The Rise of Virtual Influencers: The Impact of AI-Generated Social Media Personalities
If you scroll through Instagram, you might come across some profiles that look too good to be true. They have flawless skin, perfect hair, stunning outfits, and millions of followers. They travel the world, collaborate with famous brands, and share their opinions on various topics. They seem to have it all, except for one thing: they are not real.
These are virtual influencers, or digital avatars that are created and managed by artificial intelligence (AI) tools. They are not based on any existing person, but rather on the imagination and preferences of their creators. They use CGI (computer-generated imagery), motion-capture technology, and AI tools to generate realistic images and videos that can be posted on social media platforms.
Virtual influencers are not a new phenomenon. The first one, Kyoko Date, debuted in 1996 as a Japanese pop star. Since then, technology has advanced significantly, making virtual influencers more lifelike and interactive. Some of the most popular ones today include Lil Miquela, a 19-year-old Brazilian-American model and musician with over three million Instagram followers, Shudu Gram, a South African supermodel dubbed as the world’s first digital supermodel2, and Noonoouri, a Parisian fashionista who has worked with Dior, Versace, and Kim Kardashian.
Why are virtual influencers so popular?
Virtual influencers offer several advantages for both their creators and their audiences. For the creators, they are a cost-effective and flexible way to produce content and promote brands. They don’t age, get sick, or have scandals. They can be customized to fit any aesthetic, style, or message. They can also speak any language and appeal to any market.
For the audiences, they are a source of entertainment, inspiration, and connection. They provide an escape from reality and a glimpse into a fantasy world. They also represent diverse identities and perspectives that may resonate with different groups of people. They can interact with their fans through comments, messages, and even chatbots.
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