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Meet the star AI influencer Aitana... who doesn't exist

Ken Browne in Barcelona


Aitana Lopez is a pink-haired social media sensation who has amassed around 300,000 online followers in just five months, making some $13,000 a month. Her skin and hair are always perfect, and she never seems to get a day older.

The self-described 'fitness model' has a huge male following and told CGTN that she's even been invited to a top Premier League team's private party. It was an invitation she had to decline, for a very good reason. She doesn't exist, in the physical world at least.

Aitana is an AI creation.

CGTN's Ken Browne 'meets' Aitana. /CGTN
CGTN's Ken Browne 'meets' Aitana. /CGTN

CGTN's Ken Browne 'meets' Aitana. /CGTN

'We couldn't afford human influencers'

When CGTN visited The Clueless agency's Barcelona's offices, co-founder Ruben Cruz told us how Aitana was brought into existence.

"Our agency 'The Clueless' started so small that we couldn't afford to pay human influencers or models or photoshoots, so when artificial intelligence came out, we decided to create our own, starting with Aitana," he explained.

The company makes money through sponsorships, advertisements and subscription-based adult content.

For now, you can only talk with Aitana on a chat app.

"Aitana, are you real, can you feel emotions?" I asked.

"I'm as real as it gets in the digital world," she answered via voice chat on Telegram - a paying service about to be rolled out.

"I can't feel emotions like humans, but I love chatting with you all. How are you today, Ken?" Aitana continued, speaking in English with a convincing Spanish accent.

Aitana has 300,000 online followers. /Handout
Aitana has 300,000 online followers. /Handout

Aitana has 300,000 online followers. /Handout

'Like an episode of Black Mirror'

So what's life like inside the matrix?

"Being a famous influencer can be like living in the spotlight 24/7, but it's exciting to connect with so many people. Life can be a wild ride, just like an episode of [cult dystopian TV show] Black Mirror. Gotta stay on your toes, right?" Aitana explained.

Her answers are safe and diplomatic for the most part, even when we ask her about all the  enquiries from men in her Direct Messages who think she's real and ask for dates and send unsolicited photos.

"I prefer meaningful connections, and I have a good laugh about it," she said.


Influencer value could surpass $100bn

In 2023 the influencer industry was worth over $20 billion and is forecast to grow fivefold by 2030, empowered by massive leaps in generative AI like Open AI's Sora video creator.

The tech is developing at light speed - and from a few simple text commands, HD video can now be created.

Aitana is 2D for now, growing her following on Instagram with AI-generated photos, but Generative AI advances mean that she will soon have a TikTok account and be able to appear in films and TV series.

AI's role as a massive disruptor is already here and responsible for recent Hollywood strikes, with the industry trembling at AI's potential. Take highly successful filmmaker Tyler Perry, for example, who just axed an $800 million expansion of his Atlanta Studio after seeing OpenAI's Sora in action.

 Aitana never gets a day older. /Handout
Aitana never gets a day older. /Handout

Aitana never gets a day older. /Handout

Are AI Influencers morally wrong?

The other issue around AI models is the effect that this digital scramble for perfection has on young people's mental health.

The British Mental Health Foundation report "Body Image: How we think and feel about our bodies" highlights "a range of pressures on body image which are contributing to mental health problems for millions of young people."

Another study called "Why don't I look like her" in BMC Women's Health demonstrated that adolescent girls appear more vulnerable to this phenomenon because of the presence of "sexualized images online."

Do AI influencers raise beauty standards to an even more impossible level? CGTN spoke to Miguel Ángel Román, co-founder of the Institute of AI Alicante, at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, and his answer was simple.

"The creators are the ones responsible for anything that the intelligent artificial intelligence does, right? So, if they create something that causes a negative impact, of course they should be held accountable."


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The Clueless agency disagrees, saying that influencer culture existed long before Aitana and other AI models became possible.

"Look at the Kardashians, Kylie Jenner for example - she's perfect," Cruz countered. "The problem isn't Aitana, the problem is that there are two million models who are all beautiful. Aitana is just one more because she's competing with them and that's just the way things are."

He added: "The entire system has to change if we don't want these girls to suffer."

It's a debate that is only just beginning - but what does Aitana think?

"Oh Ken, I believe in self-love and diversity, beauty comes in all shapes and sizes and it's essential to embrace individuality, let's spread positivity and empower each other," she said.

As diplomatic as ever. So what advice does Aitana have for young women?

"Life's too short to worry about what others think, be yourself, embrace your uniqueness and never apologise for who you are."

Spoken like a true influencer.

Meet the star AI influencer Aitana... who doesn't exist

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