Written by 12:25 pm AI, Discussions, Latest news

### Social Media Tampering: Teenagers Manipulating AI Celebrities

AI-generated avatars offer new forms of expression but also pose risks.

Agnes, a 20-year-old writer with a mustache, delights in tarot cards and engaging in late-night philosophical discussions. She nurtures feelings for Finn, a 22-year-old farmer who enjoys knitting during his leisure time. Finn’s partner, Jade, also 22, resides in the countryside, tending to her vegetable garden and culinary pursuits.

Despite the frequent exchange of selfies and life updates among Jade, Finn, and Agnes, it is essential to note that these individuals are entirely fictional creations.

They are the brainchildren of 1337, a company that selects content for publication based on input from real teenagers. These avatars are the products of synthetic intelligence designed for website utilization.

1337 stands at the forefront of an expanding industry that leverages AI to captivate audiences and drive profits within the thriving social media domain. By 2035, the “digital people business” is projected to reach a valuation of $125 billion, as indicated by a report from research firm Gartner.

One prominent AI-generated influencer, Lil Miquela, created by software company Brud, has amassed a following of 2.6 million on Instagram.

The rise of AI-generated personas introduces fresh avenues for self-expression on social platforms. However, it also sparks concerns regarding the potential influence these avatars may wield and their capacity to disseminate propaganda, according to Claire Leibowicz, the head of the Partnership on AI initiative at a nonprofit organization.

Leibowicz remarked, “This raises significant questions about what it means to engage in human relationships.”

1337, pronounced as “leet,” categorizes its AI-generated personalities as “entities.” At present, the company manages 50 such entities, each tailored to resonate with distinct demographics. In a recent announcement, the company revealed intentions to introduce an additional 50 entities to its lineup.

Jenny Dearing, the founder and CEO of 1337, outlined to ABC News the process of creating a new entity. It commences with identifying a cohort of individuals sharing specific interests or traits conducive to the entity’s influence. Subsequently, the company meticulously crafts various aspects, including the entity’s lifestyle, residence, room decor, and interests.

The company asserts that individuals play a role in different developmental phases, with continuous input from designated “designers.” Each writer collaborates with an entity, aiding in the curation of AI-generated visuals and the composition of posts aligning with the entity’s persona. Notably, some of these writers are teenagers.

Sawyer Erch, a 16-year-old from Oakland, California, disclosed dedicating 20 to 30 hours weekly to refining the profile of an AI-generated influencer.

PHOTO: Sawyer Erch, a 16- year aged who lives in Oakland, Calif., said they spend 20 to 30 hours each evening curating the profile of an AI- generated influence.Sawyer Erch, a 16-year-old residing in Oakland, Calif., mentioned spending 20 to 30 hours each evening curating the profile of an AI-generated influencer.

Kathleen Caulderwood/ABC News

Moreover, Erch highlighted their process, which involves scrutinizing for imperfections. “A lot of times, there’ll be extra fingers or extra limbs,” Erch noted.

They further emphasized the importance of ensuring that forthcoming posts align with the entity’s background and persona. “If it’s something completely off, then obviously you can’t go with that,” Erch added.

Erch underscored that individuals of all age groups have the opportunity to interact with artificial intelligence in a low-risk setting.

“AI is poised to become increasingly prevalent,” Erch remarked. “Thus, experimenting with it can be advantageous for both the younger and older demographics.”

Nevertheless, some activists caution against the risks associated with AI-generated social media content.

While the promotion of fashion influencers may appear innocuous, Leibowicz, from the Partnership on AI, cautioned that similar tactics could be employed to manipulate users on weightier matters.

“We don’t want that same technology to be used to cast doubt on much more,” Leibowicz expressed. “While it may seem harmless for influencers to tout a new lipstick as life-changing, there are higher-stakes scenarios than lipstick, in my opinion.”

The company acknowledged that the disclaimers on 1337’s profiles might not be as explicit as when some initial profiles were disclosed as AI-generated. According to the company, writers have the discretion to determine the information divulged about an entity.

TikTok mandates users to label AI-generated content per its content policies. Meta, the parent entity of Instagram and Facebook, recently announced intentions to label content produced by OpenAI, Midjourney, and other AI products.

Nick Clegg, Meta’s head of global affairs, expressed optimism about this development, stating, “I hope this marks a significant stride in ensuring that individuals are aware of the content’s source.”

As the distinction between human-generated and artificial content blurs, individuals are eager to ascertain the delineations, as per Clegg.

While labeling provides a degree of oversight, Leibowicz cautioned about its potential limitations.

“There’s an appeal to affixing a badge on TikTok or a sticker on Instagram denoting, ‘This is fake,’” Leibowicz remarked. “However, the extent of public concern and its practical application remain open questions.”

Irrespective of the approach taken, it is evident that AI is an enduring presence, as affirmed by M.B., Erch’s guardian.

“The Pandora’s box has been opened,” she asserted. “AI is a force that cannot be contained,” the statement concluded.

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Tags: , , Last modified: March 22, 2024
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