Joey Tribbiani will soon be a chatbot. The popular character from the 90s TV series Friends will be "virtually immortalised" by a group of researchers from Leeds University.
The group, composed of James Charles, David Hogg and Derek Magee, is working on creating a talking avatar based on Joey.
The three, members of Leeds University's computer science department, is hoping to create a talking avatar of the TV star. In a way, Joey will rival Apple and Amazon's intelligent personal assistants, Siri and Alexa.
They used a machine learning software to analyze ang gather transcripts from all the 236 episodes of the show. The avatar will be created by using a set of algorithms to scan all the videos. It will track the voice, facial expressions and body languages of all the characters. They will then use a different set of algorithms to analyze the scripts of the show. This will let them know how Joey puts sentences together.
All these data will be used to come up with the Joey avatar which is capable of creating new sentences using the character's voice. While the avatar speaks, its body and face will move just like the character.
If the researchers' theory pans out, they can create avatars of all the characters of the show which will make it possible to create new "episodes" of the cult favorite.
The group is hoping to "build virtual talking avatars of characters fully automatically from TV shows" as mentioned in a TechRadar report. They also said in a paper that "humans have been enthralled with recording people and their activities using e.g. sculpture, paintings, photographs, video and sound" and that they are only striving "o modernize the existing set of recording methods."
CNET describes the fan favorite played by Matt LeBlanc as an Italian-American soap opera actor. He is known as a compulsive flirt and for popularizing lines such as "How you doing?", "I like pizza with cheese", and "Joey doesn't share food!".