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Social media influencer/model created from AI lands 100 sponsorships (allkpop.com)
471 points by amin on Sept 14, 2021 | hide | past | favorite | 305 comments

I love to see the cultural differences between korea/japan and the West on the matter of artificial stuff. Whereas in the West people would try to hide fakeness as much as possible, people in the far East have a much more candid view of it.

In the West we do understand and like artificiality, but we really want to contain it to the realm of fiction. When some artificiality spills out in the “real” world we raise red flags: “tssk, this temple is not authentic, it burned down 80 years ago and they rebuilt it from scratch”

In the East, there is a deep philosophical difference that I would like to understand better - if anyone can point to any reference on that matter? It’s like people have understood that fiction and artificiality are part of our lives, cause people embellish things all the time, and we humans are happy when we believe in things. So instead of being suspicious, they let themselves invaded by artificiality, not unlike the way Western people create emotional connection with novel characters, but in real world situations.

And I mean why not? In the West, we get cartoon character-based advertising, we get actor-based advertising. How is AI-based influencer (that doesn’t hide the fact that it’s artificial) is any different? If Tony the Kellogg’s tiger had an instagram account, we’d find it totally normal. Here is the same, except that we just jumped over the uncanny valley.

There is a lot to talk about on the subject and doesn’t fit in a hn comment :-)

An art historian friend of mine explained to me one thing that could be part of the explanation. He said that in the East, what is valuable in art is the perfection of the human movement and technique, not the actual output artifact.

For instance, if you were to burn down the Monna Lisa, from a westerner perspective you have destroyed all that was valuable in the art. From an easterner perspective, you can reproduce the painting, as long as you prepare the materials in the same way and you use the exact same techniques that were used in composing the original. At that point, whatever you output, is exactly the same as the original and has exactly the same dignity.

Same with rebuilding a temple. As long as you use the same materials and the same building technique, even if it was burned to the ground originally it's still the same building.

The craft is fundamental, the artifact is incidental: it is just an embodiment of the craft.

No idea whether it is true, but it's interesting.

The corollary of all of this is that copying, mimicry and imitation is not lesser art.

Historically Asian artists and musicians imitated master's styles. Only after you are fully mastering the previous style, you can add something little of your own. "Confucian notion that all forms of creativity are for the collective; any copying or imitating is a high form of flattery, honoring one’s ancestors" [1]

This can extend to intellectual property and copying in industrial production. Making copies of products of others is seen very differently in China "Mutual reliance and sharing for the good of all have been most important for centuries in China, quite unlike the American belief of ownership of copyright and prot protection for the copyright holder."[1] "Intellectual property rights also do not show up in philosophical works or in literature, because of the general belief that knowledge cannot be owned. As we have seen, copying was a virtue in artistic production, and profiting from knowledge and artistic production was immoral." [2]


[1] The Dissonance between Culture and Intellectual Property in China. Southeast Review of Asian Studies . 2008, Vol. 30, p182-187. 6p.

[2] Intellectual Property Rights and Chinese Tradition Section: Philosophical Foundations. Journal of Business Ethics, Vol. 69, No. 1 (Nov., 2006), pp. 1-9 (9 pages)

> Historically Asian artists and musicians imitated master's styles. Only after you are fully mastering the previous style, you can add something little of your own.

This sounds euro- or western-centric, which is interesting because it is how we've been taught the world is: everything of highest esteem originated in Europe, and different European cities were the cultural capital of the world at different times in history.

There may be some truth to that, but you're not recognizing the original and creative Asian art that does not imitate or derive from European influences.

My take on this whole AI-created influencer is that younger generations (putting aside race and ethnicity) prize beauty and perfection at the cost of human connection and personal stories in the "art" or "celebrities" they follow or admire.

My background is in the arts. I was taught that during most of the 1900s, art was about the process and what gave it value. The output was just an effect of the process of creation. Why did artists put such value in the process? Because that is precisely what is so hard to replicate. The final result (end product) is easier to mimic. The story behind the art is irreplaceable and as personal as the artist's soul, as trite as that may sound.

I would go as far as to say all artists, including Asian ones, understand this, which is what creates such a huge divide between "real art" and "massively produced art," where the human element is lost and things are produced in a "lab."

East/West cultural differences are very fascinating. I wonder if wider spread knowledge of this cultural disregard for intellectual property would have impacted the Western Capitalist drive to "crack the East". I am probably a bit older than most readers here on HN, being 57; I remember during the 70's a major American business initiative being trying to establish business operations in the "newly opened China". A great book about that era is "China Man", a book covering the multiple attempts and failures by American business to capitalize on China's new openness during the 70's and 80's due to gross cultural misunderstandings on both sides.

> Historically Asian artists and musicians imitated master's styles. Only after you are fully mastering the previous style, you can add something little of your own.

Yet there is a huge amount of poor imitations coming from Asia... Imitations are a good way to learn, but they don't make you the master, just (maybe) some master. Imitation doesn't let you learn the reasoning behind the process that leads to the result you imitate.

There is a huge amount of poor X coming out of every region that creates great X. Look at the amount of horrible software that comes out of Silicon Valley, or the garbage electronics out of Shenzhen. And yet the successes are overwhelming.

I disagree. Japan, Taiwan, Korea are a good examples. They started by copying and making cheap trash. Gradually improving and catching up. It was not until the 80s when people started to notice that Japanese quality was up. Korea and Taiwan followed.

The genius of the Mona Lisa is not the craft. It's not a photorealistic interpretation of the sitter. Everything about it is to be viewed through the lens of da Vinci. It's a window into the world at that time; even though it's completely different period it's almost achingly _human_. The value of the Mona Lisa is not in its materials or craft, it's in its influence over hundreds of years and the millions it has inspired.

edit: this is obviously my Western interpretation, informed by culture/upbringing/milieux etc. So it's interesting to hear a divergent view. Obviously I don't think my POV is objectively true but I do think it holds value.

One thing I keep wondering about is how this squares with the fact that the Mona Lisa we all know is, most likely, not what da Vinci actually painted. There was this recent article:


about a copy of Mona Lisa that was apparently done side-by-side with the original, and looks entirely different. The article implies it looks the way the original would be, if not for the layers of centuries old varnish covering it. Viewed side by side, the two paintings deliver completely different experience.

I've read a bunch of similar articles about other famous work of arts (temple frescos, Greek statues) - it seems that the old art we see today usually looks nothing like it looked at the time it was made.

There's a fairly sensationalist TV show in the UK where art owners submit pieces they believe to have been misattributed works of note to a panel of experts who adjudicate (https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b01mxxz6 - Fake or Fortune).

By far my favourite bit is the restoration where they painstakingly remove the varnish that's been left to fester over the years. Obviously not easily done on the Mona Lisa but the difference is absolutely remarkable. That's actually another point that makes me disagree with the "value is in the craft" argument. Art is not static, it changes over time.

If you're interested, this episode has a great restoration, starting somewhere in the middle and revealed at the end: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mv6m8aHAtTM

If you like restoration videos I'd recommend https://www.youtube.com/c/BaumgartnerRestoration

Great attention to detail and mastery, from what I can tell as someone who knows nothing of the subject!

> Viewed side by side, the two paintings deliver completely different experience.

They look nearly identical to me. It's just that the color balance is a bit different. You can apply a simple, smooth, monotonic, contrast change to the colors and change one into the other (except for the red shirt).

Different people respond to different aspects of art. To me, original Mona Lisa has always looked boring and somewhat depressing. The copy here is the opposite - it feels energetic, lively, content. Even if it's just the color balance that's the difference, I find it to be a huge one.

Between your perspective and mine, there's of course countless others - few paintings have had as much said and written about them as Mona Lisa. But, it turns out, most of those words were written not about what da Vinci painted, but what his work decayed into. It makes me view all those words in a completely different light.

I think this is a kind of Sympathetic Magic, and more specifically Law of Contagion. Original Mona Lisa is valuable in large part because it was in contact with da Vinci. A perfect replica would not have this quality. That's why mundane items that used to belong to famous people are often cherished.

It's interesting to read suggestion that Western culture might place more value in this "magical quality".

I agree with this interpretation. The craft can be copied and learn, but da Vinci (as any human being) was unique and unrepeatable. Perhaps the root of all this issue is how East and West treat individualism vs collectivism.

I'm no expert in anything relevant, but this comment and the parent strike me as great examples of Western Individualism and Eastern Collectivism; the idea that da Vinci as an individual creates some view of the world through his being, not just his output, that should be revered. It seems a given that if one had the talent to reproduce the Mona Lisa by hand then the output should be just as remarkable as the original, but as a Westerner I kind of understand that it wouldn't be appreciated in the same way if at all.

But it's not even really about Mona Lisa, the painting. Had the Mona Lisa been the only work of Leonardo da Vinci that the world knew about, it would be considered a work of at best minor significance. Mona Lisa is significant because it was painted by Leonardo da Vinci and da Vinci is significant due to the sum total of his artistic work.

Unless you also have the genius to recreate the sum total of da Vinci's impact on the world, you will never be able to recreate the Mona Lisa, because the Mona Lisa, as Art, only exists in the context of that impact.

