Artificial Intelligence Startup Oben Debuts "Personal" AI Consumer App

Pasadena-based artificial intelligence tech startup Oben is about to roll out its first product, PAI (Personal AI), a consumer app designed to let users create an AI-driven avatar with their own look and voice.

Its underlying AI technology is already getting some select professional use. Overall, Oben's team believes AI can have a wide range of uses, such as in virtual and augmented reality, gaming, content creation and retail.

With PAI, users essentially "teach" the app about themselves. "You take a selfie, and a visual avatar is ready in the app," Oben CEO and co-founder Nikhil Jain explained, adding that users can then customize their looks. Plus, simply by speaking a few sentences, users can teach their avatars to talk or sing. These features can be used on social media and the like.

"We believe that every person will have their own personal AI and it should be really easy to use," Jain predicted.

The technology is already in use at Shanghai's K11 Art Mall, a museum/retail space. Bearing the likeness and voice of K11's founder, entrepreneur Adrian Cheng, the "AI concierge" guides visitors through K11 Art Museum's exhibit featuring works from ceramic artist Betty Woodman and painter Zhao Yang. (Cheng is also an Oben investor.)

Oben is also working to produce AI-driven avatars of several celebrities that would interact with fans.