NVIDIA Dazzles Audience with Virtual CEO

How do you impress an audience of your peers when it comes to introducing new technology at a conference? By doing so by using that technology to pull a fast one on them. That’s what happened in April 2021 when Graphic Processing Unit (GPU) manufacturer NVIDIA hosted the company’s annual GPU Technology Conference (GTC). A big part of the presentation was done by NVIDIA CEO Jensen Huang, who introduced the company’s new Omniverse offering, an open platform that can be used for virtual collaboration and real-time simulations.

CEO or CGI?

During part of his presentation, Huang was typing up the new Omniverse while standing in his own kitchen behind a granite counter with standard kitchenware behind him explaining the company’s new technology. Just as he’s reaching a critical point, however, the kitchen suddenly turns white and slides away,leaving Huang alone in an empty template of space standing alongside the company’s DGX Station A100, a supercomputer workstation. Seeing the CEO talking to them from a virtual reality space was just one trick though; turns out even Huang wasn’t really there, he was a 14-second-long Artificial Intelligence (AI) construct that shows just how impressive the new digital reality can be. 

How it Works

In the leadup to the conference, NVIDIA decided to push things to the limit and have a digital version of Huang appear. They made this happen inside a shared virtual world using graphics, deep machine learning, and the power of their own supercomputer. The company scanned Hung’s face and body using a host of DSLR cameras, and trained its AI to replicate his gestures and expressions. The result was a stunning recreation of the CEO which fooled the thousands of onlookers in attendance.

“We built Omniverse first and foremost for ourselves here at NVIDIA,” added Rev Lebaredian, Vice President of Omniverse Engineering and Simulation at NVIDIA. “We started Omniverse with the idea of connecting existing tools that do 3D together for what we are now calling the metaverse. If we do this right, we’ll be working in Omniverse 20 years from now.”Omniverse has the power to engineer, design, and create visual workflows using a multitude of tools and combining projects in a virtual workspace that can be shared across the office or across the world. The collaboration can take place between users and the applications themselves, and has true, real-time tracing and path tracing. The graphics are consistently accurate and photorealistic without the need to repeatedly render things on screen.“The demo is the epitome of what GTC represents: It combined the work of NVIDIA’s deep learning and graphics research teams with several engineering teams and the company’s incredible in-house creative team,” said the company in the blog post. “Digital Jensen was then brought into a replica of his kitchen that was deconstructed to reveal the holodeck within Omniverse, surprising the audience and making them question how much of the keynote was real, or rendered.”

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