As a Westerner, I revere the person who makes an amazing mathematical or scientific contribution. I respect those who understand it and who can use it. I revere the person who extends it. Mimicry, no matter how complete, is not the same as genesis.

Craft in painting is very different from how supposedly well a painter reproduces reality. Whatever I said also applies to non-figurative painting as well, say Mondrian or Kandinsky. In fact, it applies to any form of art that has nothing to do with reproducing reality.

The underlying philosophy beneath "art is the craft" is that, if you follow the craft, you are seeing the world through the lens of da Vinci.

I do agree with much of your final statement, by the way. What the Monna Lisa has done for art an humanity through all those centuries is irreplaceable. That would not go away if the painting were to burn today, so it's not a point in favor of considering the artifact as more important than the craft.

In fact, the best way to preserve its potential future influence would be to store the technique to reproduce it perfectly, rather than the object itself or a photograph of it. Because people undergoing the process of recreating the painting as da Vinci did it would get knowledge and inspiration in the process.

> Craft in painting is very different from how supposedly well a painter reproduces reality.

I completely agree! Apologies if my original comment suggested otherwise. If a reproduction is the exact same as the original, then it's still two completely different types of craft. One is a genius, the other a copier.

I think that this is also part of the craft/craftmanship, it's not just the tools but the knowledge and inspiration to use them, to express something. It's that entire package that's more valuable than the end resulting physical object.

Do we get part of that vision/window of the world from a high resolution digital reproduction of the painting? Could we get most of it from a (very good) replica too? Would most people know the difference if we swapped the original for a replica in Le Louvre? Or let's say the painting gets damaged and restored by artists. Did we lose that vision?

A big part of the beauty I see in the Mona Lisa is that she doesn't so shamelessly and stereotypically pander to the Male Gaze the way Rozy and her ilk are meant to do.


Mona Lisa's enigmatic female gaze shows dignity and respect towards women in a way that Rozy doesn't.

Because Mona Lisa wasn't designed first and foremost to pedal consumer products to creepy horny heterosexual men like Rozy, "the newly rising blue-chip in the advertisement industry", which I see as quite ugly beneath the superficial surface.

And that kind of ugly runs deep.


> Same with rebuilding a temple. As long as you use the same materials and the same building technique, even if it was burned to the ground originally it's still the same building.

When I visited South Korea, I was amazed that how some pavilions in palace complexes are destroyed, burnt, stolen in entirety, repeatedly and rebuilt.

Their attitude was "things happen. we just rebuild them, eh?".

Haha, yeah, I remember somewhere in Japan there’s also a temple with an information sign that casually lists the years in which it was burnt down and rebuild a bunch of times.

Actually, I imagine that’s true for a whole lot more than one temple.

Also in Japan there's this temple that they rebuild every 20 years:


It seems Japan and South Korea was pretty unfriendly against each other in the past, to put it mildly. :)

Addendum: Hey, this is an impression I got from Palace Complex Pavilions' information cards. I have nothing against either nation.

I don’t think the problem people have is this observation. It’s verifiably true. It’s just not super relevant to the point at hand.

> My life's work is not what I've made, it's who I am when I sit in front of a blank file. If I lost everything, I would have lost nothing.

-- Kroc Camen

Thanks for the perspective. The closest western way of thinking to be is, "It is not the about the destination but the journey". The whole concept also reminds me of Eckhart Tolle's "Life is the dancer and you are the dance?", which is a very different way of thinking about yourself as the changing and moving thing instead of a fixed person.

> The closest western way of thinking to be is, "It is not the about the destination but the journey"

For the Mona Lisa, I think favoring the original is caring about the journey. You can use the same techniques but you can never recreate the circumstances the painting was made in.

In the dichotomy of destination and journey, using the same craft to recreate a centuries-old portrait gets you something like an A for destination but a D+ for journey.

For a temple, the craftsmanship is probably a bigger part of the journey, but it's still only a part.

Borges made a funny investigation of this idea in the realm of literature:


> At that point, whatever you output, is exactly the same as the original and has exactly the same dignity.

Except that it's not made by a specific person who lived 100's of years ago. That is impossible to restore, no matter what.

I get the idea of art being human movement, but I'm wondering if what's valued in the west is the act of movement by specific individual rather than the output artefact?

Could you tell the difference between the original and a well made replica of the Mona Lisa? I absolutely couldn't.

I get what you're saying, and I understand why we (in the west at least) believe it matters, but should it, really?

An expert could. Pigments change with time.

In a rebuilt temple there is an artistic value, but the main interest is not there. Is in the occupation of the place. "We were able to fight against the countless attempts of other people willing to displace us and use the soil in their own interests. This proves that we are a strong and successful community".

Behind the art lies a political game and a fight for power. Everything else is replaceable.

In fact improving the place is a basic strategy to keep the appeal to the public what pays for this and rebuild ASAP is essential to keep the place in the same hands and the money flowing.

Paintings like the Mona Lisa are powerful in a more subtle way. Can't be linked directly with political parties or kingdoms; Is just an anonymous woman. The main theme here is celebrating femininity.

So is much more powerful than "just another Buda statue bigger than those from Shelbyville". Unlike a local religion Mona Lisa can connect easily with the entire humanity.

Old paintings can be symbols of power also, but people normally don't give the same value to "this wall of the room has been always occupied by identical copies of a painting of a woman in the last 1000 years". A photo does not have the same value as a painting.

It is part of the perceived importance. My wife's an (western :) ) artist and I have spend uncountable hours discussing exactly this subject with her and her artists friends.

Even if you could not see / proof the one picture being the real one, their believe is rock solid that the original has higher (emotional) value.

The idea that the original hand, in the original moment, with the original intentions made one object and the not the other, is of paramount importance.


My art of preference is mostly music (and secondly film), and I'm of the same persuasion as those you describe when it comes to an original song. But I always attributed that to my percieved ability to hear the soulful intent of the original artist in the performence, whether by voice or by instrument. I may be fooling myself there, but I at least find it more plausible there than in, say, a painting.

I absolutely understand their viewpoint, even if I may not believe it myself.

Of course that is important to artists. We all have egos, and their hand, the creator's hand, has more value to them.

Yet, this does not mean the viewer shall have the same perspective. For them, the stimulus, not the source, may be more important.

A history buff going to a museum and seeing the sword carried by a famous general in a famous battle that they have read all about will means something very different than seeing an identical sword from the same time period that was just found in an old storage facility.

The historical artifact aspect of art is quite similar and to many people equally important.

And that philosophy maps down to the artist- the artist is a tool, s/he is replaceable with a thousand others, given enough training. There is no individual spark, burning only in one mind, producing something that exceeds previous known art or artifacts. This mindset is a trap and holding back a whole region.

There are shrines in japan that have been rebuilt every 20 years for over 1000 years - and they are still considered the same shrine. This definitely seems to coincide with this idea.

> this temple is not authentic, it burned down 80 years ago and they rebuilt it from scratch

As a South Korean, I would like to understand the viewpoint of the "West" better. What is not authentic about rebuilt temple? No one is trying to mislead, restoration does not try to hide the fact it was restored.

Buildings require maintenance, so even buildings that is continuing to stand is not the same building, in the style of ship of Theseus. Difference from "rebuilt from scratch" is not clear cut.

Maybe wooden buildings make this clearer than stone buildings?

I don't know about "the west", but I can give my own (Swedish) perspective on authenticity and age: The church in my village is quite new, about 150 years old. But it's built on the site of a much older church. The new church has a large bowl of carved limestone that where preserved from the old church. It's about 900 years old and is used for babtisms. Touching that old bowl gives me a tremendous sense of perspective, a feeling of belonging to a continium of people that has loved this place. The item itself is the important thing. I don't care that they have performed babtisms here for 900 years. The ritual is not important to me and I don't belive in that stuff anyway. I suppose it comes down to a cultural sense of whats real. To me, rituals and traditions are flimsy constructs. The new church is just like any other new building. But the material thing, the limestone bowl, thats real.

Maybe this is it. Rebuilt-from-scratch temples have name continuity. To me, traditions and names are no less real than material things.

Edit: e.g. I lived in Suwon, where Samsung Electronics is headquartered. From historical records, we know it was also called Suwon in the 8th century, more than 1000 years ago. I think this sense of wonder is no less real than touching of 1000 years old artifacts.

cultural difference explained in two forum posts... Why do so many people have difficulties in doing it as simply as that ?

Cultural differences don't need to be simple.

Honestly as a westerner I'm not quite sure what they are talking about either, because all your points seem valid to me.

If I'm to wager a guess they had a bad example because buildings and art are often restored. Maybe they were talking about types of entertainment? But I'm not sure I buy that either because of the popularity of reality television. And also because what the article is about just seems like a natural extension of your typical Disney pop star.

> No one is trying to mislead, restoration does not try to hide the fact it was restored.

The problem isn't the dishonesty, I'd just be disappointed that it's not the original thing because the original thing is infinitely more complex and layered and informative than a reconstruction. All the tiny flaws and subtle details you can find in the original can be lost in a reconstruction.

