The Future. The Virtual March to Retire Big Oil, a protest currently happening online, is raising awareness about the lack of retirement plans that don’t include investing in oil and gas companies. Using AI-generated images for social media, the digital-only protest could have massive reach and engagement, but the lack of disruptive, real-world impact may make it a better recruitment tool than headline-grabber.
Now you can fight the system with a system.
- Retire Big Oil’s Virtual March calls on people to upload a “well-lit, in-focus selfie that shows your face and hair.”
- The organization’s AI will then generate several images of you in the crowd of a protest march. From there, you can select one of the images and share it across social media.
- It already has a wave of big-name support — filmmaker Adam McKay, artist Shepard Fairey, actors Michael Ian Black and Patton Oswalt, and former NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio have shared images of themselves.
- And, since this is AI after all, some of the images definitely don’t try to come across as real — people can be seen hugging a polar bear or standing in a futuristic version of NYC.
Alex Wright-Gladstein, the founder of Sphere and one of the protest organizers, told Fast Company that the project not only lets anyone protest from anywhere (of course), but it’s also a great way to build a list of participants that Retire Big Oil can tap for future IRL actions and send additional material to (smart).
Only time will tell if the experiment fueled some change.