SEOUL — Her face is a deepfake. Her body belongs to a team of similar-sized actors. But she sings, reads the news, and sells luxury clothes on TV as artificial intelligence (AI) humans go mainstream in South Korea.
Meet Zaein, one of South Korea’s most active virtual humans, who was created by Pulse9, an artificial intelligence company that is working to bring corporate dreams of the perfect employee to life.
Pulse9 has created digital humans for some of South Korea’s largest conglomerates, including Shinsegae, with research indicating the global market for such life-like creations could reach US$527 billion (S$720 billion) by 2030.
In South Korea, AI humans have enrolled as students at universities, interned at major companies, and appeared regularly on live television driving sellouts of products from food to luxury handbags.
Zaein’s face was created by a deep learning analysis — an AI method that teaches computers to process complex data — of the faces of K-pop stars over the last two decades.
Doe-eyed with delicate features, fair skin and a willowy figure, she is brought to life by overlaying the deepfake on a human actor.
More than 10 human actors, each with different talents — from singing, dancing, acting, to reporting — help animate Zaein, which is what makes this particular AI creation so “special”, Ms Park said.
On a Monday morning, AFP met with one of the actors as she was preparing to deliver a report as Zaein on a live morning news programme on South Korean broadcaster SBS.