Industry Perspectives: Meet XARA, the AI Intern at Jack Morton

They can’t fetch a coffee order, but they can probably whip up a recipe that’ll change your ordering habits forever… in seconds.

Jack Morton’s innovation practice, Jack X, is diving into the possibilities and intricacies of AI’s impact on creativity, marketing and business as it welcomed on Feb. 26 its first AI-generated virtual intern, XARA, who will serve as a digital influencer and share insights on experience innovation and the potential of AI through social content and podcasts.

XARA’s 3D character was designed by the Jack X London in-house design and development team, which leveraged the Unity platform to build and rig the character. XARA’s “skills” include real-time animation and lip syncing, as well as a text-to-speech AI plugin. XARA was also “crafted with a focus on diverse and accessible design thinking at the forefront.”

Managing XARA is Damian Ferrar, global head of Jack X, and his team of strategists, creatives and technologists who are mentoring the character and monitoring the results for any bias or false information, often referred to in the space as “AI hallucinations.”

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“The primary objective here is for us to test and learn, and it’s one of the things that we’re really pushing in terms of the adoption of AI through our business in many different shapes and forms,” Ferrar told EM, describing the initiative as a new kind of marketing and communications. “One of the risks [with AI] is that people kind of take it at face value and assume that what it’s capable of today is all it’ll ever be capable of. You’ve got to get in at grassroots and really push the opportunity, even if you can’t see the immediate benefit.”

XARA’s first assignment was at MWC in Barcelona, where the team “dipped their toes” into their capabilities. But XARA is already making an impression in the office. Creative directors are consulting XARA in ideation sessions with the goal of XARA becoming part of pitches as well.

“What we’re really stressing is that anywhere that we are using AI, it has to be human led,” Ferrar says. “There’s sometimes a risk that these things just kind of go off and gather a life of their own, but we are making sure that we’re continually monitoring the activity and how XARA is interacting with different people so that we can measure the success of it and recalibrate if necessary.”

Now let’s hear from XARA themselves…


Q&A: XARA the AI Intern Discusses Their New Role

Rachel Boucher
Posted by Rachel Boucher

Rachel joined Event Marketer in 2012 and today serves as the brand's head of content. Her travels covering the experiential marketing indust ry have ranged from CES in Las Vegas to Spring Break in Panama City Beach, Florida (hey, it's never too late)—and everywhere in between.
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