Celebrities join protests using generative AI

Together with

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.

Picket prompt
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.

David Vendrell

Born and raised a stone’s-throw away from the Everglades, David left the Florida swamp for the California desert. Over-caffeinated, he stares at his computer too long either writing the TFP newsletter or screenplays. He is repped by Anonymous Content.


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