- Aiding Video-Call Fatigue: Among remote workers, video-call fatigue is rising. In response, Microsoft has launched animated digital avatars that offer visually engaging stand-ins for video-call participants. According to Microsoft, only 30% of hybrid meetings are conducted with cameras on, even though video usage encourages meeting participation (Microsoft, 2023). These avatars provide employees with a camera break while still allowing for more engagement and effective collaboration.
Similarly, Apple’s newest operating system adds Reactions to video calls. The feature enables users to integrate effects, such as confetti, balloons and hearts, into their meetings – a strategy to express themselves without needing to speak. Reactions can be triggered manually or by physical gestures (such as a thumbs up). The application works with Apple’s FaceTime and American video-call platform Zoom.
- Prototyping Tech-Enabled Charisma: Alongside the rise of artificial-intelligence-(AI)-fuelled social media platforms (see Digi-Dating Refresh in Rewiring Pleasure), emerging tools are plugging AI into real-time interactions. In the US, Stanford University student Bryan Chiang built an AI-equipped pair of glasses, dubbed RizzGPT. These combine ChatGPT with an augmented-reality monocle by Brilliant Labs to listen to the wearer’s conversation and propose appropriate responses. It’s positioned as a tool to mitigate stressful interactions for neurodivergent individuals, or those with social anxiety – especially useful as people rehabituate themselves to consistent in-office socialisation.
For more on workplace communication, see The Brief.