“It’s not just products.”
During the last two years little entertainment have done a lot of research on the idea of personal AIs and other forms of artificial intelligence. With the beginnings of Aespawho each have an e-version of themselves and characters like naevis In their tradition, the direction SM is taking is easy to see.
Lately, NKT opened hers HOME exposed and accidentally started a conversation about their companies’ handling of K-pop idols.
As part of the exhibition, fans were able to interact with members via an interactive touch screen poster. As fans ran their fingers over the poster, the NCT member blinked, smiled and nodded his head as if it were real.
Fans had mixed feelings about the AI posters, with many calling them “creepy” due to the way they could be manipulated.
Is it strange to others that for me this is a very black mirror? https://t.co/5IKB2NPpFh
— Sungchan’s bodyguard (@Iove444eva) February 8, 2023
Now SM Entertainment has taken the idea to the next level and introduced app versions of each member’s AI. For $12.99, fans can download the app to their phone and “meet and interact” with the member of their choice.
The description of each application states: “Not only can you meet your artists, you can move them.”
Fans found this even more disturbing than the limited-time posters. With these apps, fans can have a controllable version of their favorite member in their pocket for as long as they want.
Am I the only one who finds the nct home app creepy…. It’s pretty dehumanizing for the boys. They are real people, not characters that can be “controlled” which is what sm was thinking when this came out
– sure 🦦 (@taromarklee) March 17, 2023
This nct home app scares me…I’m afraid it’s a low key form of idol dehumanization – pic.twitter.com/Cp6kc0WPDV
— ałé 🪐 (@iamadeadstar) March 17, 2023
Some NCTzens have even posted reviews saying they won’t endorse the app because it dehumanizes artists.
— ً (@tensfeed) March 17, 2023
As the lines between consent and AI continue to blur, fans worry it could encourage some fans to feel like the band are easy-to-manipulate commodities rather than artists with their own feelings.
The nct home app is so weird lol. they are people, not toys to play with. I hope sm isn’t encouraging this weird fan behavior. love to stop eating there. The kpop stan culture needs to change in this direction. but this nct home shit is on another level of weird 🤢🤢🤢🤢
– Aura ☄️ (@dscyongsqin) March 17, 2023
I’m sorry but SM’s launch of an app that further encourages people’s parasocial relationships and promotes nct as products and not actual artists sucks so much
— 🙊 renminatron823 (@BAE4HYUCK) March 17, 2023
The nct Home app is really not for me. 😭
— 🥣 (@retrorockstar) March 17, 2023
Below you can read more about deepfakes, a concept similar to AI.
Korean netizens are calling for strict action against “deepfake” videos based on K-pop idols