AI influencers are taking over

Out of all the jobs under threat from AI, we certainly didn’t have Instagram influencers at the top of our list. 

Driving the news: Major global brands, including Prada, Calvin Klein, Samsung, and BMW, are turning to AI-generated influencers to promote their products on social media, opting for a cost-effective alternative to high-profile social media personalities.

  • Some of the AI influencers, like Brazil’s Any Malu (3.7 million YouTube subscribers), are cartoons that have amassed large online followings. Others, like Miquela (2.7 million Instagram followers), are nearly indistinguishable from actual humans.

Why it’s happening: In addition to being more cost-effective, AI influencers have language flexibility (offering options for promotion in multiple countries) and, unlike messy humans, are scandal-free.

Why it matters: With almost half of Canadians already unable to differentiate AI-generated content from human-generated content, experts warn that the rise of AI influencers could open the door for deceptive and misleading marketing practices. 

  • Human influencers are already criticized for manipulative marketing tactics — AI-generated personalities would be scruple-free and impossible to hold accountable for shady practices.

Bottom line: As Meta launches its own lineup of AI influencers based on celebrities like Kylie Jenner and Tom Brady, users will be seeing a lot more AI avatars on their feeds, blurring the line even further between fake and real on the internet.—LA