The rise (and fall?) of virtual influencers
A “FN” problem: This week, Capitol Records dropped rapper FN Meka – and apologized after some denounced the “crass stereotypes” perpetuated by the artist. In a time of greater responsibility, this decision was not so surprising. Except one thing: FN Meka is a robot.
Earlier this month, Capitol Records signed FN Meka – an AI rapper who is voiced by humans and generates songs by analyzing the lyrics of real artists. The label said he was “the first AR artist in the world to sign with a major label”. But critics were quick to denounce the harmful stereotypes in the robot’s appearance and design – and its use of racial slurs – as a “direct insult to the black community”. Many have raised the issue of “digital blackface” given that the creators of FN Meka are not black. On top of that, an artist who says he was involved from the start, Kyle the Hooligan, says the creators never compensated him for his input and then “ghosted” him.
So FN Meka lost their deal?
Yes. And all of this has raised questions about the future of AI influencers. They are technically virtual personalities that serve the same purpose as human influencers. Think: Attract a large fan base. Sell goods. Make a profit. Have real contracts with brands and labels. And interact with fans. Some are really gaining big followings on social media. Moreover, they have an advantage over human influencers: they never age and can be in several places at the same time. Lil Miquela, who debuted in 2016, was one of the first to prove his worth. Its IG account has attracted over a million followers and is said to have earned its creators an investment of $125 million.
You said it. These days, our feeds are flooded with digital models, fashion icons, and “artists” like FN Meka. But for all their innovation and benefits, AI influencers can be just as controversial as those in real life. See: Virtual model Shudu Gram, accused of taking advantage of black women. Lil Miquela herself, who received backlash for queerbaiting after “kissing” Bella Hadid in a Calvin Klein ad. And many have been criticized for fueling unrealistic beauty standards.
Artificial intelligence is on the rise. The influencer space is no exception. But virtual influencers are prone to too much human error. And just as they can make real money, they can also cause real damage.
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Have you ever wished you could stare into a crystal ball for clarity? You’re not alone. And while predicting the future is an inaccurate art, there’s no harm in taking advantage of all the maps and tools the cosmos has to offer.
So whether you wonder what it means to be”Phone a Libra,” or you’re already someone asking for dates for their Big 3, astrology can be a fun way to get a read on situations. Like how your personality compares to your friends. Or what your communication and relationship styles might be. What if your texts and emails might go haywire (hi, Mercury retrograde). If your interest is piqued, try a course to learn your chart. There are plenty of apps out there as well, ranging from ones that focus on the phases of the moon to others that are hyper-personalized or have a mindfulness and social justice focus.
And if you’re curious to know tarot cards, getting to know your deck is the first step. (Pro tip: There are plenty to choose from, but you can’t go wrong with a classic.) Find an app or virtual classroom to learn the ins and outs of each card.
To finish, organize a party with friends. Do lots of readings, follow each other’s astrological charts, and try to look into the future. Don’t forget to set the mood with candles, crystals, books, and herbal teas (or maybe wine, if the good planets align). Good research !