Buildings & architecture aren't my passion so it's harder for me to feel this about stuff like restored temples, but I sometimes feel this about things that I am passionate about.

It's like in the movie Inception (2010) [SPOILERS AHEAD]:

    Cobb: I can't stay with her anymore because she doesn't exist.

    Mal: I'm the only thing you do believe in anymore.

    Cobb: I wish. I wish more than anything. But I can't imagine you with all your complexity, all your perfection, all your imperfection. Look at you. You are just a shade of my real wife. You're the best I can do; but I'm sorry, you are just not good enough.

Yeah, but you will eventually run out of quirks of the material and slide back to the domain of human lives. You start to wonder why the technique changed slightly at a point to learn that the old mason died and his apprentice took over and so on.

At some point, you will surely start to wonder "what does that mean for MY life?" and one thing that comes to mind is "how did the institutions that enabled something this complex to come to be and survive for so long worked, compared to what we have now?" and that is the moment the wooden castle rebuilt every couple of years is really the same as the stone chapel.

I don't think East vs West is a fair generalization of this attitude. In Thailand someone is building an Angkor Wat replica and the Cambodian government is protesting because they see it as somehow cheapening the original. Angkor Wat has undergone very little reconstruction and where it has it's only sections which can be mostly rebuilt from original fragments. In Vietnam you can visit lots of temples that are complete rebuilds. In Cambodia there are hundreds or even thousands of ancient temples, none of which have any restoration done, and there is no movement to do any.

I would say the West sees the Theseus' ship as the same ship but rebuilt some scratch as not the same ship and that's where we draw the line.

The surprising part is nobody argues we should restore pyramids and repaint/reattach arms of roman statues. This makes me feel like there's the additional requirement that it needs to be a continuous process of restoration and you can't just restore it to what it was hundreds of years ago.

Restoration using traditional and well-documented techniques are perfectly "authentic". A modern replica pyramid built with steel and concrete, not so much.

An actual replica pyramid built using traditional methods? Not sure, but I would love to see it. :D

Restoration using traditional and well-documented techniques are perfectly "authentic".

Except people don't want "authentic", they want what they know. No one is suggestion restoring the pyramids to their original look because then they would look 'fake' to most people.

You see it in more mundane situations as well. If a houses was red for 300 years and then white for 150 years, and someone wants to paint it red again a lot of people will complain because that building has 'always' been white and red will feel inauthentic, even if you can prove with historical documentation that red was the original 'authentic' color.

The awe and wonder I get from an old building comes from 3 things:

1. This building is beautiful. 2. How did they build this all that time ago? For example, the Great Pyramids, Stonehenge, or a large stone cathedral built 800 years ago. 3. The sense of unbroken continuous activity in this building from the time it was built until now. Which connects me to history and a sense that by being in this place I am a part of something bigger than myself. This is stronger if the type of activity in the building has stayed the same for all that time. E.g. Attending a service in an 800 year old Cathedral makes you feel awe.

#1 Is still relevant if the building is restored, but #2 isn't.

#3 is interesting. If a building was damaged but restored immediately then the sense of continuity might remain intact. But if a building was left unoccupied, or it's use has changed then this effect is lessened. For example, visiting a 500 year old pub is better than visiting a 500 year old building that was recently turned into a pub. Visiting a royal palace in England has some quality to it that visiting Versailles doesn't have because there is no longer a French monarchy. Stonehenge is very impressive (because of #2) and even though some groups have started using it for rituals, there is no real connection to the original builders so it lacks awe on the #3 dimension.

Firstly, I don't think the West is that much against rebuilding, especially when the original was suddenly and tragically destroyed: just look at all the restored old city centers of Europe. This is more akin to healing a wound (of societal memory) to its original state.

However the stance is rather different for reviving long lost buildings, mostly coming from the architecture/archeological scene, not the general public. Their (kinda valid) argument is that these developments can never ever be authentic, and restoring them is anachronistic, driven by nationalism, and the goal is often to restore not only the place but the views of that time. A modern work - that would play homage, or provide a different new meaning - is viewed as actual progression.

I doubt this is an East-West thing at all. In Europe many famous buildings were destroyed in e.g. WW2 and have subsequently been rebuilt, same situation. The "West" here seems to equal the US, which mostly don't have such historical buildings in the first place.

I think "West" itself is a broad generalization. Something that is quite old in America is very new from a Roman point of view. So from that point of view, if an American sees a thousand year old temple, that is impressive/authentic. For, say, an Indian, it is impressive too but they have a bunch of those.

I don't think it's really a common viewpoint in the West. E.g. that temple in Paris that burned down, y'know, the Notre Dame, is being restored, and I doubt many people would see it as "not authentic" just because some parts had to be replaced.

I will! I don’t think they should leave it ruined, but something was definitely lost in the fire. Like a post above said, I do take please and feel connection by looking at a makers mark or accidental slip of the chisel in something built 1000 years ago. It’s the detail and closeness of past lives that we experience from original artefacts that gives their value, to me.

The building that stood there before the fire wasn't "authentic" either by that measure. The building that recently burnt down had been completely renovated and rebuilt several times and looked nothing like the building they first put up. The building that will stand there after this latest round of renovation will be a new building, but it won't be any less 'authentic' than any of the other renovations that came before.

I live in Berlin, which was flattened at the end of WW2 by the Soviet army (and some allied bombers).

Today you'd barely know that happened. My favourite example is Gendarmenmarkt [0] - a square with three church buildings on it.

When I first took a walking tour around Berlin, the guide flatly said "these were built in the 17th century" with no mention of being almost completely rebuilt after the war. That lead to an interesting discussion along the same lines as this (Theseus' ship and all).

I think the difference is the history. Preserving the memory of that destruction as part of the restoration is important. There should be visible scars. By all means restore the building to be functional, a useful part of the city again. But leave some scars. I love that there are still bullet holes in some of the old walls around the city centre.

One of my favourite descriptions of Berlin is actually by Iain M Banks in The State of The Art [1], and it talks about this - that the history is what makes the place so special. Restoring everything so that the history is removed would also remove something unique and special about the city.

[0] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gendarmenmarkt

[1] This is just an extract, there are several references to Berlin in the story, which obviously is well worth reading - https://www.goodreads.com/quotes/794671-there-is-something-a...

There is history in the material. Touching something that has been touched for 100s of years is almost spiritual. Seeing the cracks and splits, the dings and cuts. In the West history is tactile.

And it’s somehow not in places other than the West…? The temples I visited in South Korea were pretty tactile to me.

I think where the maintenance is continuous that has a different quality. Places in Japan are often like this - yes everything has been replaced, but primary timbers etc have not … there is continuity.

I think there is a strong analogy to personal identity here too. All the cells in our body are replaced, but we are still Ourselves! If too much were to be transplanted at once, or things we consider too fundamental, the suffer identity worries.

I don't think the parent implied it isn't but shared the common culture and sentiment in the west.

Maybe wooden buildings make this clearer than stone buildings?

I think that stone vs wood makes a significant difference in two major ways. One is simply time scale. Take Notre Dame as discussed in other places in this thread. While it has been rebuilt many times, it happens once every 150-250 years or so meaning that from the perspective of living memory what is there now has always been there. That is why many people consider the Notre Dame that burnt down the 'real' one and the one that will replace it as 'fake', despite neither on of them looking like the original. With wooden temples that get rebuilt every 50-80 years there is always someone around that remembers the last time it happened, making the framing of the event entirely different.

The other is that stone is very hard to destroy. Meaning that even if stone church burns down and get rebuilt several times there will always been parts of the original church incorporated into the latest building. It is not uncommon for churches in Europe to have visible parts of their foundation the where built 800+ years ago despite most of the church being 'new'. This is what gives something continuity.

> As a South Korean, I would like to understand the viewpoint of the "West" better. What is not authentic about rebuilt temple?

It is not the same building, just because it's the same form at the same place. It lacks the same "Experience" that forged the previous building. There is some value in individuality, at least on the emotional level. For example, every one has parents, but your own parents usually are the one which you consider special.

> Buildings require maintenance, so even buildings that is continuing to stand is not the same building, in the style of ship of Theseus.

Western buildings are usually not getting replaced in its whole. Most parts of the building will remain over its whole life. Similar happening with other old objects. Books are still valued for their age, even if the text they contain can be found elsewhere.

The value of old objects is their age and their history, not their content or function.

The issue is uniqueness. If you can replicate a building exactly as it was 100 years ago, then the original one has no particular value. To make sure to distinguish the original one from a copy, people add value to its uniqueness by saying it can't be replicated 100%.

When I visited Pompeii, I would have loved to see the city rebuilt as how it was originally. They have pictures here and there displaying how the city could have been but I think that the immersiveness would have been much greater if it looked as it was previously.

I have no problem with the original building being restored or rebuit from scratch rather than with copies of that building springing up where'd you least expect it, just like garden gnomes.


> Maybe wooden buildings make this clearer than stone buildings?

I think so: they don't normally require or get this kind of maintenance by replacement. The mortar might be repaired, but the stones tend to be original. The Roman forum, the pyramids, the Sphinx, Stonehenge: all original stones.

