Influencers are often held on a pedestal that many believe isn't deserved. However, with the rise of convincing AI, could human influencers be replaced with AI influencers. And, if so, can they ever be trusted?
Sidus Studio X creates AI influencer Rozy
Reported by AllKPop, Korean tech company Sidus Studio X has created a fully AI-powered influencer: Rozy. Designed as a forever-22-years-old Korean woman, Rozy is an Instagram sensation. After around a year of experimentation, the character already has a follower count of over 62,000.
Sidus Studios explains that Rozy is already proving successful. Just one year into her experimental stage, the company has been approached for partnerships and sponsorships. Rozy has already been offered over 100 sponsorship opportunities from brands, despite the fact that she’s not real.
CEO Baek Seung Yeop claims that Rozy is so successful that Sidus can't find the time to sort through partnership offers. He said: “We have achieved our goal profit now, and I think Rozy will be able to make more than 1 billion KRW (~$854,007) by the end of this year.”
Is this ethical?
In Asian countries, completely virtual influencers are not uncommon. Outside of the obvious VTuber trend, using fictional characters as advertising mouthpieces happens fairly frequently. For example, Japan has used Final Fantasy's Lightning and the cast of Evangelion to sell bags, watches and razors for years. Hell, Hatsune Miku performs hologram concerts for crowds of adoring fans.
However, product placement through established characters is already seen as ethically grey. After all, there's no way of knowing what a fake character’s opinion on a product its peddling is. Well, actually, there is; characters don't have any opinion on any product because they're not real.
When it comes to AI influencers, that came ethically grey boundary pops up. One day, Rozy could say Coke is the best. Rozy could also claim Pepsi is the best two days later. The same is true of human influencers. However, human influencers can be grilled for it. Honestly, it seems the message is: don't trust anyone.