In a world where the distinction between real and virtual is becoming increasingly blurred, the emergence of AI influencers on social networks raises ethical, economic and societal questions. These digital entities, often more realistic than their human counterparts, are gradually establishing themselves as key players in influencer marketing, revolutionizing the advertising sector.
A meteoric rise
The story of Aitana López, the AI-generated virtual model who rakes in up to €10,000 a month, is symptomatic of this trend. Aitana, like her peers, represents a profitable and controllable alternative to human influencers. With their custom-designed personalities and stories, these avatars offer unrivalled flexibility and availability, appealing to a growing number of brands and agencies. Their influence, measured in terms of followers (also mostly bought on platforms like Up2Fame before you can get real ones via the snowball effect) and engagement, now rivals that of real social network celebrities.
The economic benefits of AI influencers are undeniable. They reduce production and management costs, while offering potentially superior memorability and reach. What’s more, they eliminate the risks associated with managing human personalities, such as scandals or unforeseen events. Their aesthetic perfection, unattainable for a human being, creates an ideal of beauty and style that attracts and fascinates.
Profound ethical and social implications
However, this perfection shaped by algorithms raises major ethical questions. AI influencers, often designed according to unrealistic beauty standards, can exacerbate body image and mental health issues among their followers. What’s more, their artificial nature calls into question authenticity and sincerity, essential values in the influencer business. The public, attracted by an illusion of perfection, could find itself disillusioned and distrustful of social networks and advertising.
A changing landscape
The rise of AI influencers is also driving economic change. Human influencers are seeing their revenues and relevance threatened by these newcomers. Regulations are struggling to keep up with the breakneck pace of these innovations, leaving a legal vacuum around the disclosure and ethical use of these technologies. The job market in the content creation sector is thus undergoing radical transformation, requiring professionals to constantly adapt.
Towards a balance between human and virtual
Despite these challenges, some experts and industry players are advocating a balance between human and AI influencers. They suggest that authenticity and human contact remain irreplaceable, and that both types of influencer can coexist and complement each other. Advertising campaigns could then take advantage of technological innovation while retaining the emotion and human connection that are the strength of traditional advertising.
The emergence of AI influencers on social networks is a complex, multi-faceted phenomenon. While their rise offers unprecedented economic and creative opportunities, it also raises important ethical and social questions. Striking a balance between the benefits of these technologies and the preservation of essential human values will be one of the great challenges of our digital age. AI influencers are not just a passing trend, but reflect a profound evolution in our society and the way we communicate and consume.
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