Its just some standard applied to Eastern cultures where things are supposed to be unchanged from olden times. Large parts of the many monuments in Europe were reconstructed post second world war. Nobody says they are 'not authentic'.

Oh, I'm sure you guys will have this one figured out soon. :D


> If Tony the Kellogg’s tiger had an instagram account, we’d find it totally normal.

This is way too broad a brush. I find these parasocial relations a sign of alienation and rootlessness, here or there, and I'm sure there's plenty of Asians who reject it as well.

> Some people spend their lives interested only in themselves. Almost all Japanese animation is produced with hardly any basis taken from observing real people, you know. It’s produced by humans who can’t stand looking at other humans.

-- Hayao Miyazaki, co-founder of Studio Ghibli

I believe in plenty of things, they just happen to be real, too, which makes it so much better. I believe in justice, for example. I believe in honesty. I believe in a few individuals whom I have a deep connection with. I believe in the beauty I can find everywhere if I just look at just about anything that, as Sophia Scholl said, wasn't created by humans. I never wake up in the middle of the night wondering whether my belief in those and more things is misplaced and just a substitute for something I'm lacking, they're the real deal. That's priceless to me.

You reminded me of a Shrine in Japan they demolish and rebuild every 20 years[0]. I guess they embrace the ephemerality of life.

[0] https://knowledgestew.com/japanese-shrine-rebuilt-every-20-y...

i guess that would also be interesting because the tradition connects us to the past. I wonder if it would be as tactile though… perhaps it’s a more cerebral type of connection, rather than the visceral appeal of something worn and weathered.

I've chatted about this idea with my wife, who worked in museums/curation for a time.

Her view was that where we could make perfect or near-perfect replicas, there's no real reason we should risk having original artifacts on display. In my view, it would be kind of silly to go to a museum just to see a copy.

I think, for me at least, when I see an object in a museum there's one element of "oh, that's interesting design", but also an element of "this is the _actual rifle_ that was used to charge a WWI trench", or similar - something about seeing a real, physical artifact from a history that feels more like stories at times is grounding.

I think at least part of that is a status game.

Conspicuous expense is important and sought after, because by making that expense you show an un-fakeable signal that you are important and can afford the expense. People place the same value in identical replicas because they don't carry that signal.

I suspect that most of the "oh, it has the real weight of history behind it" sentiment is post-hoc rationalization for the status game.

TBH I suspect you're right. I visited Gyeonbokgung palace and loved it, blissfully unaware it's a fairly recent rebuild. Did I only care that it's not original because of implied reduced scarcity? I don't know.

Shinto belief ascribes a spirit to otherwise inanimate objects - and more broadly belief in spirits and unity with the external world are much more prevalent throughout the east.

What is with this East/West bullshit oversimplification?

Humans have a tendency to divide things into two distinct groups with an imaginary gap between them (this v/s that, us v/s them), this comment is just another example of that.

There is so much more to it, but no, apparently it's just East/West. HN is going down the drain, it is the new reddit now.

Well of course this is oversimplifying. But culture as a concept is an oversimplification. It is talking about broad traits of behaviors that can be find in a certain population. For instance, the thai people in general has less transophobia than most countries in the world. It’s just a fact.

Now you can’t deny that it exists some places in Japan where people can rent friends hourly and that some people get really attached to robots or sex dolls.

And it is also true that this feels utterly bizarre to the majority of people in europe or the US.

And it is a totally legitimate question to wonder why.

> In the west … we raise red flags: “tssk, this temple is not authentic, it burned down 80 years ago and they rebuilt it from scratch”

Warsaw was raised to the ground in WWII and they rebuilt the old city, which is a tourist Mecca today. They are proud of the scholarship and repro-craftspersonship and even have a museum just to showcase that.

Hiding "artificial" things isn't universal in the west. From the 1950s, plastic was very much in style.

It's a backlash starting in the 90s against some excesses (pollution, traffic, Tschernobyl) that saw a rising appreciation for the "natural".

That had benefits such as the environmental movement and liveable cities. But it can, again, be misunderstood. The naturalistic fallacy that is not trusting vaccines because "ingredients") is also one of way it manifests, although it's almost entirely on the political right because culture war forces are stronger. It's the third time in a row the right has frankensteined a putatively left-wing concept, after Christianity and Postmodernism.

For architecture, the Bauhaus' form-follows-function ideas are still the starting point. They carry some economic policy ideas as well, from the times after WW2 when housing needed to be rebuild and any ornamental excess was seen as resources that were wasted while people were starving and homeless. Thus came the high-rises (in both east and west Europe).

This idea of "wastefulness" endures. If you rebuild something old, you will be wasteful in that you recreate structures and use materials and maybe methods that have long been superseded. You might also find yourself defending rather outdated ideas of class difference trying to explain why ceiling heights go down as you go up the floors, with the 1st floor "bel êtage" having 15' ceilings and the top floor's servant quarters barely more than half that.

The stucco decoration on a facade used to show that you were rich, because these were elaborately hand-crafted in-place at the time. Now, they are stamped in a factory and glued on. They are tacky because it is false signalling.

I don't think it is true. The main difference is that different culture value the subject differently. If I see a temple, I see the religion it represents, not merely architecture; when you see the Asian temple, you are expecting to see a museum and architect. Authenticity is appreciated equally, but we don't appreciate the same thing equally in different culture.

By contrast, all my readings of zen and Confucianism emphasize sincerity very strongly. Some people attribute this cultural sincerity as causing the high work quality of some Japanese companies. But I’m basing this on books, not experience

I don't have a straight answer to you but I can simplify your question: why there are cultural differences regarding originality?

The West despises copies. In the East copying is normal. The million dollars question: Who is right? Originality grants a better future, copies a better present.

Byung-Chul Han's "Shanzai" has commentary on the temple you mentioned and its removal from the UNESCO list.

According to him, in the East copying was traditionally seen as respectful because to copy something took skill, you copied movement for movement.

I think that on the Western side, there is more "hope" for authenticity than actual authenticity itself.

However, when there is actual authenticity, it tends to be something that pays off from a social media standpoint.

Humans will get used to it. (Technology) Adoption Life Cycle always has the more 'ready' groups leading the way. "the East" is more 'ready' for this type of technology.

> If Tony the Kellogg’s tiger had an instagram account,...

There is a twitter one, and it is quite... lets just say nsfw.

Well, if it helps, the comments (in the article) are as negative as it can get.

They may still identify with the creators

Anyone with more knowledge know how much of this is BS?

She has 60k followers on Instagram which (even if all real) isn't that much. Certainly not anywhere big enough to make 800k a year that the creator claims he plans on making.

They say they have 100 sponsorships but this seems like a marketing statement...influencers all the time talk about how popular they are and I don't see why we should trust the creator of AI influencer more.

I don't see any major brands on her Instagram though I'm not South Korean so maybe I'm missing something - but more likely explanation seems to be that he has partnered with a few companies for a pittance and is overhyping his creation to get more money in.

It's all BS.

"Influencing" is a ponzy scheme. If you can convince people you are trending, you'll trend. If you can convince people you are influencing, you'll influence. Sadly, like all trends, the biggest players are all big fish trying to get in before it dies. This doesn't legitimise it though.

This is just an art project that is trending. They're real photos, with real girls and then the creator will place a flavour (ala thispersondoesnotexist.com) through the use of AI. It's akin to automating your photoshop meme pipeline, but way less creative.

It's marketing all the way down. Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, etc. are all just marketing spirals that occasionally spit out unique content that was made with real hard work. The rest is just cycling through other people's work with faux congrats and advertising for your own "channel".

You might not have noticed, but most people are into celebrities, musicians, actors, YouTubers, TikTokers, Instagrammers, etc. Famous people.

We evolved to compare ourselves to others in order to elevate the fitness of ourselves and our in-group. We look to peers. We take an interest in their gossip. We look at beautiful people, smart people, successful people. We're curious. We're also intrigued by scandalous and dangerous people. It's how we update our mental model of the world and contrast ourselves against it.

I'd be utterly shocked if you didn't, at some level, take an interest in the personal details of some person you don't know.

Virtual celebrities and influencers provide the same sort of dopamine hits that their real life counterparts do, except they can be 100% controlled by a corporation.

You don't even have to look at virtual influencers to know that people will eat them up: lots of people are already addicted to fictional characters. Movies, super heroes, even cartoons and anime. They find pieces of themselves in it. They start to care and take deep interest.

Virtual celebs are the future, and a cottage industry is already cropping up in support of it.

And just wait until people use AR/VR to optimize their own appearances and behaviors.

I'm not trying to argue that being a celebrity is a Ponzi scheme. The virtual ladder being incentivized on current social media platforms is. It's a game, being a celebrity is the end result but mostly people are just in it to make money.

I definitely don't connect to any celebrity other than those I admire for their intelligence and/or skill. So I'm not normal.

> It's a game, being a celebrity is the end result but mostly people are just in it to make money.

