In reality, the interaction between idols and fans is replicated by AI in the virtual space, and the boundary between virtual and real is further broken.

For 30 yuan, you can video chat with Internet celebrities. According to Red Star News, recently, some startups have launched the "AI clone" of Internet celebrities, and users can pay to communicate with them in the App, pay to watch the virtual person's circle of friends, make video calls, etc. It is said that the total number of fans on the whole network who signed up for the "AI clone" in the background has exceeded 5 million, but whether the business model is feasible has also attracted public attention.

Replicating doppelgangers to diffuse influence and monetization has always been one of the goals of the entertainment idol industry. Therefore, when the technology matures, the pan-entertainment industry is still the first to think of the "AI clone" model to increase monetization channels. According to estimates, if the newly launched Internet celebrity "AI clone" product can generate 1,72 basic paying users, then the Internet celebrity only needs to provide some voice, appearance and other characteristics, and can "lie down and earn <>,<> yuan".

Why the business model seems viable

Actually, this is not an innovative move. A month ago, female Internet celebrities in the United States "fell in love" with fans by replicating an AI version of themselves, with an annual income of $6000 million.

The reason why this can become a seemingly viable business model is that the threshold of AI technology for "human cloning" has been greatly reduced. In essence, only a universal facial and voice recognition technology is required, a part of the chat model is accessed, and then permission is obtained to use private data such as portrait rights, and a virtual human can be created out of thin air to complete basic interaction with fans.

Second, emotional, social, and idolatry are among the most important spiritual needs of modern life. Satisfying the problem of spiritual loneliness of modern people is also the first scenario in which AI technology will be applied.

In fact, before the concept of "AI human cloning" attracted attention, the industry of digital virtual humans had long existed. For example, virtual idols such as Hatsune Miku have already demonstrated the impact of new digital technologies on the entertainment industry, and after concepts such as the metaverse have become popular, products focusing on social and spiritual companionship, such as virtual lovers with the help of AI technology, have also flocked to the scene.

The controversial "AI clone" is still essentially part of the digital virtual human economy. The difference is that this is not pure "fiction", but the image and relationship projection of the real world into AI, and the boundary between virtual and real is further broken.

"AI Sun Yanzi" is inevitable to become popular

The breakdown and breaking brought by the Internet celebrity "AI clone" is actually the "AI enhancement" of the traditional business model, which is part of the digitalization of idols.

Idol digitization, that is, the creation of virtual projection of real idols, makes the interaction between fans and idols more three-dimensional and two-way, thereby broadening the influence and monetization channels in the idol industry.

Many Sun Yanzi's fans are addicted to "AI Sun Yanzi" to cover different works, which is essentially a low-cost extension of AI technology to her singing skills, so that Sun Yanzi herself does not need to make any skills to temper and perform publicly, and can also meet the individual needs of different fans.

After "AI Sun Yanzi" became popular, it is predictable that this technology will inevitably be widely tried in the field of pan-entertainment in the future. The essence of the business model of Idol Industry is to create a spiritual phantom for users, allowing fans to discover their inner projection in the created side, so as to willingly generate an emotional connection and then pay.

The technology of AI replication, coupled with the ability to customize responses to meet user preferences, can theoretically make the influence of idols further sink into the individual spiritual world of fans.

The end of the road is still unknown

The breaking of the boundary between reality and fiction also poses a dilemma. For example, how to maintain the intellectual property and privacy of real people when the cost of copying is significantly reduced?

Just as it is difficult for Sun Yanzi to maintain her voice and singing skills as intellectual property rights, and it is impossible to avoid users using their publicly released works as training data sources, with the continuous open source of AI technology, how can idol stars ensure that fans will not manually pinch a version of their own version of the "virtual idol"?

The traditional idol star industry costs a lot to create an influential star figure, but AI makes the cost of copying idols close to zero.

For social development, this also indicates that we will face a more complex situation.

In theory, as long as the copying of virtual idols does not touch the legal red line on issues such as data protection and content moderation, there are still not many reasons to regulate for the time being. However, if the overabundance of virtual idols becomes the main carrier of human spiritual interaction and socialization, our interpersonal relationships and spiritual world will face huge and unknowable changes.

This is exactly what many science fiction works are worried about, the emergence and popularization of AI cloned idols has undoubtedly pushed the human spiritual world one step forward towards virtualization, and what will be the end of this road is really unknown.

(Beijing News)