricci' on LinkedIn and on Twitter. I have a Dechadralist blog page on facebook. 

 

 

 

Vanessa Alava  

Fantastic. Linda, this has been so insightful. You've been awesome. Thank you so much for joining us today. We had such a great conversation.

 

Linda Ricci 

Thank you.

 

Sue Robinson  

And I think you gave us a lot to think about. I hope that you'll come back on our show again, because I think we can take a lot more deep dives. 

 

Vanessa Alava

Yes, we can!

 

Linda Ricci 

It's such an interesting subject and there's so many things to talk about. I agree with you, but thank you for having me. This has been really fun.