Being a celebrity is mostly a way to make money. And with influencers, the "career progression" that almost every upstart vlogger/instagrammer aspires to is pretty well-defined:

1) Provide some kind of entertainment content as a vector to push other people's crap

2) Over time, build up your user base and revenue base, until you become a well-known brand in a given market segment

3) Transition to pushing your own crap, e.g. a line of products with your name on it

Of course, selection is very strong there. Most would-be influencers spend years and fail at step 1. Few achieve step 3. And it can't really be any different, because attention economy is the ultimate zero-sum game: people have only so much hours in the day.

> "Influencing" is a ponzy scheme.

It's not. Influencers ask prices that are relative to how much money they'll make to a particular brand/store. That's why local influencers is a thing. And I was, too, surprised at how much sales they can drive for a simple store.

And what's wrong with marketing? Why is it bullshit? Marketing/influencing costs money, drives sales and drives adoption, all of which are very real and have a real impact in the society they're a part of.

Marketing is selling a product.

Bullshit is selling a lie.

Both are very inefficient and lazy ways to generate interest.

I think you use a different definition of bullshit than the discussion here.

I'll never know. My definition of bullshit follows every definition of the people I've ever discussed with though. That is: Something that does not actually have substance, but may be propped up to be perceived as so.

OP wasn't making any value judgement like this. They were simply questioning if there is actually a story here.

The media tends to notice little phenomena like this and paint them as if it's a cultural megatrend.

Even then, the misunderstanding is in reading the question "is this story BS?" as "is influencing BS?", not in the definition of bullshit.

Using different criteria is more or less a different definition of being BS.

I don't see a way to confirm the story if you do not investigate the likelihood of the value it is "presenting" though.

I'm still confused by these two comments. I don't think we can verifiably claim any personal story on any media outlet is BS or not.

You're talking about whether this kind of account is a scam.

They're wondering whether this specific account is making money.

Those are very different questions. An account can be both, neither, or one or the other.

No. I'm talking about whether it's bullshit. Scam is not the same as bullshit.

I guess Americans use the word bullshit differently to the rest of the English speaking world? Or something else?

If one were to speak bullshit, they'd be doing exactly what I just wrote. No money is involved.

> No. I'm talking about whether it's bullshit. Scam is not the same as bullshit.

You called it a ponzi scheme!

Either way, please listen to the distinction I'm making.

You're talking about ways the industry is bad.

They're asking if the article is flat-out wrong about this single account being successful inside that industry.

Those are two separate ideas to call bullshit on. A bullshit industry can have bullshit success stories, but it can also have true success stories.

>You called it a ponzi scheme!

Yes. And then people had a problem with the word bullshit, for some reason.

It can be both bullshit and a ponzi scheme. That doesn't make bullshit necessarily a scam.

What do you mean by bullshit? People who like it and follow the fake personae on social media are wasting their time? Or what exactly? Are all invented things bullshit, so also books, music, movies, paintings...? Maybe posting this artificial person on social media is just another way to tell a story?

If I photoshop the moon into a picture and post it to a photography forum, most people will pick it up as a bullshit photo.

If I post the same thing to Instagram, most people will applaud me for being such a great photographer.

Everyone is wasting their time. Lots of people like bullshit.

According to Harry Frankfurt, author of On Bullshit, it's when someone makes statements without any regard to their truth.

But how do you define substance? It seems to me if they make money, they have substance, whether what they do is useful in the greater scheme of things or not.

I must admit I don't quite understand your attitude. I personally for example have no interest in "the Kardashians" and would consider their story "bullshit" in a way. On the other hand, they clearly made a shitload of money. So maybe it would be better to analyse what is going on and why it works.

Another example that I personally consider mostly BS is professional sports. But clearly billions of people are into it and a lot of money is being made. Rather than calling it BS, perhaps it is more interesting to think about what might be going on, and what human need seems to be fulfilled by these things.

I was also reminded of "Hello Kitty" which seems to have been going strong for decades. Maybe, among other things, people just buy into this phantasy of a happy world were everything is fine. I personally bought some Hello Kitty mugs for fun a while ago because using them gave me a little jolt of happiness. Even though it is "commercial BS".

Substance is much more than money (to me). Why use the word if we all use it differently indeed...

Eh it's not a Ponzi scheme as far as influencers go. They are the new TV/movie celebrities and share fame with those groups. Plenty have been around for years now, sure there are rises and falls and fans are more fickle than in the past. Unless instagram and twitter and tiktok die soon they're going to be around a while, even though boomers and gen-x often greatly dislike them; those aren't the audiences they are trying to appeal to.

When you try to start your own channel on YouTube, or get viral in any form, you realise just how true of a ponzy scheme it is. Even original, well created work is hidden until someone grabs it and runs with it.

Easiest way for that to happen? Spam. Lots of spam. Instagram audiences aren't fickle, or at least they're not deterred by playing the game. They are extremely easy to offend though, and follow very serious moral trains. i.e. the head of the dragon changes directions fast but the body keeps in toe regardless of how they feel.

Just click on any of the top trending videos on Reddit or YouTube, you'll see a bunch of familiar faces saying the following. The more niche the topic, the more niche the channel spammers.

"Hey this video was great! Good job! -- seoulmetro walking tours".

I'm young so all these social outlets are what are left for me. But they're just way too tiring so I usually ignore the feeds.

South Korean here. Shinhan Life ran a TV commercial of Rozy. It's not BS.

She does make money, but that's not the only part of the equation.

Rather, people are becoming more and more annoyed by the repeating news articles trying to hype this thing. Also, young people around me gives absolute-zero-f** about this thing.

I should put it this way: boomers don't realize that influencer marketing is the most boomer thing to do these days.

I don't agree with you. I have seen it first hand. Girls find makeup artists they like on youtube that do looks they like and then they follow their recommendations. There are so many options out there. How do you choose? Follow the advice of an influencer. It repeats across the entire market, across all demographics. Building a relationship and then leveraging it. Doing (buying, in this case) something based on the recommendation of another person is basic human behavior. I don't think you should write it off as a boomer thing so easily.

> There are so many options out there. How do you choose? Follow the advice of an influencer.

That's the boomer perspective that I wanted to point out. Where's the internet in this flow? Where's the community? Where's google? I know the above statement is simplified, but what matter is the linking logic, which can be radically different b/w generations.

One thing boomers don't recognize is that, unlike the celebrities from the last generation, influencers are contributors, not rulers or leaders. They make practical contributions to their communities, and, in return, they earn trust, which then can be utilized for monetization. It's not like someone great bam comes in and become a star (which is the exact strategy of this artificial influencer. So boomer, eh?)

Also it's worth noting that the internet community is that it offers more information and raw data than the sum of influencers can ever offer. Follow the recommendation of an influencer? Pf, it's just mere a drop in the vast ocean. A proper digital-literate - and MZs are the first digital native generation - will search other sources, cross check the information, and, naturally, expand it even further. As more effort goes in to these steps, the significance of influencers drops rapidly.

So, I want to say that the influencer marketing can't be a key strategy these days. Rather, it's just an element in the usual advertisement campaign. The most critical part is the community engagement.

If you were South Korean, you'd realise how much the marketing sphere of Korea is influenced by passing fads and memes. There's never a single thing that hasn't been picked up by at least one larger person to try run their luck at a new trend.

TV commercial does not make it not BS. There are lots of things in Korea that are utter BS but get a lot of attention, and people are generally fearful of missing out.

WTF if you were South Korean? I was born in South Korea and lived here for 35 years.

I am saying creators are probably not lying when they project $800k yearly revenue. Yes, you can earn $800k in South Korea entirely by fads, but that was not the question.

Yes. You're the one bringing up the fact that you're South Korean for some reason. I'm rebutting your comment with more information that actually suits Korea.

I know what you're saying, I'm not sure what being Korean has to do with that. And no, no one said you could not earn money in Korea through fads. What does that have to do with what I wrote?

I'm saying they are most definitely capable of lying, especially in cases where lying grants you a huge boost to future results.

Are you replying to the right comment here?

> bringing up the fact that you're South Korean for some reason

It's completely normal to qualify one's perspective, and often beneficial. in fact for people to know whether your comment is an opinion, or based on some actual experience, knowledge, skill, etc, it adds value to the discussion.

In the context of South Korean culture, it's absolutely useful to know the commenter is South Korean.

If we're talking about tea, crumpets, or the rain, I might point out that I'm British.

If you were British, you would know where York is.

It's not saying you don't know. It's saying that, this should be part of your knowledge based on you being British.

I don't see how that's offensive.

Because as others have already explained, that's not what that phrasing suggests. "If you were/you would" suggests that it's a purely theoretical perspective and thus strongly implies "you aren't".

"If you were British..." and "If you are British..." have very different subtext.

No they don't. No it doesn't.

Nuance of the English language, but, "If you were British, you would know where York is", suggests I'm not British, and implies I don't know where York is.

That specific form of the sentence has negative connotations and might be considered divisive in (British) English.

It's essentially a challenge to my honesty, and had you said "if you are" rather than "if you were" it'd be a more amiable challenge, implying I should respond with proof that I know where York is, and not suggest I'm being dishonest.

