The Stream

Virtual influencers: How real are they?

On Wednesday, November 18 at 19:30 GMT:
A new breed of social media influencer is growing in popularity, with many gathering millions of followers while raising questions about the ethics of their existence. These influencers, you see, are not real. They are CGI creations.

The most popular, Lil Miquela, has almost three million Instagram followers and is part model, part musician, all artificial intelligence. In 2018, Time magazine went as far as to call her one of the 25 most influential people on the internet alongside people who are very real.

Just like human influencers, those of the CGI variety have been caught up in controversies. Last year, the creators of Lil Miquela faced a backlash after posting a video in which she described being sexually assaulted. Critics said that she, and other CGI influencers, should not co-opt real-word experiences.

One influencer who is very clear about the virtual world she occupies is gamer girl and YouTuber AI Angelica. She identifies as a robot and says she is just here to entertain.

In this episode of The Stream we meet Angelica, as well as a panel of (human) experts, to hear more about this growing phenomenon and its impact.

In this episode of The Stream we are joined by:
Angelica, @AiAngel13
Virtual Influencer

Christopher Travers, @Virtual_Humans

Abadesi Osunsade, @Abadesi
Co-host, Techish Podcast