While going through a rough patch, Spanish agency The Clueless decided it had enough of nagging and demanding human clients — so it cooked up an AI model instead.

As Euronews reports, the agency says it used AI tools to create Aitana, a 25-year-old pink-haired woman from Barcelona. They say she looks real enough to fool a human celebrity into sliding into her DMs and asking her out.

And the agency says the gambit has paid off financially, with Aitana netting the team up to $11,000 a month in revenue.

"We did it so that we could make a better living and not be dependent on other people who have egos, who have manias, or who just want to make a lot of money by posing," Aitana's cocreator, and founder of The Clueless Rubén Cruz told Euronews.

If true — the whole thing does smack of intentionally courting controversy — it's a fascinating new turn for a burgeoning AI influencer industry. We've already seen AI-generated models gaining huge social media followings, as well as ad agencies leveraging awkward-looking CGI influencers during the period before generative AI.

Now this team is apparently taking the concept to its logical conclusion by overtly commercializing it and saying the quiet part out loud: that they have no interest in working with human models now that AI image generators exist.

Besides netting brand deals worth over $1,100 each, Aitana also sells racy images on an OnlyFans-like platform called Fanvue. Her Instagram account is also popping off and has amassed almost 150,000 followers.

Are Aitana's too-smooth glamour shots fooling anybody? Cruz says they are.

"One day, a well-known Latin American actor texted to ask her out," he told Euronews. "This actor has about five million followers and some of our team watched his TV series when they were kids."

"He had no idea Aitana didn't exist," he added.

Apart from raking in revenue, AI influencers like Aitana could allow other agencies to create models that won't cause messy human drama.

"They want to have an image that is not a real person and that represents their brand values," Cruz told Euronews, "so that there are no continuity problems if they have to fire someone or can no longer count on them."

Additionally, using an AI image generator to create photos of influencers comes with some serious savings, considering the cost of working with a human celebrity.

"Kim Kardashian makes a million euros for an Instagram photo and she doesn't cure cancer," Cruz said. "Nobody earns a million euros for uploading a photo to a social network, it seems absurd to me."

Of course, replacing human influencers with AI-generated models is as contentious as it is potentially lucrative. After all, it's a rare and brazen example of AI tech directly being used to replace human labor.

It's also a particularly pertinent topic these days. The use of AI to replace actors was a key topic of this year's Hollywood actors' strike, with SAG-AFTRA union members horrified by proposals to scan background actors' likenesses in order to use them in perpetuity.

Is this really the end of human influencers? While more agencies are jumping on the AI bandwagon, nobody really knows if the concept will have long-term appeal.

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