AI-created “virtual influencers” are stealing business from humans

Pink-haired Aitana Lopez is followed by more than 200,000 people on social media. She posts selfies from concerts and her bedroom, while tagging brands such as hair care line Olaplex and lingerie giant Victoria’s Secret.

Brands have paid about $1,000 a post for her to promote their products on social media—despite the fact that she is entirely fictional.

Aitana is a “virtual influencer” created using artificial intelligence tools, one of the hundreds of digital avatars that have broken into the growing $21 billion content creator economy.

↫ Christina Criddle for Ars Technica

While there’s a ton of questions to be asked about where, exactly, this could lead, and what “AI” will mean for especially women having their likeness recreated as “AI” avatars for people to sleaze over, or worse, the concept of having “AI” influencers doing fairly mundane and harmless things like promote a brand or show some fake photos of their apartments seems fairly benign and even interesting and beneficial to me.

Of course, I say this with all the caveats that this is incredibly early days, we have no idea if there are any shady businesses behind these new “AI” influencers, and so on, and so forth. We’ve all seen what technology such as this can be used for, and it ain’t pretty.


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