Miquela is 19 years old, has a verified account on Instagram and an enviable lifestyle, but she is not human
They have perfect faces, thousands of followers and an enviable lifestyle, but they are not human. They are influencers robots, or influencers, who increasingly become popular in social networks, captivating the human audience with their particular "ways of life" and digital interactions.
Leer en español: Influenciadores humanoides: el nuevo fenómeno de las redes sociales
These fictional characters are created mostly by marketing and communication agencies. They are managed by external users since they are not yet linked with artificial intelligence that allows them to interact autonomously through networks.
One of the most popular avatars is Miquela Sousa, a 19-year-old Instagram model, who has full lips, is passionate about music and who claims to be from Downey, California.
Miquela started as an art project created by Trevor McFedries and Sara Decou in 2016. At first, many believed that it was an advertising campaign to announce a new version of the popular game "The Sims".
Others, on the other hand, rejected the proposal of a robot pretending to interact as a human being, but in the midst of controversy and curiosity, the followers of Miquela on Instagram grew and nowadays it has more than 1.3 million followers and an verified account.
Miquela, like most of the influencers, leads a life of luxury, visits recommended restaurants, travels through the main cities of the world with real and fictitious characters and wears dresses from brands such as Prada and Chanel. Her photos reach thousands of comments and likes and support social causes such as the LGBTI movement, homeless people and #BlackLivesMatter.
Miquela is not the only influencer without real beats in her heart. Like her there are more humanoids that surprise or delight netizens, who sometimes come to believe that the digitized figure is a real person.
These influencing robots have gained a voice within their community and can come to recommend brands, places, products and services like any other celebrity on social networks. The information that large platforms have collected about the tastes and behavior of users, is used when creating the humanoid. This allows segmentation and interaction with your community to be effective.
According to Rafaela Almeida, author of the book "Influencers" and CEO of the agency Blanz y Comunicación, the marketing of humanoid influencers fulfills the same function that a real influencer would lend and could grow due to the reduction of costs that it would mean for companies.
However, as Almeida also points out in an interview for the program La Tarde de NTN24, the risks or benefits of the presence of humanoids in social networks will depend on the use and understanding granted by the human being.
Artificial Intelligence is already a reality
Artificial Intelligence (AI) is the simulation of human intelligence processes carried out by machines or computer systems capable of learning, absorbing information, reasoning and self-correcting autonomously. For more than two decades the term has been heard and as time goes by, its popularity increases.
Unlike what science fiction has led us to believe, AI does not refer exclusively to robots controlling cities or bending humans. Instead, it refers to the practices that make operational processes more effective, the interpretation of large amounts of data and the development of new technologies.
Applied to the digital context, and according to the 2017 report of 'State of Marketing', 50% of large companies engaged in marketing or electronic commerce are already using AI in their processes. On the other hand, 30% have contemplated starting to do so in the short term, since they consider this type of technology to be essential to guarantee customer satisfaction and personalized monitoring.
So far there are more people who believe that virtual humanoids like Miquela will not transcend beyond momentary curiosity and passing trends among Internet users.
However, this could be one of the first robotic faces with which humans will begin to become familiar and interact. Just remember that a few decades ago the use of a cell phone seemed unnecessary and unimaginable, now it is so integrated into our lives that we could not be a day without the device.
Latin American Post | Krishna Jaramillo
Translated from 'Influenciadores humanoides: el nuevo fenómeno de las redes sociales'