What is a Digital Replica? [2024 Guide]
Learn what digital replicas are, how they’re useful, and how advances in generating them can augment work in various fields in 2024.
Julia Szatar
Julia is the Head of Marketing at Tavus, a developer-first AI video research company powering revolutionary apps in video editing, marketing, sales, and education via APIs.
May 28, 2024

With countless use cases, digital replicas have been around since the dawn of the computer. They allow engineers to test products, filmmakers to recreate actors, and marketers to reach wider audiences. 

AI technology is creating new ways to implement this uncanny asset. For those who want to digitally render themselves, complete with expressions, digital replicas can even go as far as rendering digital avatars.

This article will explain digital replicas, identify use cases in different industries, and discuss the benefits and challenges this technology offers. There’s also a quick guide at the end that demonstrates just how easy it can be for anyone to use.

What is a Digital Replica?

Similar to the term “replicate,” a digital replica is a digital copy of an object in the real world, intended to emulate, simulate, or match an object and its characteristics. If it’s of a person, it’s like a clone: detailed, and specific to the person. It could be 2D or 3D rendering, but it could also be non-visual, like a cloned voice.

Digital Replica vs Digital Twin vs Digital Human vs Digital Avatar

Digital replicas, digital twins, digital humans, and digital avatars are all similar terms with slightly different definitions. A digital twin is a virtual representation of an object or system designed to accurately reflect a physical object. Often used in fields like manufacturing and development, they’re especially useful in product research and testing. 

Digital humans are designed to recreate a person. They seek to capture every detail and serve to simulate human action. They are automated and are found in video games where characters are designed to be lifelike.

If a replica is designed with animations controllable by a user, it is known as a digital avatar. It is a surrogacy, where the user guides or designs its movements and actions. This can be found in industries like video games and social media.

Digital Replica Use Cases

Digital replicas have long been used in specialized cases like engineering to help generate and simulate real-world scenarios for product development and testing. It has popularly been used in the entertainment industry to replace a film actor’s face for a scene or emulate a speaker’s voice for narration.

Generative AI is a game-changer for digital replicas, improving the quality of these historic instances. It’s also increasing the speed of creating and rendering lifelike digital replicas. As a result, it can more readily be used across client and service-facing industries like marketing, sales, and, recruiting. 

Sales & Marketing 

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Few industries have the opportunity to evolve so drastically from digital replica technology like sales and marketing. Thanks to Generative AI, users can rely on unbelievably quick turnarounds in personalized communications with existing and prospective clients.

For example, in marketing, digital replicas have been used primarily to represent products in advertisements. Now, the technology has the potential to help marketers reach more prospective clients quicker. It can also generate more specific and individualized messaging. Together, these benefits allow creators and marketers to expand and sustain a larger audience, keeping them more engaged than ever.

With Tavus, marketers can create custom videos at the personal level. The software allows a marketer to create custom replicas and script them to say what they want. Videos can be created in mass for countless viewers. 

Recruiting & Onboarding

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The complexity of communications has meant the majority of these roles and work are human-intensive. Where digital replicas have been used, they have served mostly for simple repetitive communications like interactive voice response systems, with preconfigured and simple responses. Over the past decade, the possibilities have drastically evolved here as well. 

Like with sales and marketing, advancements in replica technology create sweeping changes to the personability and effectiveness of recruitment and onboarding. Recruitment and onboarding have long been a rote process. Thanks to advancements in digital replicas, there is no more repetition.

Recruiters can cleanly and quickly contact multiple applicants and candidates with a personalized message. Rather than contacting one individual at a time, the recruiter can use Tavus’ software to convert one template message, or video, to multiple videos. Here, Tavus allows the recruiter to reach an array of tens of applicants in the time it would have taken to reach a couple.

Manufacturing & Operations 

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Digital replicas, and more specifically digital twins, have been used in manufacturing for decades to improve and accelerate product development and product testing. 

Engineers use them to simulate product renders with CAD (computer-aided design) and architects use them to visualize structure designs with blueprint software. Designers can use these digital replicas to perform systems tests, simulate interactions, and identify errors.

