Social media is about to be flooded with virtual users

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The Future. While social media of the past decade has evolved from peer-to-peer social networking to influencer-driven entertainment, the next decade of evolution may be all about peer-to-AI social networking. Best-case scenario, the rise of chatbots will give us entertaining personalities that can answer anything on the fly… but they may also run the risk of creating a community where people spend most of their time with photorealistic simulations of people instead of the real thing.

Neural networks
The Verge’s Casey Newton argues that, with the flood of recent AI-powered features on social platforms, they’re evolving into “partially synthetic social networks.”

Some examples:

  • OpenAI’s ChatGPT can now talk to you, made even more lifelike thanks to five custom voices — one company employee is said to have had “personal, emotional” conversations with the chatbot.
  • Meta, TikTok, and Snap have all rolled out generative AI tools for people to use on their photos and videos.
  • But Meta and Snap have taken it further, introducing an AI assistant within the app (Snap) and “personality-driven” chatbots based around 28 different celebrities (Meta).

What that will eventually all add up to are virtual characters that users can chat with, have their own profiles, and make content. Powered by AI, they’ll almost exist independently to provide endless companionship for people (if they so choose to engage).

And Newton takes things a step further — he says those celebrities voicing fictional characters (although, that Meta experiment is just text-driven right now) may decide to create a bot of their own likeness, paywalling access to speak to a simulation of them.

Talk about passive income.

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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