What explains the stratospheric rise of fictional entities like Lil Miquela? Why do audiences readily follow, like and comment on manufactured computer personalities crafted for commercial objectives? The psychology behind AI influencers holds the answers. These synthetic social media darlings succeed by artfully tapping into the most primal human instincts and social needs.

AI influencers are meticulously engineered to exploit the same emotional triggers and psychological drives that fuel engagement with human influencers. Their creators have cracked the code on our mental blind spots. 

Understanding their psychological hooks reveals why these artificial avatars feel so real to us. And why they continue seducing social media users in ever greater numbers.

Let’s start by defining what AI influencers are.

What are AI Influencers

Before we get into why they enchant people psychologically, we should clear up what AI influencers are. Essentially, they are fictional identities crafted by tech companies to acquire clout and profit online. 

Brands sculpt their looks and personalities and feed them to idealized perfection using a mix of slick animation, targeted algorithms and social media wizardry.

Take Lil Miquela, the Brazilian LA party girl with over 3 million Instagram followers. She seems indistinguishable from a human influencer in her posts. 

But Lil Miquela is entirely CGI – strategically developed by tech startup Brud to test the limits of fictional influencer marketing. Given her immense success, those limits appear quite expansive.

The Psychology Behind Their Allure

Why do audiences readily embrace fabricated personas designed for commercial gain? Several key factors make AI influencers magnetizing to follow.

But beyond these surface appeals, AI influencers also fulfill the core social and emotional needs we have as human beings when we interact with them. Even virtually.

How AI Gratify Human Desires

Despite their synthetic origins, AI influencers successfully gratify innate social and emotional desires. Even while consciously aware of their artificiality, human psychology still responds powerfully to parasocial relationships with fictional entities such as:

So in essence, AI influencers gratify core social and emotional desires. Their perfectly optimized nature makes them powerfully compelling, despite their obvious synthetic origins.

Sidestepping Uncanniness

Interestingly, AI influencers typically avoid falling into the “uncanny valley”, where ultra-lifelike humanoid creations cause unease. Subtle imperfections in their animated eyes and skin signal their synthetic nature just enough. 

This prevents discomfort from their high verisimilitude while remaining relatable. In contrast, hyper-realistic AI like digitally animated news anchors plunges too deeply into the uncanny.

AI influencers cleverly walk the line of almost too lifelike but not quite:

Valuing Authenticity

Nevertheless, while AI influencers may capitalize on human social wiring in the short term, people ultimately seek authentic connections. 

When the façade grows overtly unbelievable or deceitful, audiences revolt. Lil Miquela’s supposed “hacking” in 2018 catalyzed backlash by exposing her fictitious identity. 

Despite AI’s sophisticated psychological appeals, people still crave the spontaneous candor of real relationships.

The limits of relying on manipulation eventually surface:

The Future of AI Influencers

AI influencers aren’t vanishing any time soon. As the tech improves, we’ll see even more blending seamlessly into our feeds. And their potential for brands remains huge – an endlessly customizable spokesperson unfettered by human restrictions.

Yet transparency around their bot nature will be key to avoid backlash. And for companies utilizing them, the quest for quality content and real community should continue.

In the end, people want to engage mindfully with other humans online. Even as AI becomes more lifelike, replicating the spark of human creativity and connection remains beyond algorithms. 

The future lies in celebrating the gloriously imperfect humanity that makes us – through all its hidden depths and endless possibilities. Not reducing ourselves to predictable computer codes and simulations.

So to all you AI bots out there aiming for world social media domination, bring it on. Just don’t be surprised when we humans ultimately long for something more authentic.

Talk to us at AI Influencer Company if you want more details.

 

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