‘Virtual Influencer‘ for the Olympic Winter Games Beijing 2020 Unveiled by Alibaba

The Worldwide TOP Partner of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), Alibaba Group, has unveiled its brand-new virtual influencer for the Olympic Winter Games Beijing 2022.

Dong Dong is developed by Alibaba DAMO Academy, Alibaba Group’s global research initiative with the aim of bringing the possibilities of cloud-based innovation closer to consumers.

The virtural influencer was created to be a passionate, outspoken Beijing-born 22-year-old girl who loves winter sports.
To better connect with Olympic fans, especially the younger, tech-savvy generation, Dong Dong is known for her authentic human-like features, sparkling personality, as well as her specialty to interact with audiences in an engaging manner.

“Our ambition is to use cloud technology to give the Olympic Winter Games a digital uplift and to deliver Olympic Winter Games experiences relating to cloud and e-commerce platform services to fans in a creative way. That’s why we developed Dong Dong, with the hope that the cloud-based virtual influencer can create better engagement with the younger, digital natives in an
exciting and natural way,” said Xiaolong Li, Leader of Alibaba Virtual Human & Intelligent Customer Service.

To realise Dong Dong’s dynamic personality, human-like glamour and natural voice, Alibaba built a special cloud-based AI model, which uses Text to Speech to synthesise human voices and leverages 3D-driven technology to create various realistic facial expressions and natural body movements. Powered by cloud computing and AI technologies, Dong Dong can look, speak and act like a young girl with a lively personality. Meanwhile, Alibaba’s multimodal algorithms, which leverage Natural Language Processing (NLP), Emotional Speech Synthesis and computer vision on the cloud, have been used to make Dong Dong ‘smart’ enough to take
part in human-like dialogues naturally, with her scripts entirely generated by cloud technologies.

“In the future, we will push technology boundaries even further to create an enthralling mixed reality. Digital personas or virtual influencers will find new ways to engage with their audience through immersive experiences or a metaverse-style setting, whether during large-scale, global sports events like the Olympic Games, virtual conferences or 3D exhibition tours. In addition,
they can also be very helpful with their practical capability as diligent, smart and efficient assistants to the reporters,” Li added.

“Through our series of digital technologies, we want to bring to sports fans a unique experience – as interactive, engaging and personalised as possible – so they can join in the excitement for Beijing 2022,” said Chris Tung, Chief Marketing Officer at Alibaba Group. “As we continue to innovate and create new formats of engagement, we hope to apply these technologies to other global sports games or events in the future, so consumers across the globe can benefit from these cloud-based innovations.”

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