As I said, it's divisive, but to some may be considered offensive too.

Just one word makes all of the difference.

If you want to suggest I would know where York is by virtue of being British, you might say;

"You will know where York is, because you're British" or "You must know where York is, you're British".

No. It does not suggest that. I use British English and that's not at all what it means. Maybe to those that don't know how to use it correctly and are seeking emotional connotations.

The statement is at most doubting whether you are British, but not dismissing or claiming the opposite.

>but to some may be considered offensive too.

It's offensive that someone might claim to be from somewhere and not understand a very common piece of knowledge from that place. Or at least I might want to claim it to be.

handmodel mentioned "I'm not South Korean", that's why I mentioned it. That's all.

Yes. You mentioned that you were South Korean, so I mentioned it. That's all. So I don't quite understand what warrants a WTF.

I backed up why I disagree that a single spark determines whether it's not BS. I assumed, being in Korea for so long, it'd be a given first thing to bring up when someone asks if hype is actually genuine. So I brought it up. Every fad with even the slightest traction will be overvalued more in Korea, and it will also fall out of favour much faster too. The cycle is very much filled with BS that hasn't started to stink yet.

You should see the investment funded startup scene in Korea. It's very close to throwing anything at the wall and waiting for the one that sticks. Which is a shame given how technologically empowered Koreans are.

I'm still unsure why it made anyone upset. But then again, this is the internet.

p.s: Post is rate limited now, so there was a delay in this reply.

FYI perhaps your misunderstanding of the WTF is because you didn't realise what you said in English?

"If you were South Korean" is exactly saying "You are not South Korean", which sanxiyn rightly took offense to.

As a native English speaker from the colonies, I have zero idea whether "If you were" in this usage is the subjunctive, or if it is a conditional clause, or something else. Maybe I need to take an ESOL course to learn English grammar.

No. It is exactly what it is written as. "If you were at the beach, you would have seen the shark." It's not saying you were there or not, it's saying that you probably should maintain knowledge of the following clause. I suppose it could also mean you were not there. But not always.

I can see why they'd get upset if I was assuming they're not Korean. But that's not what I said or meant.

It would be considered directly saying that if I were to say "You can't be Korean because ____" or "You would be Korean if you ______".

It may not be what you meant, but it is what you inadvertently said.

I think you might be thinking of a similar construct which doesn't imply it's false: "If you're Korean, you realise ...". The "you" here is non-specific, and the phrase doesn't say you're Korean or not Korean. The present tense and lack of speculative "would" are what make the difference.

"If you were at the beach, you would have seen the shark." is saying you were not at the beach, and implying you didn't see the shark.

"If you were tall, you would have been able to see it" is saying you are not tall, and implying you couldn't see it.

The "if", "were", and "would" make the phrase a hypothetical counterfactual, imagining that the statement is true and supplying a consequence, and this means that the statement is actually false (i.e. you were not at the beach). This meaning holds when speaking about a specific "you", like the person you're replying to. I'm sure there's a name for this grammatical construct, but I don't know it.

The sentence may be incorrect, in which case the person you're speaking to could correct it with "I was at the beach, but I didn't see it", "I saw it by climbing on a rock", or "WTF I am Korean". It's possible the speaker may suspect their sentence is incorrect and be using it to ask a question indirectly, inviting correction.

A more general meaning is possible when you're not talking about a specific person, but using the conditional to imagine a group of people or something, e.g. "If you were employed, you could afford it, and if you were on a benefit you could afford it, so most people can afford it." I think this usage is uncommon though, as there are much clearer ways to phrase that sort of thing. It's definitely not the usage you wrote.

Source: Native English speaker, but not trained grammarian. Also wrote way too much because it's late at night and I can't be succinct.

Shinhan (mentioned in the article) is a pretty big financial conglomerate. Twosome Place (in the second picture) is a well-known luxury coffee chain.

Financial chains in South Korea do not usually do influencer marketing. I would guess that the companies are buying not because of the influencer's reach, but because of the novelty of AI and the quality of the art. Presumably their goal is using the character and derived artwork in more traditional advertisements.

Edit: sanxyin confims that Shinhan used the character in a TV ad. I don't watch TV, so I guess I missed it.

"I looked around western social media and don't understand why I don't see what is popular in asia"

60k followers isn't low either especially if it's organic. I have 976 posts and 343 followers :)

I suppose my point, knowing a few people with online followings, is that 60k followers does not translate to 800,000 marketing dollars as the article claims - or even 80k. Even if your had a really profitable niche (which she doesn't).

That being said I see the AI was in TV ads (is this influencer based? or just actor?) so 800k is possible.

I think I don't even believe she's AI generated.

AI seems to be used as a buzzword here, I think this is just a (well-done) 3d model, seeing that they're created by an art studio: http://locusanimation.com/

Yeah, reading the title I thought it would be an image generated by a CNN or a GAN or something, or at least a chatbot piped to a (possibly generated) 3d model but it's nothing like that.

Maybe they're trying to say "AI" to mean "aritifical person" like in William Gibson's Idoru... but it's not even close.

It's one of the most egregious uses of "AI" I've seen in the last few years and I fully expect people to come up to me and say "have you seen the latest AI from Korea?". I'll be in the corner, pulling on my pigtails.

Yeah the title is downright wrong, if not misleading. It had me thinking that thispersondoesntexist got even better.

Gotta love the infinite well of bullshit that advertising is. So here we have CGI faking a person, and then being passed off as "AI" in turn.

I think it's pretty apparent that they are using a "body model" for the body as well which is kind of interesting in itself... It used to be that we'd use CG characters to replace the body of actors, now it's the other way around...

Wait, they're just photoshoping her face? That's a whole less impressive than I thought.

I can't prove it but there's evidence of that in the photos (difference in light transport in the facial skin vs body skin, some inconsistencies in shadows, masking issues around the hair , nail polish, the clothing is a little "too real").

Advertisements are already photo-shopped and completely fake. Knowing that the models are AI generated doesn't change much about that. It could actually have a beneficial effect. If young people (especially girls) know that the images they see on-screen are 100% computer generated, maybe it will reduce their effectiveness at convincing them that the ad is an object worthy of emulation.

I'm sure the advertisers will scientifically test for this effect and use whatever strategy keeps them buying though...

> If young people (especially girls) know that the images they see on-screen are 100% computer generated, maybe it will reduce their effectiveness at convincing them that the ad is an object worthy of emulation.

You think so? Nobody ever wanted to be like Sailor Moon?

Or, to take the canonical Western example, there's been a lot of discussion about the absurd proportions of barbie dolls.

Good point. I don't know why I ever try to be optimistic about industrial practices.

Did Sailor Moon push facial creams?

Wasn't the protagonist supposed to be somewhat of a slob?

Not creams, exactly. But Sailor Moon has always been heavily merchandised. And the Japanese name is "pretty guardian sailor moon" and she says "moon crystal power make-up" and her transformation tool has the shape of a cosmetic kit and ok I'll stop now.

To be clear, this is just the most superficial stuff. That television series was definitely pushing a certain specific and not at all enlightened standard of female behavior and beauty. Not that I think it should be cancelled on Twitter or anything, but I think it's helpful to criticize the media we consume.

The Precure franchise is huge in Japan and is used to sell makeup and toys to girls. It isn't exactly Sailor Moon but it is basically the same thing.



Plenty of western cartoons made to push toys though, e.g. Masters of the Universe.

Or the current menace of parents, Paw Patrol. So far we've managed to avoid exposing our daughter to it, but we know it's only a matter of time.

That's way too optimistic. K-pop idols are already entirely superficial and 90% fake. This doesn't stop people putting them on pedestals for things that are totally constructed.

So are western pop stars though, mostly manufactured by record labels and producers.

You're right. I had a moment of weakness and overoptimism. We really need regulations on advertisers, it's the only way to reduce the harm.

I'd love that a visit to a studio to see how these images are made be part of the mandatory school curriculum.

I think this only works because of the novelty effect.

A big reason why influencers or any kind of celebrity are successful is because enough people aspire to be like them. That's pretty hard to achieve for an AI.

I think vtubers are a counterpoint to that argument. There's a lot of virtual avatar type celebrities on internet platforms in particular and they have had fanbases for a while.

I also don't think people aspire to be like influencers in a 'real' sense. Influencers are hyperreal versions of something fans know they won't actually be, and in that sense artificial characters might even be more interesting.

Vtubers are a really interesting side phenomenon to this. I think part of the appeal of a vtuber is that it seems more fair and effort-based than an influencer -- as far as I can see, you can become a successful influencer with nothing but a pretty face and maybe some good photography/photo editing skills, but in the vtuber world 99% of your success is just your ability to make entertaining content. There are vtubers with janky homemade live2d rigs that manage to be successful despite that, and there are vtubers with beautiful models commissioned by well-known illustrators that remain fairly obscure because the talent behind them is mediocre.

Yes 'codemiko' looks like a good example of how the future will play out.

