One Spanish modeling agency has found a cost-effective solution to the tricky problem of working with unreliable influencers: artificial intelligence.
Meet Aitana López, a 25-year-old pink-haired woman from Barcelona, who once earned up to €10,000 ($10,900) in a single month and currently has over 126K followers on Instagram.
Her creators—Barcelona-based modeling agency The Clueless—have dubbed her the first Spanish AI model. Agency founder Rubeñ Cruz told Euronews he was inspired to design López because his agency found human models and influencers too difficult to work with.
“We started analyzing how we were working and realized that many projects were being put on hold or canceled due to problems beyond our control,” he said. “Often it was the fault of the influencer or model and not due to design issues.”
Adding that, “we did it so that we could make a better living and not be dependent on other people who have egos, who have manias, or who just want to make a lot of money by posing.”
The Clueless co-founder Diana Núñez told Fortune they no longer have to worry about the “skyrocketing costs” often charged by influencers and that López brings in €3,000 ($3,300) on average every month, mostly from social media ads (though she’s recently become an ambassador for a sports supplement brand as well).
The Clueless’s website describes López as “a content creator” who is “a passionate Scorpio” and a lover of fitness and video games. Taking the time to craft López’s appearance and personality has proved to be beneficial not just financially; she has true fans and is becoming a brand in herself—a boon in a market becoming more saturated with virtual personalities by the day.
“Even after the media revealed she was an AI creation, many followers still expressed their love for her,” said Núñez, adding that a famous anonymous actor had even called the agency hoping to ask López on a date.
She may be Spain’s first AI model, but Aitana López is by no means the first of her kind. Back in May, influencer CarynAI created an AI version of herself she rented out as a “virtual girlfriend” for $1/hour. The chatbot eventually got too horny and went rogue, though this hasn’t stopped similar AI influencers from springing up like mushrooms after a rain. This growth isn’t surprising considering how cheap and simple the explosion of LLMs like Chat-GPT and AI-powered image generators like Midjourney and Stable Diffusion have made creating AI personalities. Earlier this year, Futurism reported finding dozens of AI-generated influencers generating thousands of reactions while thirst-trapping across various social media platforms.
Meanwhile, concerns regarding the implications of ignoring privacy issues (what data sets are being pulled from to create these AI influencers?), the mental health of younger generations (are more easily accessible and buildable parasocial relationships a good thing? (no)), and monetization ethics and structure (what happens to human creators? How do brand deals for AI influencers even work?)—among countless other things—seem to largely be falling by the wayside. This is concerning, considering how fast AI is moving and how slow laws are to catch up to the tech.
One thing is for sure: Virtual characters and AI-generated personalities are wildly cheap, adaptable, and reliable compared to their human counterparts. They aren’t going anywhere. It’s us I’m worried about.