A new virtual idol format appears in the dust of the artificial intelligence revolution. Alba Renai (@albarenai), 24 years old, is a content creator who lives in Madrid. She loves travel, decoration and fashion, as shown on her Instagram account. He participated in the recent GenZ Awards gala, an initiative by Mediaset España to recognize the best content creators. Alba’s particularity is that nothing she does is real: her life is part of the digital world, since it is a influencer virtual generated with artificial intelligence.
But how exactly was Alba created? Silvia Velasco and Carlos Sánchez, founders of the Be a Lion agency, explain the process: “We first develop a training model with ChatGPT and we ingest information with the tastes and interests of Generation Z (born after 1995 ) for Alba. “We also conducted a survey of over 350 consumers asking them what they were looking for in a content creator, their aesthetic credentials, etc. » In June, the agency created a division specific to this activity called VIA (acronym in English for agency of influencers virtual).
Even though it seems real, Aitana López (@fit_aitana) is another model and virtual content creator, also generated from artificial intelligence. He defines himself as a lover of aptitude and video games and has more than 220,000 followers on Instagram. “For those who asked for more smiles, here I give you mine! How do you prefer my photos? Would you be serious or smiling? I read you”, this is how the model presents herself in one of her publications. “People don’t believe that Aitana is fake. She receives 300 messages a day from people who want to know her and get to know her” , reveal Rubén Cruz and Diana Núñez, founders of The helpless, the agency that created the model and represents it inside and outside the virtual world. Currently, she has collaborated with other models and influencers and with small brands for promotion.
The goal of the creators of influencers Virtual is about reducing costs for brands that a real-world model can generate, such as transportation, food and accommodation costs. “We realized that virtual models could do campaigns one day in one location and the next in another, with no labor costs,” they admit in The Clueless. Before founding the company, they worked in a communications agency and they explain that to be a model or influencer real “you can pay 6,000 euros for 3 stories“.
From China to Meta
Alba and Aitana are part of the digital humans group, two of many examples of a burgeoning industry, virtual celebrities, trying to consolidate itself as a business. In China, companies have already been offering this service since last year. Startups and large technology companies have created virtual avatars to promote or sell products live, via social media platforms. streaming like Taobao, As revealed MIT Technology Review. This way, brands can clone a banner human for almost 1,000 euros to work 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
In September, Meta released 28 chatbots created by artificial intelligence with profiles such as Kendall Jenner (called Billie), Paris Hilton (like Amber) or the rapper Snoop Dogg. For now, they are only available in the United States in the testing phase. THE celebrities who assigned their image rights to Meta obtained up to 5 million dollars, for 6 hours of work spread over 2 years, according to Business Insider. Artificial intelligence makes the most important celebrities bigger than ever, allowing them to be present in every market, in every format and at any time, As explained on the cover of a recent issue of The Economist. Celebrities like Jenner, with nearly 300 million followers on Instagram, have their chatbot as a way to “satisfy and monetize” their fans.
Because with the influencers and the celebrities, virtual agents also appear. This is what work reveals for harvard business review, this defines them as salespeople who never sleep; presenters, multilingual trainers and social media influencers who are always loyal to the brands. Lingyao Yuan, professor of information systems at Iowa State University and author of the study, has been studying digital humans for seven years and says new technologies offer great benefits to businesses. They work 24/7, never ask for a raise, and “always follow company policy.”
Yuan and his colleagues, they investigated How people reacted to being served by a digital customer service agent. Results showed that virtual celebrities give users greater perceptions of competence, goodwill, and integrity, as well as increased trustworthiness and intention to use the service. They also realized that customers are more forgiving of mistakes made by chatbots famous than those who are not.
One of the most famous digital creators is Lil Miquela (@lilmiquela), a 19-year-old 3D robot created by the Los Angeles agency Brud. He has 2.7 million followers on Instagram and has appeared in advertisements for luxury companies such as Prada and BMW. One of the greatest achievements of virtual avatars is their physical appearance. “I think the fundamental key to treating artificial intelligence as a human equivalent is to evoke the process of anthropomorphism,” says Yuan. But it’s not the only one: “Realistic human faces can strongly influence people to treat digital humans as if they were real, although that is not the only way.” I think the vision and the intelligence have to be there,” he says.
Aitana appears in underwear in several of her photos published on social networks, in addition to offering her followers access to “exclusive content”. Its audience is primarily male, according to its creators. The professor of applied sociology at the European University of Madrid, Rebeca Cordero, explains that the sexualization of the virtual model “is part of the game of social networks. It’s a way to attract followers. However, its creators specify that “their intention is not to create a sexual model” and assure that they leave unanswered the sexual messages that Aitana receives in private.
There are other ethical questions regarding the use of influencers virtual beyond the hypersexualization of women, according to the study of harvard business review. “As we are seeing with ChatGPT, new technologies can be disruptive. “Companies should discuss potential impacts and undesirable outcomes before making the decision to implement digital humans,” says Yuan. Its use is concerning, according to Yuan, due to the ownership and control of the content creator. Alan R. Dennis, professor of Internet systems at Indiana University and co-author of the study, recommends spreading the use of artificial intelligence so that people are aware of it: “There are real ethical problems if we let artificial intelligence take over decisions. like, for example, who to hire.
“You can’t leave me hanging, come back and let’s have some fun.” This is the last message that Jules Terpark, a digital culture analyst, received from Zach, a chatbot famous by Meta. After testing the app, Terpak is aware of an important change: “What these things really want is your time. They are not useful tools, they are companions to attract you. For me, they exceeded the limits”, confessed in.