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Meta Will Enable Influencers To Create AI Versions of Themselves

It’s been in development for a while, and today, Meta’s launching the first stage of its “AI Studio” platform, which will enable creators on Instagram to build AI versions of themselves that can interact with fans via DM.

Meta AI Studio example

As you can see in this example, Meta’s custom AI bots, currently in beta, and in limited testing with selected creators, will be able to answer questions in the style of that account.

The AI bot will have a stars icon on the message tab, signalling that this is a bot response stream, while there are also disclaimer notes in the chat, explaining that it’s an AI bot that you’re engaging with.

So it *should* be clear to all that you’re not talking to the actual person or account holder. But then again…

Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg made the announcement during an interview with YouTuber Kane Sutter, in which he also discussed various elements of Meta’s broader AI plans.

Most of Zuck’s comments are fairly vague and broad-reaching, with a few indicators of its coming AI updates (improved translation, hologram-like projections of real people in VR).

But the main announcement is the launch of live testing of AI Studio with selected IG creators in the U.S.

Zuckerberg says that AI Studio will enable creators to build an “AI agent” version of themselves to interact with their community. The process, built into Instagram (which app researcher Alessandro Paluzzi uncovered recently), will provide various prompts and tools to generate these AI bot variations.

Instagram AI creation

The main focus, or the simple use case, according to Zuckerberg, is to answer fact-based queries, with the more challenging element coming in answers that are more creative, and replicate the style of the creator. Zuckerberg says that creators will have the freedom to train their bots on different aspects of their social media presence, and through this, that should enable them to generate more life-like replicas of themselves.

Yet, as noted, Meta also doesn’t want to trick people into thinking they’re engaging with the real person. Zuckerberg noted that they’re still working on the AI disclosure elements, but there are various signifiers in-stream.

Meta AI Studio example

But the bigger question that I have is “Why?” Why would people want to engage with a bot that sounds like a person of profile, when they’re not actually engaging with a human at all?

I mean, I get the basic use case, in regards to creators getting a heap of queries, and only having so much time to personally respond. This is the fact-based element, where the bots will be able to provide, essentially, generic answers to common questions, in the style of the creator. But expanding into other areas seems inherently deceptive, and also, counter to the entire focus of “social” media platforms.

Right?

Sutter posed the same question in his interview with Zuckerberg, noting that there will be some trepidation, from creators and their audiences, about eroding that real connection within the medium. Zuckerberg played it down somewhat in his response, but really, there doesn’t seem to be any real value in having AI bots that simulate actual humans, especially within apps that are geared around authentic connection.

It seems like a step away from the core use case of social, and into something else, a platform where bots end up engaging with bots, and real humans are sidelined in favor of automated engagement.

Haven’t users been complaining about bots for years? Hasn’t inauthentic interaction always been a problem on social apps? But now we’re not only encouraging it, but directly using it to replace humans.

Because the technology is better now, and more convincing? Is that the reason why people have always been annoyed by bots?

I don’t know, it doesn’t feel like the right way to lean into the AI trend, but Meta seems convinced that robot versions of celebrities and influencers will be a valuable add on, for some reason.

Zuckerberg also notes that, eventually, people will also be able to create UGC AI characters as well, that can interact with people in different ways and styles.

Though again, is there any actual demand for this? Will it add value?

I’m not sure that Meta’s initial experiments with celebrity-influenced bots really caught on, but Meta’s pushing ahead, which will bring more endorsed bot engagement in-stream.

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