Videoconferences have frequently become the standard communication tool during the coronavirus pandemic. Not only are a growing number of people working from home (at least temporarily), but companies are also making efforts to reduce business travel for environmental and economic reasons. Intensive online exchange is made difficult by unstable Internet connections, though primarily it is the inability of participants to look each other in the eye during dialogue that makes things harder, despite being able to see each other. The simple reason for this is that users usually look to the centre of their screen and not at the camera nestled against the screen’s edge.
AI start-up Casablanca wishes to solve this problem by using software to shift the camera’s perspective to behind each conversation partner’s eyes, which is planned to work regardless of hardware and the videoconference solution used. The company reports that the invention was made possible by combining the results of new, basic AI research. Carsten Kraus, the founder of Casablanca, says, “Videoconferencing obviously has a clear position in the private and business communication of the future.
However, a real face-to-face conversation still improves it significantly because trust cannot be built without eye contact. Some parts of communication cannot be understood without facial expressions. At first glance, it might sound surprising that Casablanca is using machine learning of all things to make communication more personable. At second glance, however, it creates enormous potential to improve social relationships over the internet.”