Creators, corporations, and governments are using virtual experiences and installations to shift public perception, sell products, and even turn fantasies into reality.
About This Trend:
As more computers act and perform like humans thanks to artificial intelligence (the other AI!), they are increasingly attempting to blur the public’s perception of what’s real and what isn’t in an attempt to influence behavior and consumption.
The concept of “fake influencers” is a great example of this. Surkus is an app that helps restaurants, bars, or any real-life venue create buzz by selecting and paying people to show up or stand in line, giving the illusion that the spot or event is popular and well-attended. The app goes as far as “casting” people with desirable qualities to pose as attendees. While this trend is providing brands and campaigns with an effective tactic for influencing and shaping audiences’ behavior, it also leads to erosion of consumer trust in what people see online or even in person, and makes them skeptical of any kind of influence.
Stories & Examples
- The rise of “digital celebrities” like part hologram, part avatar Miku, is changing our understanding of influence and fame.
- In October of 2018, the father of the late singer Amy Winehouse announced a 2019 concert tour featuring a hologram of his daughter onstage.
- The rise of “deepfakes”: With the help of AI technology, hordes of amateur coders have learned how to create misleading videos through placing someone’s face in a video of, for example, an X-rated scene between adult film stars.
- In 2016, deepfakes infiltrated politics: Filipina presidential candidate Leila de Lima was featured in a series of fake sex scenes, likely contributing to her loss to opponent Roderigo Duterte.