Stop the Boring E-Mails!

E-Mail is so Y2K. It's time to get ready to hear what they're saying via facemail.

Unified messaging is gaining traction, allowing you to hear e-mails and listen to voice mails through an e-mail client. But why stop there? A new technology from LifeFX Networks Inc. could change the face of e-mail forever. Its called Facemail, basically a digital stand-in that reads your e-mail to you, complete with winks and grins, giving new meaning to "face time with your clients."

Facemail uses a 3D modeler and text-to-speech recognition from IBM to generate a stand-in that reads text messages and then makes facial gestures prompted by those goofy emoticons like ;-).

The company says users will be able to include their own voice and image in the future—currently you can choose only from good-looking 20-somethings.

Longer term, Facemail could be a front end to a database, with personal touches for repeat visitors to a Web site, for example, or pop-up models who cross-sell similar products.

Call centers also can be taken to a whole new level. A "real person" could understand and answer questions in natural speech.

We just hope no one starts dating these digital "bots."