Da Sachin Sharma
Every once in a while, technology takes a massive leap, and the implications are so vast that it alters not just the way we function, but also the way we conceptualize. Deepfakes, powered by AI, is precisely such a disruptive technology that has been grabbing headlines for a while. They are quickly reshaping the dynamics of several industries, with celebrity branding being one of the most significantly impacted.
As someone who has always been at the forefront of AI technology and its possibilities, I recently undertook a project to explore the possibilities of this deepfake technology for myself. I trained an AI model to generate my images and videos. The premise was straightforward, if I desired an image of mine in any particular look, style, or pose, could I get it with a simple text prompt? The results were nothing short of mind-blowing.
I took the time to train my AI model using numerous images and videos of myself. The model was fed with multiple snapshots of my varying expressions, poses, and attire, in different settings. Over time, the model learned to generate my likeness in high-quality images and videos accurately. Not just in pre-existing conditions, but it could also create entirely new content based on my desired prompts.
This exploration opened up a pandora's box of thoughts on the future of influencers, celebrities, and brand ambassadors. At present, when a brand signs a celebrity, it only gets a few days to shoot with them. These images are then used over a period, and if they require more pictures, they need to invest time and money all over again.
But what if a brand could train an AI model with a particular celebrity and create the images and videos as and when required? The impact would be colossal, potentially changing the dynamics of celebrity endorsements. Maybe, in the future, celebrities won't have to sell their dates for photoshoots but instead sell the digital rights to their AI versions.
This speculative future is not too distant, as seen in an episode of Black Mirror titled "The John Is Awful" which explores AI and deepfake technology. The episode revolves around a character who discovers a dramatized version of her life being streamed on an app, portrayed by a famous Hollywood star. The plot, which involves AI versions of celebrities portraying Streamberry users, serves as a cautionary tale, urging audiences to be mindful of accepting terms and conditions without understanding the potential ramifications.
Deepfake technology, though transformative, carries with it the inherent risk of loss of agency and identity in the digital realm. As we embrace these advancements, it's crucial to maintain a dialogue on ethical guidelines and norms around their use.
The future of celebrity branding, influenced by AI and deepfakes, is both fascinating and unnerving. The potential for transforming the way brands and celebrities interact is enormous. However, it is equally important that we tread this path with caution, aware of the possible pitfalls and challenges. As we step into this new frontier, one thing is for sure, the future is now, and it's time to adapt.
As we navigate this brave new world of AI and deepfakes, the future of celebrity branding is poised to change dramatically. It's both an exciting prospect and a complex challenge, requiring ongoing discussions, scrutiny, and most importantly, foresight. As we brace for this digital revolution, the stakes are higher than ever, but so are the opportunities.