Last month, Meta-formerly-Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg got on stage to unveil a slew of new AI chatbots, many of which are based top-tier celebrities from sports and television.
There's a "wisecracking sports debater" called Bru, based on NFL legend Tom Brady. There's Tamika, an "anime-obsessed cosplay expert," based on Japanese tennis player Naomi Osaka. Calvin "Snoop Dogg" Broadus Junior will be your next "Dungeon Master," while Paris Hilton will help you solve whodunnits as "Amber."
All told, Meta announced a whopping 28 AIs that you can message on the company's various platforms. Roughly half are based on real-life celebrities, albeit with modified names, some of whom raked in millions for the deals.
And as it turns out, an astonishing number of those celebrities previously cashed in on cryptocurrencies and NFTs — or at least they did back before markets bottomed out. Some of them even actively promoted FTX, the collapsed crypto empire whose founder Sam Bankman-Fried is on trial this week for defrauding investors of billions of dollars.
In other words, the shameful "crypto to AI pipeline" is hitting a fever pitch, with stars ditching web3 in favor of the latest cash grab.
By our count, three out of the initial 14 celebrities listed in Meta's announcement last month were either directly or indirectly invested in FTX. Two of them, Brady and Osaka, were actually sued over misleading their fans by shilling the exchange.
In March 2022, roughly eight months before FTX's collapse, Osaka became an FTX "global ambassador," receiving an equity stake in the company. Brady, also once an FTX ambassador, was featured in TV commercials that promoted the exchange as "the most trusted" institution. He was reportedly paid $55 million for roughly 60 hours of work.
And Kendall Jenner's 818 Tequila brand was also embroiled in a $700 million lawsuit involving FTX.
Outside of FTX, plenty of other celebrities who've signed up for Meta's AI chatbot treatment have also extensively shilled crypto, including Snoop Dogg, who has launched several NFT collections and has been involved in many crypto schemes.
Similarly, Hilton is no stranger to the non-fungible tokens, going as far as to show off her own NFT series during an appearance on the "Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon" last year.
Social media personalities Jimmy "MrBeast" Donaldson, Charli D'Amelio, and Lauren "LaurDIY" Riihimaki, who've also agreed to be turned into Meta AIs, have promoted crypto in the past. In a 2021 interview with YouTuber Logan Paul, MrBeast revealed he had invested $1.5 million in Bitcoin. LaurDIY has an entire Instagram account dedicated to "all things crypto, NFTs, Web3."
In a sense, at least the stakes aren't as high compared to the still-ongoing FTX debacle. So what if an AI-generated version of your face is being plastered on some lazily put-together social media accounts run by Meta — at least you aren't encouraging your fans to buy into some sort of get-rich-quick scheme.
At the end of the day, maybe none of this should be surprising. With cryptocurrency and NFT markets in dire straits, these public figures are looking to jump on the next bandwagon. And who could blame them for chasing the paper? Given the astronomical amount of hype surrounding AI these days, there's a lot of cash being thrown around.
More on the AI chatbots: One in Ten Chatbot Users Are Big Time Horndogs, Researchers Find
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