Lil Miquela and the age of artificial influencers

Looming towards a world plagued by artificial intelligence, are robot Instagram influencers still farfetched from the ordinary?

Meet the world’s first computer-generated influencer, Miquela Sousa, better known for Instagram handle, @lilmiquela.

Not only is she an Instagram model with over one million followers, she is also a musician with three top-charting singles on Spotify.

Miquela’s Instagram consist of #OOTD posts sporting the trendiest streetwear labels, close-up selfies showing detailed CGI of her freckles and gap-toothed smile, and wholesome pictures of her hanging out with prominent human influencers, such as @killerandsweetthang.

She’s also sometimes spotted on Instagram with her other robot, streetwear-enthusiast friend, Ronnie Blawco (@blawko22), who takes some of her #OOTD shots.

There’s nothing more ordinary than two avatars taking photos of each other for the gram!

Miquela’s huge following has attracted deals from the crème de le crème brands of the fashion industry, such as Chanel, Louis Vuitton, Balenciaga and more.

Recently, Miquela also ‘attended’ the Prada Fall 2018 Collection, where she gave followers a tour of the show venue on Prada’s Instagram account.

She’s also featured in popular magazines, ranging from Highsnobiety to Paper, Nylon, V, and Vogue.

Everything about Miquela seems so alarmingly real.

Through Instagram, she documents events in her 'life', such as seeing Beyoncé perform at Coachella or hanging out in real-life restaurants and cafes with her real-life friends.

She uses her platform to voice her opinions on political issues, such as #DefendDACA and #BlackLivesMatter.

Miquela also has human-like interests, such as skating, making music and crystal healing.

She encapsulates everything human when in reality, she is merely a fictional character contrived by real-life people.

She doesn't exist.

So who is meticulously constructing Miquela’s personality and receiving all the checks from her luxurious brand deals?

No one is quite sure but Miquela is linked to Los Angeles-based robotics and artificial intelligence company, Brud.

Recently, Miquela opened up on Instagram about her realisation that she ‘is not a human being’.

She is claiming that her management company, Brud, lied about who she really is, and although she feels human, however, acknowledges that her emotions are simply computer-programmed.

On one of Miquela’s Instagram post, she wrote, “in trying to realise my truth, I’m trying to learn my fiction.”

She now proclaims that she is a 'self-agent' and disassociated from the company.

There’s nothing more intriguing than a Black Mirror-esque scenario of a robot’s self-realisation. 

Not only does Miquela have an enigmatic personality, but she also has a dystopian narrative that coincides with our collective reality.

In an age where the Internet is more advanced than ever, it’s hard to navigate through what is authentic and what is fake.

However, whether she is real or fake, it doesn’t matter—Miquela has proven that anyone can be an influencer if you have amassed a huge following.

As Miquela bares her ‘existential crisis’ to the world, is she more than mere pixels on a screen?

Words: Jenny Qian

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