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People have always loved a good story, and getting wrapped up in plots. Lines famously blurred in 1938, when the fictitious radio broadcast “War of the Worlds” caused real-world panic that aliens were actually on the offensive.


A real trend today is the rise of a new-gen, less-than-human digital influencers, who are having valuable input on brands and society. When popular Instagram influencer Lil Miquela came out as a CGI product of the imagination, it created a stir, as she had been presented as human before the revelation. Some who had suspected her of having a face looking seriously Photoshopped felt vindicated. Others saw her as simply a product of the IT-enhanced times of today. While never approaching the disruption and chaos of “War of the Worlds”, a sense of having been had was still perceptible once the truth was out. Lil Miquela still has 1.5 million Instagram followers. So does another new-age influencer, Pumpkin The Raccoon. Although in the animal’s case at least we knew all along it’s a gag.


When asked to tick the “I’m not a robot” box in a promo for #RobotProblems, Lil Miquela has a moment with her CGI self before a human friend ticks the box for her and then cocks her head and arches her eyebrow slightly. It’s irony. We’re all in on her act now. But with AI’s growth, possibilities for deception are on the rise, and digital influencers will need to have honest exchanges with the public if they are to retain their long-term influence and reputation.


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