I don’t know anything about influencers but why would people want to follow (more than for fun) someone that is AI generated? I mean an INFLUENCEr would be someone I aspire to be like. So if i follow a marathon athlete I’d like to be like her, do the same exercises etc. that would be impossible to mimic with a virtual marathon runner.

Replace marathon with ‘coding’ or whatever hobby you have, and I’m sure you’ll find it weird as well

You're reinterpreting what "influencer" means. An influencer isn't someone who influences you to be like them. That's called "role model". An influencer is someone whose job is to influence your purchasing decisions.

Before it became a career, originally "influencer" was a marketing designation for a person who's well-connected within target market's social graph, and thus is the optimal target to hire or manipulate into peddling crap to their followers.

There's nothing here preventing virtual personas from being influencers too. Being a real person who can be emulated is an asset for an influencer, but it's not a necessity - it doesn't matter why people follow you, it matters that they do, and that they are vulnerable to you manipulating them. Having such a network of vulnerable followers is what makes an influencer valuable to sponsors.

If virtual influencers are travelling and taking pictures of themselves at cool places, you can certainly visit those places too. If they take pictures of food (very influencer-y thing to do), you can visit that restaurant and eat that food.

> I mean an INFLUENCEr would be someone I aspire to be like.

It seems not necessary to be.

Arguably we've come far enough that people would be fine with the idea of a completely virtual image projected to them.

I see it two-folds:

- the image influencers are projecting is already detached from most people's reality, they know it's faked but accept it as an ideal to tend towards. Just as we all know movies are full of VFX and 1 in a million charismatic actors that are horrible people IRL, but we still aspire to the projected image.

- having no human being directly attached to the persona means no scandal, no medical issues, no miserable life lived in the shadow of the spotlight and it's beneficial to both producers and viewers. You'll never have your idol smeared by tabloids because they kicked homeless people.

RE your second point, I think there will be scandals. They'll just be 100% scripted[0]. If there's one thing we've learned about the Internet over the past 30 years, it's that people crave drama. Owning a few talking heads on YouTube is good, but having them get into fight is even better - you have an excuse for a nearly infinite stream of reaction videos, reaction-to-reaction videos, apology videos, apology-questioning videos, meta-analysis videos, etc. Viewers binge this, and influencers (and their owners) swim in money.


[0] - Though I think it's safe to assume the big ones today are also scripted. For example, every now and then my wife stumbles on some video from the cosmetics space on YouTube, and holy shit, the makeup-peddling influencers there have been running an ongoing personal drama for some good 3 years now. It will probably last another 3 - viewers seem glued to their seats, and producers just enjoy the viewership and opportunity to peddle some more name-brand makeup.

Heh. Reminds me when League of Legends introduced the character Seraphine as the new member of their virtual kpop group, with a whole twitter account about her "daily life" and stuff.

I remember reading one reddit comment that went "Can't wait for the moment Seraphine gets canceled for something she said in an interview and has to put out a tearful apology video. Gotta hit those real-life influence milestones!"

(of course Seraphine would never actually get canceled; that would require that her writers give her any amount of personality whatsoever)

You might be right, drama is core component to entertainment. Hopefully with virtual representation, we'll have more virtual trash talking and less stalking/doxxing/career destruction.

We're having a taste of that with vtubers, where there's a lot happening, in particular as the money amount moving around are already pretty big, but comparatively way less dire than with actual idols.

Perhaps, but on the other hand something like Hatsune Miku has been around for over a decade and generated a little industry around itself. I don't know about this particular attempt but I wouldn't dismiss the idea as a whole.


I don't think it is "to aspire to be like them", more of a "to aspire to be close to them". The same story for celebrities. You just want good things to those you spend time cherishing. It has nothing to do with whether you think it's real, fake, obtainable or not. BTS aren't popular because people want to be like them, they're popular because people want to be with them.

The males want to aspire to be a member and females to be close. You were both right.

I do think that the novelty effect will quickly wear off.

What is the future for 'virtual humans' after that? Will it be mainly virtual assistants (that people will quickly grow to hate)? Will they come to dominate pornography or say cam sites, and be tarred by that association and then end up ignored in other spheres? on the other hand, if they avoid that fate, they could gradually become a pretty significant force in mainstream film; i think getting popularity there will be a hard road to climb if people first associate them as tacky.

And unless these virtual personalities end up engaging in scripted dramas and celebrity feuds and things like the way (i gather) k-pop bands do etc, they risk people coming to find them extremely boring. Being able to be in more than one place at once is in some ways a disadvantage if it makes them so ever-present that their audience no longer experiences them as part of some kind of narrative, which is what lets people develop feelings for them.

Remember how people used to say that our entertainment was going to become interactive - that movies and TV shows were going to become more like videogames? Well, it's happening, but from the opposite end.

The future looks like a hologram siri virtual assistant.

> Will they come to dominate pornography or say cam sites

I mean, this already happened? https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Projekt_Melody

Agreed, though the title of this article is deeply misleading, there's no AI involved apparently (maybe they swapped CGI/AI for clicks?).

That changes the likelihood of this succeeding though, not only because it has been done before, but because influencers are already deeply artificial (no pun intended), and in the process of becoming successful having a near perfect control of your image through computers might help.

Fails to mention that 80% of the profits are coming from the AI's OnlyFans account. Just kidding. It's insane how many niches like this there are to make some quick money with available open source libraries, if you know what you're doing and you have some time on your side.

I understand where you're coming from in that the technical abilities to create something (someone?) like this may seem like a low barrier to entry.

However, I disagree that this is "quick" money or just a fad. The value of this AI for sponsorships/ads comes more from a team of actual people that scan social media to search for trends, photo styles and carefully helps curate its presence. For example, look at how the first "photo" in the article is created. Notice how the AI isn't looking at the camera? Or how the perspective is somewhat tilted? Overall, the image has many subtle details also very in line with how many millienial/gen-Z Korean girls upload birthday photos from cafes on Instagram.

It feels like Rozy represents a broader movement towards abstracting out the elements that make us resonate with a brand or image more. I think brand strategists and marketers have figured out that the model is more of a vessel to store and convey those elements/emotions and for particular types of ads there is no real need for the model to actually exist in reality. Think about how many ads where you don't know the model in any other context.

Rozy probably adds more value than the nameless models in some sense because there's a persona/brand the team has built up in social media/other ads. Definitely not easy money.

>> Notice how the AI isn't looking at the camera?

It's not an AI!

:pulls pigtails:

> if you know what you're doing and you have some time on your side.

Key point. The AI generated character is the medium; the vast majority of effort was put into the marketing and the "story" of this character.

> Just kidding

Holy crap, I 100% believed you.

> "These days, celebrities are sometimes withdrawn from dramas that they have been filming because of school violence scandals or bullying controversies. However, virtual humans have zero scandals to worry about."

Wait till they make the virtual human “talk” (or put up messages and replies online) and you’ll have scandals very soon. Others have learned this the hard way before.

If we don't already have it now, it's only a matter of time before we have a combination of deep-fake AIs with conversational AIs which can break a voice call mid-stream and begin influencing the conversation in a particular direction. Think of it like a man-in-the-middle attack.

Our intelligence agencies would be absolutely stupid not to work on this. Any voice communication channel you can intercept, you can influence, and you can use the trust established with vocal familiarity to enable you assume the influence level of one or both of the speakers. The key would be training the AI to know when to alter the conversation and when to let it pass through.

Not only deep fakes. What happens if/when the generated/virtual human turns out to look identical to a real (living) human being.

There are many kind of possibilities for things getting weird at that junction. eg if the real person is a porn star, political figure, <etc>

> The males of this species have the habit to aggregate on and attempting to copulate with discarded brown "stubbies" (a type of beer bottles). The males are apparently attracted by the refraction of light produced by the glass bumps of the bottles, resembling giant females with a very similar colour and surface.

> Consequently to this behaviour the species is actually threatened. Prof. Darryl Gwynne, from the Toronto University, and David Rentz have achieved the Ig Nobel Prize for their studies on Julodimorpha species behaviour.

> This behavior is often given as an example of a Supernormal stimulus.


> However, virtual humans have zero scandals to worry about.

Oh my sweet summer child, if only you know.

EDIT: A comment in here explains it more in detail.

This [0] is what came to mind when you mentioned that, but I feel like you're talking about something else?

[0]: https://www.theverge.com/2016/3/24/11297050/tay-microsoft-ch...

I was talking about something else but your reference does show another way current AI can be corrupted.

William Gibson predicted something like this 25 years ago in Idoru[1].

1: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Idoru

Yeah, Rei Toi came to mind straight away. Here's a more direct link: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rei_Toei

The face can be somehow detected as AI generated. At least I can still detect a difference.

What surprised me was the hands. The hands are perfect. I can't see anything at all that makes me think they are not real.

It is amazing.

Eh, that's because hands are real. They are face swapping rendered face to real body. Source: easy to find if you can read Korean.

Reminds me of the Japanese guy that used FaceApp to pose as a pretty girl for social media.


oh. makes much more sense. I don’t see how this helps avoid scandals unless they’re using multiple interchangeable models plus the face? https://www.instagram.com/rozy.gram/ I can’t see the face swap at all tbh

They are using multiple interchangeable models. They stated they already have four models.

