July 10, 2018

Saya

Saya

When parents Teruyuki and Yuka Ishikawa originally posted photos of their daughter online, they didn’t expect Saya to become an overnight celebrity. They shared her photos to generate interest in their short film project, but the family put those plans on hold after receiving offers for Saya to be featured in ad campaigns, product announcements, even a research study with Tokyo University. Some of her fans even cosplay as Saya.

Saya

Because Saya isn’t real. Saya the Virtual Human was designed to look and act like a 17-year-old girl—curious, hopeful, and optimistic.

Saya

Three years after her parents’ first post, “Saya.2018ver” uses deep learning to analyze facial expressions and infer how a person is feeling. Her parents (TELYUKA) now envision Saya as a personal assistant, a concierge to welcome visitors to Japan, and as a companion for Japan’s elderly, who account for 27.7% of the nation’s population.

2018 Brian Rose