Imagine you're chatting with a friend who tells you, “Kendall Jenner gave me some awesome advice the other night.” You stare at them for a moment, assuming they’re joking.
"She did,“ your friend insists. ”Well… Kendall‘s AI chatbot did, anyway. And it’s sort of the same thing."
If this feels far-fetched, it's not. AI chatbots embodied by celebrities are not just close, they’re here – thanks to Meta.
Here’s the breakdown of Meta's new celebrity-inspired AI chatbots, and how they could impact the future of content creation – for better or worse.
Meta is Launching Its Own AI Chatbot
I know, I know – after witnessing companies ranging from Google and Bing to Snap and Alibaba all creating their own versions of an AI chatbot, it probably doesn't surprise you that Meta is now launching its own.
Meta's AI conversational assistant is in beta in the U.S. on WhatsApp, Messenger, and Instagram. But it does more than just serve up responses to common queries – it also generates photorealistic images from your text prompts, and is incorporated into Meta Ray-Ban smart glasses and Quest 3.
This is part of Meta‘s larger AI efforts to infuse generative AI into the company’s apps and metaverse.
But Meta is doing more than just launching an AI chatbot.
Meta is Also Launching 28 Chatbots With Unique Personalities Based on Celebrities
These chatbots with unique personalities are embodied by celebrities including Tom Brady, Kendall Jenner, Snoop Dogg, Naomi Osaka, and many others.
This means, in the near future, you'll be able to choose the chatbot you interact with based on your goals.
Need golf advice? Turn to Meta's golf guru chatbot based on Chris Paul.
Just want to laugh? Send your prompts to MrBeast's character, Zach.
Looking for recipe inspiration? Roy Choi's “Max” is your guy – er, well, robot.
This wasn't a cheap undertaking – some celebrities were paid upwards of $5 million for their likeness.
Which leads me to a very important question: Why do it?
As Mark Zuckerberg recently told The Verge, “I think that the vision for a bunch of folks in the industry, when I look at OpenAI or Google, is the sense that there's going to be one big superintelligence, and they want to be it.”
He continues, “I just don't think that's the best future. I think the way that people tend to process the world is like, 'We don't have one person that we go to for everything. We don't have one app that we go to for everything.' I don't think that we want one AI.”
In other words: More generalized chatbots, like ChatGPT, are only the first iteration. In the future, Zuckerberg believes there will be specialized AI chatbots that you turn to for different types of prompts.
A “sales leader” AI chatbot, for instance, that helps you formulate effective sales pitches. Or a “fitness guru” AI chatbot for personalized workout plans.
Specialized AI chatbots could solve a lot of issues related to generative AI. If companies work on training their AI bots on smaller datasets – just wellness and fitness tips, for instance – it becomes easier to ensure their chatbots are accurate and impartial.
It also makes sense to leverage the power of influencers in the AI space.
Influencers have proven invaluable when it comes to how consumers' obtain information. In fact, 31% of consumers prefer to turn to social media for answers to their questions over traditional search engines.
So if generative AI is the future of search, we can see the need for diverse search options. Let's put it this way: Do you want to talk to ChatGPT about your upcoming draft picks, or do you want to talk to Tom Brady?
But there are drawbacks to leveraging AI in the creator ecosystem.
Does the future of AI lie in specialized bots?
As Zuckerberg told The Verge, “There's only one Kylie Jenner. There's … a huge need here. People want to interact with Kylie. Kylie wants to cultivate her community, but there are only so many hours in a day. Creating an AI that's sort of an assistant for her, where it'll be clear to people that they're not interacting with the physical Kylie Jenner, it would be kind of an AI version … will help the creators, and I think it'll be fun for consumers.”
He adds, “Every creator is going to want an AI assistant, something that can help them build their community.”
While I don‘t doubt that creators could immensely benefit from AI, I’m hesitant to say it would entirely benefit consumers, too.
I turn to influencers on social media for their humanness. I seek out their wisdom, I laugh at their jokes, and I buy products they promote. Why? Because I trust them.
They‘ve put in the hard work necessary to facilitate a sense of community, they’ve engaged one-on-one with their followers, and they've created meaningful relationships with their audience.
In other words: Influencer marketing is one of the few places where consumers expect – arguably demand – a human on the other side who can offer an authentic and unique perspective.
If sending a message to an influencer evolves into sending a message to an AI chatbot, the foundational power of influencer marketing – human-to-human connection – could be lost.
This isn‘t to say I’m against creators' leveraging AI for assistance. But there is a difference between leveraging AI as your assistant, and letting AI takeover the aspects of influencer marketing that most require a human touch.
Likeness is a Slippery Slope
Likeness serves its function. There are major celebrities like Taylor Swift who will likely never be able to provide fans like me with a one-on-one conversation.
In those instances, imagine a Taylor AI-clone who can create songs about my love life. That would be awesome, but it’s a slippery slope that raises many questions.
Is a celebrity or influencer responsible if their AI-clone provides inaccurate or even damaging advice to a follower?
Could influencers be sued if their AI bot misrepresents a brand partnership, or promotes an offering without adhering to legal agreements?
And, perhaps most crucially: Will there be a premium placed on a human response?
Zuckerberg acknowledges these concerns but hasn’t yet shared how Meta will address them.
“[There are] brand safety type concerns,” he said. “If you're a creator, you really want to make sure that these AIs reflect the personality of the creator and don't talk about things that the creator doesn't want to get into or don't say things that are going to be problematic for the creator and their endorsement deals.”
Are celebrity-inspired chatbots the solution to content creation fatigue?
The other danger for creators' leveraging AI lies in content creation fatigue.
There is an overabundance of content these days, and our feeds are filled with new influencers popping up every second. To stand out, creators need to be both creative and innovative.
Given that AI is trained on existing datasets (I.e. older content), AI could dilute creators’ brand by offering generic, forgettable content.
Search engines are seeing this exact issue right now.
As HubSpot's Director of SEO Global Growth Aja Frost told me, “As a result of the AI evolution, there is an exponential increase in the amount of AI-written, low-value content. And, in response to that, Google is prioritizing first-person, credible, personality-driven content.”
We‘ve already seen an increase in the value of human-first content on search. While personalized AI chatbots has its place, ultimately, I think we’ll see the same rulebook play out across social platforms.
Human-first content will continue to win out. As it should.