The Next Industry to Lose Jobs to AI? Influencers

An image showing Aitania Lopez, and AI influencer

Aitana Lopez is a 25-year-old Spanish fitness model on Instagram. She has more than 200,000 followers and posts images of herself in revealing clothing and sports gear. Like any good influencer, she spruiks a range of supplements and even has her own private account selling paid-for adult content.

The thing about Aitana is that she’s not real. She’s the AI-powered creation of an AI modelling agency, The Clueless. Aitana earns her agency up to $16,000 per month for her advertising work for the sports supplement company Big and her work on Fanvue, a platform similar to OnlyFans.

Aitana is not the only model The Clueless have. There’s also Maia Lima, “a young Argentine girl who is characterized by her shyness and purity,” according to the agency. She’s less successful, having garnered ‘only’ 10,000 followers since her first post in September.


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A post shared by Maia Lima 🪐 (@limaiaaa)

The agency’s work is a step up in automation from the already popular “19-year-old robot,” lilmiquela, who has some 2.7 million followers on Instagram. Unlike Miquela however, who is constructed using CGI and Photoshop by a team of creatives, Aitana is far more hands-free thanks to the burgeoning power of AI image generation. Still, Miquela is proof of concept, with one study finding AI influencers gain three times more engagement than humans. In 2020, ‘she’ signed an advertising deal worth USD $10 million.

It’s unclear how many of the followers of these accounts know they’re following AI creations. The Clueless agency founder, Ruben Cruz, told EuroNews in an interview that they’ve even had a “well-known Latin American actor” slide into her DMs to ask her out.

Cruz founded the agency after having worked with real-life influencers whom he describes as difficult to work with.

“We did it so that we could make a better living and not be dependent on other people who have egos, who have manias, or who just want to make a lot of money by posing,” said Cruz.

“We started analysing how we were working and realised that many projects were being put on hold or cancelled due to problems beyond our control. Often it was the fault of the influencer or model and not due to design issues.”


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A post shared by Aitana Lopez (@fit_aitana)

The company has said that its creations embody the epitome of trending interests. Aitana’s pink hair and ‘gamer girl’ aesthetic is all carefully curated, as is her passion for fitness and “determined” outlook. As for the hyper-sexualised and unrealistic portrayal of their AI models? “The world in general is sexualised,” Cruz responds, noting that his company is simply responding to what the market wants.

The Cluess have stated that they have explicit aims at bringing down the market value of influencers by offering cheaper AI alternatives to businesses looking to advertise products and services. That market crash may be coming faster than even they have anticipated.

Animate Anyone

Of course, in the AI game, first-movers often have the advantage, but others are coming up quickly on the inside. Recent advances have meant that you no longer need an agency like The Clueless to execute your own AI influencer strategy. In fact, the tools one would need are likely already at your disposal.

The Chinese tech giant Alibaba recently revealed their progress on a piece of software known as Animate Anyone. Their AI research team have developed the means to, as the name would suggest, take a still image of, apparently, anyone, and animate it in a frighteningly realistic way.


The training data set for Animate Anyone is drawn from, amongst others, publically available TikTok videos of people dancing. Meaning, whenever you participate in a viral dance trend, you could end up helping to train AI characters to give even better performances.

The company have stated that they plan to release the code for the programme publically so that anyone can use it.

“Our goal is to not only share the code but also ensure that it is robust and user-friendly, transitioning it from an academic prototype to a more polished version that provides a seamless experience,” they write in an update on GitHub.

AI’s Mysogyny Problem

Again, Alibaba demonstrates another example of a growing issue with AI. Namely, the tools are often used to create highly sexualised images of women, typically by men, with little consent or influence from those who would be affected.

The comments on that GitHub update quickly devolve into an argument over the uses of the tool, with one commenter noting “this technology’s only use will be for revenge porn, blackmail, identity theft and CSEM [child sexual exploitation material] and should NEVER be made open source.”

Other commentators aren’t so sure, defending the idea that this is merely a tool with no moral implications and that it’s the users who define what those might be. There is also a defence made of the ethical uses of AI revenge porn.

That AI has a problem with women and misogyny has long been noted. As one recent report states, the latest developments only problematize that issue further, a trend that is only likely to continue.

Make Your Own AI Influencer

Since the release of the Alibaba demonstration, others have come forward, jumping on the trend, to illustrate just how simple it is to create your own AI influencer. Given the potential value of these digital avatars and the removal of the necessity to be attractive or interesting in order to gain a monetizable following, it’s little wonder that these instructional posts have gained such huge attention.

Roni Rahman, author of the Cyberman AI newsletter, posted a series of tweets explaining how he used Stable Diffusion XL to create usable images of an AI influencer in just a few minutes. His tweets have so far been seen by 1.7 million people.

This is nothing compared to the 3.1 million views garnered by the YouTuber Fireship, from whose video Rahman took inspiration, that explains, in more technical detail, how to build your own AI influencer as well.

“AI influencers are making real money selling content on websites like OnlyFans. Learn about the latest generative AI tech, like Stable Diffusion XL, and how to run it locally on your PC for free,” Fireship writes in the video description. Again the use case for this technology is made evident.

Although social media has, in recent years, trended towards appearing to value the ‘realness’ of an influencer, it’s as of yet unclear whether the cutting in at the bottom end of the market of the coming wave of AI influencers will depose or strengthen this clamouring for the real.

Related: Half of Tech Industry Workers Think AI Is Overrated

Related: YouTube’s Solution to the AI Problem Is More AI — at the Expense of Us All

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