I have been fascinated with virtual characters ever since reading science-fiction novels that featured sentient personas that provided guidance to captains of starships on intergalactic missions. Those concepts migrated to television and cinema, from Star Trek’s holodeck simulations in the ’60s, to Max Headroom in the ’80s, to the holographic virtual companion Joi in the film Blade Runner 2049. Although the idea of virtual humans has been around in pop culture, anime, and