January 8, 2018

RIP emojis. The future of communication.

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A few months ago, singing cats, unicorns, and turds filled our social feeds: Apple had launched the iPhone X, the TrueDepth camera, and Animoji. The future had arrived.

These animated characters is a preview of our immersive avatar future, an evolution of digital self-expression and communication. The OASIS isn’t far away. 😉

In the early days of the internet, online communities were text-based. We hung out on bulletin boards, IRC channels, and on AIM (RIP). As broadband and smartphones became more accessible, that’s dramatically changed.

Existing platforms, like Twitter and Messenger, adopted photos, GIFs, and stickers. Newer entrants like Instagram and Snapchat flourished as visual mediums, eventually introducing face filters, inspiring a waves of rainbow throw-up around the world. 🌈

The next evolution of communication will be driven by expressions, mirroring the fidelity of IRL interactions, without the anxiety and privacy concerns inherent with traditional video communication. All of the major players are weighing in: Apple’s ARKit, Google’s ARCore, Facebook’s AR Studio, and Snap’s recently announced Lens Studio.

In the meantime, here are a few fun avatar apps to try:

💃 Gabsee: Put your 3D avatar in the real world
📺 Toonstar: Host a TV show with a cartoon (yes, this is weird)
😮 Mirror AI: Turn your selfie into an emoji (backed by YC)
🗞 Genies: Create a next gen bitmoji that reacts to the news
🎤 MyIdol: This is just creepy and awesome

Explore more fun apps in this collection and feel free to share your avatar creation with me on Twitter. 😸

More Writing by Ryan