Synth-Pop Makes a Comeback

360-degree Video
March 10, 2020
A.I. at the Edge
March 10, 2020

Synth-Pop Makes a Comeback

Synthetic media will give rise to an entirely new kind of celebrity in the 21st century: synthetic pop stars.

Synthetic media will give rise to an entirely new kind of celebrity in the 21st century: synthetic pop stars.

It also affords a host of opportunities to make and save money. Already there are a number of synthetic pop stars with very large fan bases. Lil Miquela is a sort of Beyonce of synthetic stars, with 1.8 million followers on Instagram as of the start of this year. She is a model for brands like Prada and Calvin Klein, a musician with popular tracks on Spotify and a paid brand ambassador for enormous, global companies like Samsung. And she has friends: Bermuda, a rule-breaking bad girl model/influencer and Blawko, an L.A.-based guy who likes fast cars, Absolut vodka and is never without his trademark face scarf covering his nose and mouth.

In many ways, these stars are the antidote to teen stars like Lindsay Lohan and Shia LeBeouf who, for one reason or another, stray from their carefully-crafted public images and cause headaches for their agents, managers and the brands or projects they represent. Synthetic stars don’t sleep. They don’t eat. They never get tired, even if they’re pushed 24-hours a day. They don’t drink alcohol or use drugs, would never say anything off-message, and their mug shots would never go viral on the internet. (Unless it was planned, of course. Over the summer, Bermuda posted her own mugshot on Instagram to “get ahead” of the press.)

While Bermuda and Blawko aren’t programmable yet, China’s A.I. news anchors are. Last year, China’s state news agency Xinhua unveiled A.I. news anchors Xin Xiaomeng, Qui Hao, and Xin Xiaohao, who appear in videos and also write stories for the agency.