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Artificial Intelligence Credit: Pixabay

China creates the world’s first AI generated idol group

  • The Erciyuan, or “two-dimensional” idols, are the latest craze in China’s exploding tech revolution
  • Luo Tianyi, a hologram, is already selling out Chinese stadiums to thousands of enthralled fans.

Mei Wei VIV is the latest offering from the idol farm that bred SNH 48, the 200 member girl band from Shanghai, whose unfortunate members live or die in the pressure cauldron of incessant general elections and online popularity tallies.

But, unlike their sister group, Mei Way VIV will never involve themselves in scandals, will never age and can be everywhere, simultaneously, attending to the individual needs of fans.

May Wei VIV are assembled by big data, every song is machine learned and each face is a combination of the most appealing human idols that have preceded them.

May Wei VIV will appear alongside their ‘real-life’ sisters in SNH48 when the profit machine begins churning out its latest content across all platforms.

They’ll not only appear alongside SNH48 in music videos but will also appear in “anthropomorphic form” at the SNH48 owned theatres up and down China.

What is meant by appearing in “anthropomorphic form” could allude to the use of holograms on stage, but it’s still anyone’s guess. 

Having a virtual group, powered by artificial intelligence that predicts audience behaviour is the latest advancement in the war for the most precious resource in the digital age; user’s attention.

The investors behind May Wei VIV will be hoping that the virtual girls will entice audience eyes to stay focused on them, so as to get the people’s brains to gulp down the adjacent advertisements, and so the current attention economy evolves.

The original 200 girl phenomenon SNH 48 is an imitation of the Japanese idol group AKB48, where the concept of ‘idol’s you can meet’ was first trialed.

Having 200 members means market monopolisation. The same band can perform simultaneously in a multitude of different cities on the same night, giving the feeling that the revered idols are just within reach and the delusional hope that they can be directly accessible to every fan.

This dream of direct accessibility is encouraged by the fact that fans must hard-wire themselves into the SNH48 online ecosystem just to consume the latest tracks; which are only released on the official social media platform.

When jacked into the official online platform, fans can live in the world of SNH48, 24/7.

A hyper-world of ponytails, scrunchies, princesses and beach holidays, where cuteness is the currency.

And here they can discover much more about their favourite idol, here the dream of direct contact is propagated.

Fans can soak in the endless live streams of the day to day activities of their favourite idols and are offered the hope of a reply from their idol through the direct message option.

But there are only 200 idols, attempting a direct relationship with millions of fans, and predictably the replies don’t arrive, or they are too generic and so besotted fans can become riddled with a sense of rejection.

This problem manifested in 2016 with the attempted murder of the popular idol Tang Anqi.

Tang Anqi was covered in oil and set on fire in a Shanghai cafe and suffered 80% burns to her body.

It is now suspected that a deranged fan named ‘Miyamoto’, who was the leader of one of Tang Anqi’s largest fan clubs, was the perpetrator.

Even the countless SNH48 ‘handshake events’, where fans queue for hours to touch their god, is not interaction enough to achieve a lasting fan devotion.

Fans are fickle and the owners know that idols can fall out of appeal and easily become last months flavours.  

So, it is hoped that this interaction problem can be solved by the advent of May Wei VIV, who will be able to change in harmony with the transient tastes of the fanbase.

During the creation of virtual idols, the looks and characteristics of the simulacra are constructed from big data correlations that show what appeals to the SNH48 fan base.

These AI-powered girls will be everywhere, simultaneously and actively engaging with the specific needs of each fan, based upon access to big data trawls of audience personal details.

The machine learning idols will be able to tailor their conversations with fans, simulating a direct experience, each fan being gratified by the feeling of being personally recognised and directly addressed, their individual needs met.

This is achievable because the creators have teamed up with online networking company Tencent in order to create May Wei VIV, presumably Tencent will provide the access to user personal details as they own WeChat, China’s biggest social network, and messaging service.

Another bonus of having a virtual group of holograms is that they will never cause scandal.

Virtual idols will cause zero harm to youngsters as they won’t yield to the temptations.

As In recent years, even the fabricated girls of SNH48 have proven to have human frailties with allegations of drug use or sex addiction.

The May Wei VIV girls will never fall foul of making an ‘ethical mistake’.

They’ll be as pure as lilies and be young forever and always be there for every single fan.

But, there may not be much difference between the manufactured simulacra of the reality-based SNH48 and the new hyper-reality based hologram group May Wei VIV.

As one fan of the virtual idol, Luo Tianyi put it, “I cried when she sang the last song of the night while the audience shouted ‘encore.’ The scene moved me deeply”.

Beware, artistic decisions are already being surrendered to the machine…

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