As hardware and software advance, these uses are improving. Digital replicas allow for augmented reality, where teams can see how new technologies could potentially integrate with and enhance the real world. 

Movies & Entertainment

Source. In "Star Wars: Rogue One" (2016) Characters Princess Leia and Grand Moff Tarkin were digitally rendered

In the 20th century, computer generation created a boom in animation development. Into the 21st century, it allowed artists to generate custom scenes and effects for movies and videos. Now digital replicas can create custom characters and even simulate actors who have passed away. 

With such powerful technology, there is contentious debate on digital replicas in the entertainment industry. Here, it is a matter of job security and intellectual property. Entire segments of the industry, from writers to actors, have gone on strike to prevent the technology from replacing jobs and deciding who has a copyright to works and personal likenesses. 

The subject has even shifted to politics, where groups like Congress are proposing laws on how the technology can be used, which includes discussions on how long the copyright to a person’s likeness lasts after they’ve died.

Benefits of Digital Replicas

Previously, digital replicas were largely confined to one-time renders. Now they can produce more interactive, flexible, and uncanny versions of real people.

Digital replicas are a fantastic value, offering countless advantages across fields ranging from communicating to product design:

  • In industries like sales and marketing, it means quicker and more valuable engagement with clients and audiences. 
  • In recruitment and onboarding, human resources can more effectively reach a wider range of candidates and team leaders can ensure the onboarding experience is always clear and improving. 
  • For manufacturing and operations, engineers and planners can improve trials and testing, reduce errors, and increase safety. 
  • In movies and entertainment, content creators can more easily develop media that is more alive.

The possibilities don’t stop there. Now more than ever, the tools to do so are becoming more accessible across industries, to developers, and to the general population. Across all fields, digital replicas are increasingly streamlining processes: increasing efficiency, lowering developing costs, and reducing lead times. 

They’re simultaneously increasing production volume and quality. At such an exciting stage of development, one can only imagine the next frontiers of digital replica technologies.

Digital Replica Challenges 

All technological changes inevitably evolve how people do work. The growing capabilities of digital replicas are no different: both by reducing effort and shifting responsibilities. Here, technological changes can impact existing jobs or lead to the ethical and legal issues of “deepfakes.” These challenges are quickly being addressed by policymakers and industry leaders.

Because of these consequences, it’s important that users are aware of the risks, and for developers to address them. Users are best prepared when they read service and local policies. Many developers have clear use limits and forbid misuse. 

For example, Tavus puts security and privacy first. The company employs safety checks including voice identification and user consent to ensure a user can only replicate themselves. Tavus also requires all customer content to be licensed, for users to follow local data laws (data privacy, data protection, and biometrics laws), and limits users to those over 18. The service has established procedures to handle data breaches, including working with regulators and notifying affected users.

How to Make a Digital Replica

Let’s take a look at how to make your very own digital replica with Tavus:

1. Video Training

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Just record two minutes of video, Speak clearly, and have a clean background! Talk about the relevant topic. Upload your video footage to Tavus.

2. Replica is Processed

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Next, just wait while Tavus’ Phoenix model translates the video. Tavus is busy interpreting the video on its servers to render an avatar. It will take no more than nine hours. Check back any time before then to see if it's done!

3. Generate Replica Videos 

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Last, create custom videos using your likeness! Here you can change variables like the background and the script for the newly-created talking head. Once you’re satisfied, finalize the video. Advanced users can use a CSV to generate multiple videos at once!

Make Your Own Digital Replica

Digital replicas have the power to enhance, simplify, and even upend the way people do business. And now, the technology to develop your own digital replica is at your fingertips. 

Tavus allows you to create and choose from dozens of template replicas. Its simple, feature-rich interface is highly accessible so that you can easily integrate it into your software. It has a tailor-made replica API that is both comprehensive and concise. It includes accessible support, clear instructions, and thorough documentation.

With such an intuitive process, Tavus gives you the tools to create not only a visual replica, but one that is both highly useful and realistic.

Give Tavus a try today!

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