By Ted Murphy
Today’s influencer economy is ripe with potential, but it’s also bound by certain mortal constraints. An influencer’s earning power is largely tied to their own persona and the content they can produce each day, especially on trend-based platforms like Instagram and TikTok. For most influencers, the likelihood of selling their influencer business to a buyer or passing it on to their children just isn’t realistic because they are the business – it doesn’t work without them in front of the camera. And let’s face it, people age, trends evolve, and audiences are always on the prowl for the fresh and exciting.
Now, enter Generative AI – a game-changer that is evolving faster than anyone imagined. It’s not 100% there yet, but this tech will enable creators to construct ageless, digital alter-egos of themselves that can adapt to trends and interests over time. Their virtual twins can be in multiple places at once, speak any language, perform incredible feats, promote any brand, and undergo a total makeover at will to always remain relevant.
Human influencers will soon have the tools to create an immortal entourage of AI enabled co-creators, extending their audience and revenue streams. One human influencer becomes 1,000 virtual influencers, each with their own personality, clothes, lifestyle, vernacular and backstory.
I call it the Influencer Multiverse. One Matt with infinite realities.
Hip hop Matt.
Virtual influencers could actively participate in different communities, each serving a unique niche. They would not just be passive reflections of their human counterpart, but creative entities in themselves – constantly evolving and shaping culture. They will redefine how we understand identity, fame, and influence in the digital age. The blending of human and AI-driven personas will also lead to new forms of art, entertainment, and even social interaction.
Influencers will create AI derivatives of themselves that live in perpetuity. They will own and leverage their name and AI likeness in ways and social platforms that we have yet to imagine. The multiverse is what will ultimately unlock lifelong earning potential for influencers and more scalable (and creative) sponsorship opportunities for brands. Much like Mickey Mouse, Batman, or Barbie, influencers will be able to create timeless IP that can be altered, sold to others, or passed down to children – creating generational wealth and ongoing revenue streams.
AI will expand influencer opportunities beyond the confines of what an influencer can shoot in a day, and transform individual influencers into long lasting media companies. It will lead to the formation of dynastic influencer families, with the virtual personas carrying on long after the human influencers have retired or passed away.
There are many intricate questions and challenges that society will need to grapple with over the course of the next few years. Whether it becomes a utopian vision of limitless creative expression or a dystopian landscape fraught with ethical and legal landmines will depend on how technology develops and how it’s governed and embraced by various stakeholders. I see a future where technology, creativity, and commerce converge in unprecedented ways and believe there is no greater opportunity for influencers to create lasting businesses that transcend the limitations of our own mortality.