AI vs. Humans: Influencers face competition from virtual models.

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Social media influencers have embraced artificial intelligence to improve their content, but they also face increasing competition from AI-powered Instagramers, TikTokers and YouTubers.

Sporting pink hair and posing in lingerie, swimsuits or gym wear, Etana Lopez has over 300,000 followers on Instagram where she is described as a “gamer at heart” and “fitness lover” — Except they’re not real.

Aitana was created by The Clueless, a Barcelona-based company that describes itself as an “AI modeling agency” run by “visionaries on a mission to redefine the world of influencers.”

The Clueless’s project manager, Sofia Novels, said the company’s creation was driven by the “increasing costs associated with human influence”.

“Virtual models, being digital, offer a more economical alternative,” said Nowels.

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Another plus: full control over content.

“The benefits are unprecedented creative control, allowing decision-making on image, fashion and aesthetics without the need for a physical photo shoot,” said Novels.

The rise of AI has fueled concerns about the proliferation of deepfake videos that could be used maliciously.

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Facebook and Instagram owner Meta said on Friday that it will start putting “Made with AI” labels on AI-generated content in May.

AI presents a huge business opportunity for content creators: According to Allied Market Research, the influencer market is expected to grow rapidly from $16.5 billion in 2022 to nearly $200 billion by 2032.

The use of virtual influencers is nothing new: Barbie already has millions of followers on Instagram.

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But now they are being used in advertisements where they cannot be told apart from a real person.

Take Lil Mikaela, a “19-year-old robot living in LA” created by a California agency in 2016.

With 2.6 million followers on Instagram and 3.5 million followers on TikTok, Lil Maqueta has promoted major brands like BMW.

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The idea was to “create something that has never been seen before,” the German premium carmaker told AFP in a statement.

“Attracting a young, tech-savvy generation is the icing on the cake for us,” he said.

Maud Lejeune, head of Paris-based digital strategy agency AD Crew, said it’s not difficult for the public to embrace AI influencers.

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“It’s like actors on TV: we know it’s not real yet we follow them and we find it interesting, it’s like watching a mini-series.”

AD Crew represents more than 30 influencers, but Lejeune created his own virtual influencer, Metagaya, two years ago.

“The current level of design didn’t exist back then. It’s technical, you have to prepare them, take photos for the background, create a story,” Lejeune said, admitting that Metagia didn’t turn out very well.

Rapid technological advances brought about by the likes of OpenAI’s Sora video generator can make it easy to create and play realistic virtual influencers.

Human influence is also taking over AI technology to create better videos.

Charles Stirlings of France sees an opportunity to improve translation.

He uses various tools to automatically translate and lip-sync his video posts into English and Spanish on platforms like HeyGen and

Sterlings also uses DeepShot, a platform that allows users to create deepfakes by replacing people’s words and mouth movements in real videos.

He said it only took him a few minutes and a few dollars to manipulate the video of French President Emmanuel Macron.

But the Sterlings see technology as a competitor as well as a useful tool.

“Anyone with a phone can have an impact. But ultimately, it will be artificial intelligence, available 24 hours a day, and very cheap to develop,” he said.

For Maud Lejeune, AI can help influencers produce more content.

“It’s hard to put yourself in front of the camera for too long and some creators burn out… AI may provide a new way to create without exposing yourself,” he said. said

Clueless has no qualms about taking business away from the true influence of its AI models.

“We don’t foresee real models becoming obsolete or being replaced with AI-generated models like Aitana,” Novels said. “In our view, they can coexist as another industry competition.”

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