The world’s house arrest surfaced new habits and accelerated synthetic products – big empires today. Think the star-studded MasterClass, or the elite expertise of Farnham Street. This is a far cry from when I made $380 dollars selling some made-with-care digital log cabins in SecondLife back when spinning logos were still the rage. I quickly tired of click and stare. Now I watch kids do it in Fortnite and Minecraft, stunned by their endless dedication to the screen and the world-making they are doing. None of this is new. 

For the past two decades we fret “But is it authentic?” with fingers pulling a turtleneck, imagined sweating from the deep thought. But does anyone really care? Is having Annie Leibovitz teach you photography reduce the value of her work? Not one bit.

And knowing that, you can embrace the AI that is now haunting your screens. Companies like alethea and NEON are making artificial humans nearing dead center in the uncanny valley. And Instagram has an entire line of robot influencers/models/wannabees, perfect for Zuckerberg. Check out Shudu, Bermuda or Miquela and wonder how human ideals aren’t going off the rails, quickly.

These are great innovations. And despite the huge bias in what they are modeled from, are only improving and continuing to be in your feed. But the humanity in the content still matters – exactly why Tik Tok is more addictive – it celebrates human ingenuity. Yes, even the dance memes.

Brands have to start with that ingenuity. Are you ready for a synthetic to take part in that?

– James Rice, Digital Experience