April 20, 2024

No camera, no model: Could pixel-perfect AI models replace the real thing?

By Daniel BoalITV news multimedia producer

This is Aitana López, described as a strong and determined 25-year-old woman with a “complicated sense of humor.”

By sharing the food you eat, the bands you listen to, and the video games you play, you could be another influence.

AND with more than 265,000 followers on Instagramand earning around £9,000 a month from her modeling work, she essentially is.

She is “bold” and “authentic,” or so the bio on the website of the modeling agency that represents her says.

You’ll never know if that’s true, because she’s not a real person. The Clueless ‘agency’ is one of many modeling agencies that employ a large number of models, none of which are real people.

Aitana is potentially the most popular AI influencer in the world. She never needs a day off, she never gets sick, and she doesn’t even need to get paid.

And for brands that want to advertise their products online, that’s all a very attractive prospect.

But what are the chances of real-life models and influencers being replaced by their AI counterparts?

For her modeling work, Aitana reportedly earns up to £9,000. And for fans who want more private content from Aitana, they can subscribe to her private channel, and for a monthly fee they can exchange messages with her.

Its creators, the Spanish company The Clueless, invented it as a solution to the inefficiencies of working with human models.

Speaking to ITV News, AImodelagency.com Founder Luca Arrigo said: “Attention to this side of the industry really started to grow about a year ago. People can see that advances in technology offer benefits in scalability, usability and longevity.”

And while the rise in popularity of influencers and AI models looks set to continue, Arrigo insists it won’t replace real-life talent.

AI model created by the AImodelling agency for the Romanian dress brand Stefaneea. Credit: AImodelagency.com/Stefaneea

He added: “The comparison I like to make is with the synthetic diamond business: people panicked because there would be no appetite for real diamonds and the industry would collapse.

“But that wasn’t the case.

“It’s just a new medium of expression and art. When Polaroids faced digital photography, things changed, but it didn’t end with Polaroids. I think it’s the same thing, we’re moving from photography to synthography.”

Svein Clouston says that without regulation AI could take the fashion industry down a “dangerous path.” Credit: Fundamental reason

However, AI expert Svein Clouston of brand strategy agency Rationale believes that AI models could not only replace real ones, but also makeup artists, photographers and location scouts.

He said: “There is no need for staff time. The model is there whenever needed and they are already picture perfect.”

In addition to potential job losses, Clouston fears that the inclusion of artificial intelligence models could erode brand reliability and authenticity.

He added: “A big part of what makes ads engaging is their relatability. And at the end of the day, these are not real people, who have real personalities and interests: they are data sets entered by people behind them.

“Ultimately it comes down to money, but as technology advances, people could be left behind.”

AI model Aitana López wishing her followers a Merry Christmas. Credit: Instagram/fit_aitana

Speaking to Euronews, The Clueless agency founder Rubén Cruz said: “We started to analyze how we were working and realized that many projects were on hold or canceled due to problems beyond our control.

“Often it was the influencer or model’s fault and not because of design issues.” The logic is clear: why deal with a temperamental reality when you can rely on a perfect image?

“We did it so we could make a better living and not depend on other people who have egos, obsessions or who simply want to make a lot of money by posing.”

Are AI models distorting beauty standards and changing the boundaries of diversity?

Levi’s partnership with Lalaland.ai to promote diversity through the use of AI models came under fire last year. Credit: Lalaland.ai

Studies have shown that social media already has a marked impact on body image concerns and self-objectification, something that could be exacerbated by AI.

Clouston said: “Studies have shown that a third of women already feel unwell after going on social media due to unrealistic beauty standards. I think AI could make this worse.”

“Another problem that I think we could encounter is the replacement of various models.

“We’ve already had Levi jeans campaigns using AI models. Now, that campaign was intended to promote diversity, but the AI ​​model is an idealized version of what someone thinks diversity is.

“So it’s not really representative at all.

“Ultimately, AI models are sets of data that have been input by other humans and will represent their Idealized version of another person.

“And, because they are not real and easy to make, there is the possibility that there are infinite models that promote impossible standards.”

Rise of AI images ‘reduces trust’ in what people see online

The rise of AI-generated images is eroding public trust in online information, a leading fact-checking group has warned.

Full Fact said the rise in misleading images circulating online – and being shared by thousands of people – highlights how many people struggle to spot such images.

The organization has raised concerns about the suitability of the new Online Safety Act to combat harmful misinformation on the internet, including the growing amount of AI-generated content, and has called on the government to increase funding for media literacy to Teach the public to better identify fake news. content.

Fake images of the Pope in a puffer jacket and Trump’s ‘arrest’ circulated on social media last year. Credit: X @skyferrori / X @EliotHiggins

The campaign group points to a number of recent incidents, including fake mugshots of former US President Donald Trump and an image of Pope Francis wearing a puffer jacket, as clear examples where many users were tricked into sharing false content and therefore So, wrong information.

Full Fact’s fact-checking work has also highlighted fake photographs of the Duke of Sussex and the Prince of Wales together at the coronation, which it says were shared more than 2,000 times on Facebook, and an image of Prime Minister Rishi Sunak taking a pint of beer. , which was edited to look worse and viewed thousands of times on X, formerly Twitter.

The charity said it believes most of the influx of low-quality content flagged by fact-checkers is not necessarily aimed at making people believe an individual claim, but rather reducing trust in information overall.

It also says that the high volume of false or manipulated content could have an impact on the availability of good information online by flooding search results.

The recent and rapid evolution of AI applications implies capabilities, AI-powered image generation or handling tools are now available online.

Chris Morris, CEO of Full Fact, said: “This year, we have seen repeated cases of fake AI images being shared and spreading rapidly online, and many people have unsuspectingly been tricked into sharing misinformation.

“A great example is the viral AI-generated image of the Pope in a puffer jacket, which was shared by tens of thousands of people online before being debunked by both fact-checkers and the media.

“It is unfair to expect the public to rely solely on the media or fact-checkers to address this growing problem.

“AI imaging tools can now be accessed by anyone, and unless the government increases its resources to improve media literacy and addresses the fact that the Online Safety Act does not cover many foreseeable harms from content generated with tools of AI, the information environment will be more difficult for people to navigate.

“Inaction risks reducing trust in what people see online. “This risks weakening our democracy, especially during elections.”

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