A Small But Growing Startup Scene Is Exploring Uses for Digital Human Avatars

From HR practice to retail sales, these personas could bring a virtual human touch

Kyle Jackson is sitting down for a tough conversation with a seasoned employee who has ignored multiple warnings from his boss about bad office behavior. This is strike three. Indignant, the worker protests to Jackson—his numbers are strong, and he’s worked at the firm for decades. Finally, the employee sighs, and a thick silence fills the room. Then Jackson takes off the headset and his reflection from the now-darkened computer screen looks back at him. The simulation exercise is over.