Zoom CEO Wants to Use AI to Create Digital Clones That Can Attend Meetings for You

Eric Yuan is working on "digital-twin technology" which could make attending meetings and answering emails a thing of the past

<p>Steve Granitz/FilmMagic</p> Eric Yuan

Steve Granitz/FilmMagic

Eric Yuan

Endless meetings, overwhelming email inboxes and other cumbersome work-related issues could be a thing of the past if the CEO of Zoom has his way.

Eric Yuan and his team at the cloud-based video conferencing platform are working on “digital-twin technology,” which would allow workers to clone themselves and have those avatars attend meetings and other time-consuming aspects of work life.

“I can send a digital version of myself to join so I can go to the beach,” Yuan, 54, told The Verge.

Implementing the new technology, however, all depends on the advances of AI, the CEO told the magazine.

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“Today we all spend a lot of time either making phone calls, joining meetings, sending emails, deleting some spam emails, and replying to some text messages, still very busy,” Yuan said. “How [do we] leverage AI, how do we leverage Zoom Workplace, to fully automate that kind of work? That’s something that is very important for us.”

He added, “You do not need to spend so much time [in meetings]. You do not have to have five or six Zoom calls every day. You can leverage the AI to do that.”

A representative with Zoom did not immediately respond to PEOPLE’s request for comment.

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Yuan allowed that the “boring” parts of corporate jobs could be ceded and that the new initiative could be revolutionary to work-life balance.

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“Why not spend more time with your family? Why not focus on some more creative things, giving you back your time, giving back to the community and society to help others, right?” he said.

As for a timeline, Yuan said it all depends on the progress that AI makes.

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“I think for now, the number one thing is AI is not there yet, and that still will take some time,” he told the outlet. “Let’s assume, fast-forward five or six years, that AI is ready. AI probably can help for maybe 90 percent of the work, but in terms of real-time interaction, today, you and I are talking online."

He added, “So, I can send my digital version — you can send your digital version."

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But the CEO noted there is one thing AI can't replace in the workplace: connecting with people face-to-face.

"If I stop by your office, let’s say I give you a hug, you shake my hand, right? I think AI cannot replace that," he continued. "We still need to have in-person interaction. That is very important. Say you and I are sitting together in a local Starbucks, and we are having a very intimate conversation — AI cannot do that, either.”

However, Yuan added: “I think in a few years, we’ll get there, but we’re just at the beginning.”

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