What’s the point of an AI beauty pageant?

Miss AI is the world’s first beauty pageant for virtual women.

Miss AI is down to 10 finalists, none of whom are real. Fanvue — a subscription service for creators of all kinds, including adult content and AI influencers — is hosting the world’s first beauty pageant for virtual women.

Some of these AI influencers do look a little uncanny valley — especially when speaking in videos — but others are surprisingly convincing. Lalina, who was created to look as realistic as possible, looks perfectly human in photos.

But they’ll be judged not just on their digitally rendered looks, but also the tech used to build them, and the clout they maintain on social media. The winning developer will win $5k, and the top three will receive PR services and AI mentorship.

But… why?

The first modern pageant came from Phineas T. Barnum — yeah, the circus guy — who just seemed to enjoy a good judging. He held contests for dogs, flowers, and children, per PBS.

Today, the appeal for typical, human contestants is the opportunity to gain experience and connections, and to win scholarships, cash, or other prizes. The same potential exists for AI creators — and really isn’t different from any other competition.

It’s only jarring…

… because it’s AI — but it’s not particularly interesting otherwise.

All of these “women” are beautiful, youthful, and thin, mirroring the unrealistic beauty standards that have led to criticism of both pageants and social media. They even talk about diet and exercise, despite not having physical bodies.

They discuss details of their well-curated fake lives and mostly uncontroversial social justice issues. There’s nothing risky about them.

In fact, Mohammad Talha Saray said his contestant, Seren Ay, was developed to model his jewelry over human influencers because she’s cheaper and has no demands. That may work out: 46% of Gen Zers say they’d be more interested in a brand that works with AI influencers.

There’s definitely something larger to unpack about making a bunch of fake hot women you can control or how much attention we’ll give to people we don’t know, real or fake.

But Miss AI is — much like influencer culture itself when it gets too inauthentic — kinda boring.

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