Fully digital, AI-generated Japanese idol supergroup revealed

Is this future of idols?

People often complain about the manufactured nature of idols, both in terms of the way they look and their music. Well, this development takes things to the next logical yet extreme step.

Kyoto-based DataGrid has released a video showing the creation of a fully digital schoolgirl idol. In fact, it’s dozens of smiling, innocent-looking schoolgirls — a fully fledged supergroup of its own, and all generated by computer graphic pixels and artificial intelligence.

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To be honest, we don’t know whether to be amazed or terrified. The realism is certainly amazing on a technical level but the uncanniness is also unsettling. Just who (or what) is seducing you with those cute smiles?

The exact tech being deployed here is deep learning with generative adversarial networks (GANs), a type of AI algorithm.

This isn’t the first time we’ve seen computers used to create new idols. AKB48 even had a digital member, Aimi Eguchi, for a while, though it only turned out to be an advertising campaign and the group soon introduced a regular female idol to be the “live” version.

Back in 2015, the world was also dazzled by the incredibly realistic schoolgirl character Saya, who was actually entirely digital.

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