Ahhh, then it is disappointing. Anyone can do photoshop.

The teeth are still wrong, though.

I'm not sure what's so hard about teeth, but (so far) weird teeth has always been a reliable tell for me.

I should know better than expecting information from these articles but... what's so "AI" about this?

What differentiates Rozy from Lara Croft, Popeye or Bart Simpson?

The article mentions scandals several times. Are scandals that common for celebrities in SK? They seem very confident in their ability to maintain their AI girl’s image. I wonder if they considered the Rule 34 folks.

Sexual awareness, like holding a boy's hand, is considered a major scandal. SK celebrities are often expected to be highly sexualised in clothing, their songs, etc. whilst maintaining an entirely "pure" persona. i.e. Never considered kissing, etc.

This "impure purity" is expected for both male & female celebs, though there are some differences and boys tend to get a little more leeway.

The celeb also tends to take the blame for their creepy fans. It's their fault for 'encouraging' stalkers, etc.

It's an impossible culture that chews people up and spits them out.

As I understand it, western streamers also may lose a big chunk of their followers engagement simply by mentioning their relationship. Lonely twitch watchers are sometimes substantial part of auditory, who have feelings to their pure idol. Also, look at the percentage of regular popular instagram (formerly fb) girls who NEVER post their boyfriends. It’s not only a culture, it sells much better.

That said, SK undoubtedly pushes it beyond any sense.

It's the same in the west though, or, used to be with the boy / girl bands from the 90's / 2000's. Pretty sure K-pop ensembles are loosely based on that.

It's really not even near to the same degree. For example, an unstable fan may bring a knife to a handshake event, see someone else shake their idol's hand, lose it, and start knifing people.

The idol is blamed for the incident. For the state of mind of their fan. For doing anything that might incite jealousy.

> Are scandals that common for celebrities in SK

Oh yes. Everything is a scandal in such a competitive society, where cover ups are rampant just to avoid scalndal. Take this article about Seo Yea-ji for example:


I think they are working to change the cover up culture, as it's almost always represented negatively in dramas.

In K-pop scandals are quite toxic. Radiolab did an episode on it https://www.wnycstudios.org/podcasts/radiolab/articles/kpopa...

I know that, in some instances, things like idols publicly dating constitute as a scandal.

I just noticed a very popular DIY channel on Youtube that has 375K subscribers that all lap it up. Except for one little problem: it's as fake as can be, but you have to look at it for quite a while to begin to spot the problems. The giveaway for me was when the person that 'runs' the channel drilled a hole with an electric drill and quite obviously didn't know how to hold it. Then I started looking more closely and bit by bit the whole thing fell apart. They must have a huge cast of craftspeople that know how to work the various materials, they set up each shot for a very brief suggestion of the main character doing the work and (and to show off an entirely new wardrobe compared to the previous shot).

It's a real pity because I actually wanted it to be real. But then there is Jeri Ellsworth, unpolished and as real as can be. But with a small fraction of the followers of the fake channel. So fake works, people want to believe that there is this one single young incredibly capable person that turns out one wonderful piece of art after another.

So I'm entirely not surprised that they'd go the whole distance and get rid of the person completely and make the whole thing artificial. After all, if the person is just another prop that too might as well be a fake, there is very little difference.

If you want the real version of incredibly talented young self taught artisan, check out ca lem. Vietnamese machinist youtuber: https://youtu.be/hpenv1ZqGx4

Now I'm curious, what's the fake channel?


Edit: what really pisses me off about this is that I got suckered in for long enough to make me want that time back.

I see a Black Mirror episode where millions of AI generated girls influence an army of 14 year old real girls to take over the world and transfer power to the AI makers afterwards. It will be like "the Wave" [0] but fully a-b test optimized and on a world scale.

[0]: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Wave_(1981_film)

Virtual influencers have been around for a while. Couldn't tell from the article what the "AI generated" part adds to it though.


I wonder if Max Headroom counts :)

I know, I'll count those bars on the window.

One. Two. Three. Sleep.


Hasn't Mickey Mouse been advertising things for decades? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UHEuxMNlbbc

Yes, Rozy is exactly like Lil Miquela and creators pretty much say so. I am not sure why this coverage is different.

Hatsune Miku from 2007

In this case I assume "AI" referring to the fact it is an "artificial" influencer, and no AI was used in its creation.

Feels like a trend I could see continuing: https://wwd.com/eye/people/shudu-digital-fashion-model-avata...

In my various trips to Tokyo (I went regularly, for over 20 years), I was always impressed by their artificial stuff.

There's a whole industry, making artificial food, for restaurant display. The cheap stuff looks like what it is: plastic dross. The good stuff, however, is virtually indistinguishable from the real thing.

On my last couple of trips, I got a hankering for candy, and brought these artificial strawberries. They were made of something like white chocolate, and looked exactly like those "trail mix" dried strawberries.

But they tasted like the Platonic ideal of fresh strawberries.

Might not be the real thing, but they were great. Maybe I'll die early, from having eaten them, but they were awesome.

I think it's only a matter of time, before we have completely artificial actors and actresses. Models will probably come first.


Is this really AI generated though or do they use traditional 3D modelling?

Here is a western version of this with traditional 3D modelling for comparison: https://80.lv/articles/stunning-photoreal-renders-in-blender...

Following trends like virtual humans is interesting, and honestly I don't know what things might look like with virtual humans in 15 or 20 years - but I do wish reporting took care not to veer into P.R. territory.

EDIT: deleted a bit here as i misread the word sponsorship.

Not scholarship. Sponsorship. Product representation.

thank you, i misread that somehow.

When you look at these avatars as a channel for ideas, then you look at what charisma can achieve via rock stars, revolutionaries, and great leaders, this is a significant development.

Consider how well an avatar could perform from a charisma perspective vs. the canned press statements by an awkward expert or a bland politician reading a teleprompter. Forget deepfakes, I don't think average people will be able to compete for attention with a team of top writers running persuasive avatars. A well aimed joke by a comedian can change beliefs, and I could see how to use these avatars for some powerful ends.

How does one go about acquiring a kit for one of these?

Interesting bit at the end:

> As CEO Baek said, the reason for the popularity of virtual humans is that there is no fear that advertisements will be suspended due to unsavory privacy scandals after the AI model is selected as the advertising model. In addition, the location and scene can be created through computer graphics, so the virtual model is not limited in time and space, and unlike real people. The other advantage is that period in which the model can be active is very long or eternal because the virtual human doesn't get sick or grow old.

Offensive (by whatever definition of offensive in the context) images can be generated and poison the perception of the virtual persona.

This is shockingly realistic (and perhaps a bit disturbing that a virtual model can generate so much interest). How do people create such virtual models that look so accurate and human-like?

Use a real person, tell everyone she's virtual to protect her privacy.


They claim AI, but it's probably just 3d modeling and texturing. Possibly based on a real person - see also characters like Aloy, or the ones from Death Stranding. Or the attempts in recent Star Wars media to bring back deceased actors or make them younger.

Body is real. The face is synthetic and augmented onto the actress.

We are a global startup in Seoul, the company next to our office creates this type of character. I am not sure what they use their models for though. Very talented work they create.

How long until GPT-4 plus virtual humans replace youtubers?

We already have tons of vtubers who make no secret of using voice changers. Some, like Zentreya, use speech-to-text-to-speech for an artificial voice.

If that sounds odd to you, I encourage you to check out her channel and compare with similar content from Twitch streamers; it's surprisingly easy to get used to and enjoy.

Gecko army represent! Chaos!

I think the growing popularity of vtubers is probably a sign of things to come. I think once (if it's possible) you can synthesize natural sounding speech and basic emotions/behaviors, it wouldn't surprise me if that didn't become a huge amount of the market for video content.

Why would anyone watch that? I thought that after all the infatuation with technology, power and wealth other humans are still what we need to connect with..

Why not shut oneself into a virtual world if virtual everything is what they want? I have the feeling that in the not too distant future there will be big labels on things stating “not virtual” like we’re getting now for organic/bio products

You would be amazed at the stupid shit people watch. There's a surprisingly enormous Twitch segment of people who stream playing slots. No gameplay at all, just watching someone else clicking "go again" on a random number generator. Here's a slots streamer who apparently has 30 thousand live viewers right now: https://www.twitch.tv/trainwreckstv

Hopefully a GPT-4 would improve the overall quality of the vlogs :-)

There are probably hundreds of thousands of Instagram accounts without an identifiable person running them, with over 100k followers. This is no different, and the article is just attaching AI to something commonly occurring to create a story.

People follow an account like this for the same reasons they follow a meme page, a curated architecture account, or any brand; because it's entertainment.

Thought this was going to be about Dr Alan D. Thompson's Leta AI!



Are there any companies listed on public exchanges doing this kind of work? This will surely change advertising forever.

I don't think so. You still need a body model, so it kind of defeats the economic aspect.

It might make economic sense. Instead someone who knows their value and asks for it you can get the cheapest aspiring gig worker and replace them as needed.

basically the Stig but with a fake face.

you are right

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