K-Pop, a loosely defined term connoting the myriad of different South Korean pop groups that have been setting the internet aflame for the past several years, has been reshaping the face of contemporary pop music for quite some time now. Air-tight choreography, cults of personality quite comparable to what we in the west once called Beatlemania, razor-sharp production, and pastiche songwriting techniques are but some of the game-changing characteristics of the genre. With that being said, any and all innovations brought up by K-Pop musicians shouldn’t come as that much of a surprise, given their undeniable influence. Yet there it seems as though something entirely different is blossoming in deep within the K-Pop industry, something none of us could have foreseen. We are, of course, talking about the introduction of procedurally generated pop icons.
Eternity is a band of eleven completely fake people that were generated by an incredibly powerful AI and the clever team of data scientists and programmers who created it. Seeing as much of modern pop music had already begun to blur the lines between the organic looks of a person and their overly-produced, photoshopped selves, the cast of Eternity seem, at first glance, perfectly human. It is only on second look that one can spot the few minor hiccups which point to the group’s inauthenticity.
These virtual personas were all created with the help of deepfake technology created by Pulse9, ‘Deep Real AI’, which, according to its creators, is very much suitable for the creation of a K-Pop band given its low-cost capabilities and short production times. The personas themselves were all handpicked by the public, who voted on thousands of different AI-generated fake people. This signals not only a staggering change in terms of the performers, who have been replaced by virtual characters; the AI K-Pop revolution might also herald a drastic change in the way fans interact with their newfound idols, lifting them to ranks of global stardom and doing away with them with a simple click of a button.