EDITING : 2022.10.31 월 21:10
The Gachon Herald
Virtual Influencers, How Far Will They Go?Everything About Virtual Influencers
Kim Hyun-Jin  |  emily0125@naver.com
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Updated : 2022.09.27  10:14:13
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 These days, as technology develops rapidly, and various technologies are in the spotlight in diverse fields. Metaverse technology is among these examples but specifically, ‘Virtual influencer’ caught my eye. The term ‘Virtual Influencer’ means a person made by computer graphics, motion capture, and usually is deployed on SNS. They look like real humans, communicate, and work with us on the internet. US Bloomberg News said, “Human activities have declined because of Covid-19, but virtual humans are increasing.” In this article, let’s learn about virtual influencers becoming a reality. Moreover, we need to look about how to face this rapidly changing world.

The First Korean Virtual Influencer OH! __ROZY
 The first Korean Influencer is OH! _ROZY. OH! _ROZY means ‘The only person’, now she is working on an influencer model created by SIDUS Studio X. Her birth date is August 19th and is 22 years old. Her blood type is O. ROZY likes to travel around the world, do yoga, go running, and read ‘One Piece’ comic books. She is 171 centimeters tall so she supervises various pictorials and advertisements as a model. SIDUS studio X made her face by collecting a variety of faces that the MZ generation prefers. Also, they made approximately 800 facial expressions to express delicate feelings. Her face is not only just ‘pretty’, but unisex and has a wide eye span with an attractive face.
ROZY’S main activity area is Instagram, and she has more than 130,000 followers as of July 2022. She proceeded with diverse advertisements of famous brands like HERA, JILL STUART, Maison Margiela, Calvin Klein, etc.
At first, her company uploaded posts without revealing that ROZY is a virtual human to prevent prejudice against her. Due to this, people thought she is a real human before watching official articles about her real identity. ROZY on Instagram is natural and stylish looking like a real human without the explanation that she is virtual. Since her release, ROZY has received love calls from various fashion companies and supervised photoshoots with a famous fashion magazine. Also, she officially debuted in entertainment by releasing a digital single album and appearing in cameos of the drama, and radio guests by making public her voices in various ways. These things make her expand into diverse fields. ROZY’s voice is supplied by the NAVER AI Development department, and her voice embodies the voices of a woman which fits the sensibility of the MZ generation. Although we can hear a little mechanical sound, she has excellent language. It has not been long since ROZY has been revealed, but if you want to learn about ROZY, I recommend you to visit her Instagram @rozy.gram.

   
Mirror Selfie
The Advantage of Virtual Influencer
 Besides the previously introduced ROZY, more virtual humans have been developed and are active all around the world. The number of virtual humans has reached 150 as of July 2022. In Korea, there is Lia who works for the company, the first virtual family HOGONHEIL. We can look for their vigorous activities as influencers on Instagram. It seems to run their Instagram through showing themselves holding the product which they advertise and preparing for the photoshoot, also taking ‘mirror selfies’ with their own phones. Moreover, they communicate by replying to people’s comments, giving us more realistic feelings. The content that occupy most of the posts are promotions and advertisements. The reason they are chosen as a model for companies is they have some points that can target the MZ generation that generates trends. ROZY gains followers by posting content including the regular experiences of travel, fashion, and exercise that are the main interests of the young generation. Also, she is exerting a good influence by participating in various environmental campaigns. If companies use virtual humans as a model or embody it directly, they can build unparalleled company images which are useful for their marketing. Using famous celebrities as advertisement models is a realistic constraint and the burden of the advertising contracts cost is enormous. But if the companies cast virtual humans, they do not need to worry about time and space limitations, also there is some advantage that companies can adjust images, and concepts they want. In addition, it is evaluated the cost-effectiveness is high because of low risk compared to the cost, because they do not need to cling to the rumors about the celebrities’ privacy frequently.
   
 Radio
Limitations and Negative Views of Virtual Influencer
 As there are advantages of virtual influencers, but there are also limitations. The least frequently mentioned problem is that it’s hard to build trust and communicate with customers. In Korea, this problem arises that some virtual humans are progressing just one time only as one’s own model unlike ROZY and LIA. Sometimes, we feel uncomfortable to look virtual humans because they have an unnatural human appearance. When people see non-human things like robots, the more human-like, the likability increases. But we feel displeasure when this reaches a certain level. This phenomenon can be explained by the ‘uncanny valley theory’. With the growing number of virtual influencers, people often feel this and express that it is nasty.
In the case of virtual humans, there are possibilities to be abused continually regardless of the original author’s will because they are not regarded as having real natural human. This problem cannot be protected completely. As virtual humans gradually settle down, generic technology will be cheaper and lighter. So, there are some concerns from the industry that voice, and video phishing using AI voices will appear.
 
Gachon Herald reporters’ opinion of virtual influencers
 Reporters of Gachon Herald said they are really surprised that virtual humans are growing, and people are interested in it. They also thought virtual humans are very trendy. Although virtual humans have the advantages of being free from cost and limitation of time & space, they also expressed concern that they are becoming substitutes for humans and risky for diverse crimes. Lastly, there were similar views on the attitude that we should have about them. They said we need to make various laws or restrict activities for the growing AI to get along with us and have good influence all around the world. Through these, we could find that the views of the reporters about virtual influencers were generally similar.

 As time goes by, the virtual world and virtual humans are developing and entering our domain. Not only just as an advertising model, but also by entering into our daily life and communication. Now we feel delusion that we can meet. Several people get benefits from them, meanwhile there are concerns about them. The thing we can do is to distinguish between the virtual and real world and have an attitude of thinking in different notions. If not, they will cause confusion to people or other problems will appear like the invasion of the real world. As technology grows, I hope that we prepare for crimes using virtual humans or occurring in the real world by creating a healthy mind and harmonizing together.
   
 Recording
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