What is a Robot Influencer?
A robot influencer is a piece of artificial intelligence (AI) that acts as a virtual avatar created via 3D animation software. Like most AI, they have the ability to learn from their interactions which contributes to the ongoing development of their existence and are still controlled and managed by their developers. The whole thing is very much on the DL and there isn’t a huge amount of information around about them yet. There are currently 3 of robots instagrammers (we think).
The first to pop into our feeds was Miquela Sousa (@lilmiquela), a forever 19-year-old girl created by LA-based artificial intelligence firm Brud. It’s hard to pull apart what’s truth and what’s been manufactured by the company to create a great PR stunt but the story is, Miquela was the result of a project gone wrong between Brud and competing firm Cain Intelligence, as discovered in statements released on the website of each party… but Brud doesn’t actually seem to exist. An LA start-up created the avatar and it’s rumoured that numerous venture capital companies are now invested.
In this odd reality TV style saga, the whole concept was revealed after Bermuda (@bermudaisbae) ‘hacked’ Miquela’s Instagram account, locking her out and egging her on to tell the truth about who she was to her many followers and fans. Eventually, Miquela revealed she was a robot and has owned that title ever since. The whole thing was a well executed marketing campaign.
More began to surface with Brud creating another avatar Blawko (@blawko22), who poses as Miquela’s little brother. Photographer Cameron-James Wilson also created Shudu (@shudu.gram)- ‘the first digital supermodel’. These avatars are also known as ‘Brandfluencatars’ (brand-influencer-avatars). In fact, Shudu and others that have emerged, are part of a digital supermodel ‘agency’, with one ‘model’ even designed to look like an alien. Yep you heard that right. There is now a business where real people are paid to manage digital people … and aliens. But unlike the others, Shudu and these models are not AI. They are a work of 3D digital art, and therefore have no learning capabilities. Shudu recently appeared in a Tiffany & Co ad campaign and you’d never know she wasn’t the real deal.
Stay tuned for part two where we’ll discuss the ramifications of this new-wave influencer on the social media marketing world.