Lil Miquela opened her Instagram account in 2016. Very soon, this 19-year-old California girl became popular. She takes pictures of herself in fashionable outfits; she visits trendy events like the Coachella Festival, where she posts series of photos which show how much fun she is having. In addition, she supports socially responsible movements such as the American Black Lives Matter movement. She has also recorded several tracks and released them on Spotify. It’s only logical that marketing experts became interested in her, so she began promoting several global fashion brands. Today, she has a million followers and can rightfully be called a successful digital influencer.
OK, so what’s new here? What’s the difference between Lil and thousands of other, real and wannabe influencers? In fact, there is no significant difference; the reason we’re mentioning Lil is her Instagram post in April when she wrote that she was not a human being but a robot. I’m assuming that, after seeing this announcement, most of her followers waited for the next post to see what it was all about. Was it possible that Lil just wanted to let her followers know that she was at a new place where robots were making cocktails, so she wanted her fans to know that a photo of her toasting with this robot would be next?
Whatever it was, it sounded good. But Lil wasn’t lying. In fact, Lil Miquela is a robot, a real robot, or more popularly – a CGI, short for “computer-generated individual”. Anyway… Lil Miquela was created by American startup company “Brud”. And she’s not the only CGI created by this company, backed by several large investment funds, which recognized this concept as an excellent business opportunity. In addition to Lil, there is Blawko and you can follow him as Blawko22. He’s still far from Lil, since he has less than 60,000 followers, but step by step, like by like, follower by follower… Apparently, Brud also created other virtual stars which appeared on the global celebrity sky, but we’re still unable to confirm this. And they’re not the only company that creates CGIs.
In terms of business, these virtual characters are ideal marketing promoters and models for brands. Once you make them, there’s no need to worry anymore. They don’t drink, eat or spend, they listen to you, and you don’t have to tell them twice what to do. They don’t ask for a raise, and what’s even better, they don’t ask for a salary or any payment, and they won’t even inquire about health insurance or social security. They retire when you tell them to, and once they do, you can completely forget about them, because they won’t claim the retirement money either. In a word – ideal people. Or, as our dear Lil asks herself and us: “I am not a human, but what stops me from being a person?”
If robots become ideal people, why is it strange then that people want to become robots? For now, we’re doing great. What’s the difference between our Lil and some other Lily taking photos on a sandy beach with sunset in the background, holding a colorful cocktail in her hand, applying all sorts of filters before posting? What’s the difference between Blawko and a random guy who proudly posts the enhanced image of his muscular tattooed body, while giving the world a thumbs-up?
After all, we hang out more with our friends by looking at some screen, instead of face to face. So far, this world of robots only existed in our imagination; we read about it in science-fiction novels or caught a glimpse of it in sci-fi movies. And now the line between fiction and reality is disappearing, and we’re behaving like we’ve discovered a new continent and we’re now settling it by extending and deepening the boundaries of that conquest, day by day. And, as with our previous conquests, we want to enslave the indigenous peoples we found there. But, it seems to me that these won’t give up as easily as others did before them. After all, we created them ourselves and they know a lot about us. We’ll see who will triumph, who will remain human and who will become a robot in the end.