Walmart Founder Sam Walton Returns as AI Hologram

Visitors to the Walmart Museum can learn a bit about the retail giant from founder Sam Walton, or at least a holographic AI version of him. Conversational video AI developer StoryFile and hologram developer Proto produced the digital Walton for the Walmart Heritage Group to greet visitors to the museum.

Walton AI

StoryFile creates synthetic media from video interviews with people sharing stories and facts about themselves and their lives. The Walton model is embedded in the Proto hologram, pulling relevant responses from the recorded videos but mimicking how he spoke and moved. Proto’s 4K hologram unit shows a lifesize reproduction of Walton sitting on and occasionally standing near a stool as though in a small closet. The hologram can speak about his philosophy on the company’s values, his business style, and the early history of the company. StoryFile has previously pitched its videos as a way to preserve memories of people and events for the future, as well as a way for businesses to create new interactive training and marketing videos.

“Partnering with StoryFile on creating the Sam Walton hologram has brought a new dimension to the Walmart Museum’s array of exhibits. It speaks directly to how we think about our company: people-led and tech-empowered.” Walmart Heritage Group senior director Alan Dranow said. “Conversational video is a cutting-edge technology that enables visitors to the Walmart Museum to get a feeling of what it would be like to ask Sam Walton ‘directly’ questions about Walmart’s heritage. It’s educational, inspirational and very engaging.”

StoryFile has been building up virtual avatars for both enterprise and consumer purposes. The company CEO Stephen Smith even brought a digital simulacrum of his mother to her funeral to converse with guests. The technology has also been employed at Holocaust museums to allow visitors to speak with virtual avatars of survivors as well as by William Shatner, Ed Asner, and other celebrities to share the stories of their lives. Improved AI and visual tools like Proto add authenticity and could make such interactive avatars a common element in more venues museums and other venues.

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