irtual influencer agency The Diigitals has unveiled their newest face: Kami, the first virtual influencer with Down syndrome.
While many virtual influencers are characters that could have been born only in people’s imaginations, The Diigitals wanted Kami to represent real people with Down syndrome. They partnered with Down Syndrome International (DSi) to help create her and to ensure that she is an authentic representation of women with the disability.
How was Kami created?
Over 100 women with Down syndrome submitted photos and videos of themselves for the project. Using AI, their faces were compiled into a single image. 3D artists then used this image as the foundation for creating Kami. Everything from Kami’s face to her voice and personality was based on these real women living with Down syndrome.
James-Cameron Wilson, the founder of The Diigitals and creator of virtual supermodel Shudu, explained how important this unique process was:
“Generating the initial concept of Kami from an algorithm more than the touch of a human hand eliminated any notion of unconscious beauty bias into the character creation process. We really wanted Kami’s DNA to represent all the faces and aspects of these women with Down syndrome, which the program allowed us to do.”
Who will run Kami’s social media?
Since virtual influencers like Kami are not AI or automated, humans still need to write their captions and run their social media accounts.
We asked Rachel Kennedy and Firrdaus Yusof from the creative agency Forsman & Bodenfors Singapore, who helped create Kami, to provide us more exclusive details on who will be running Kami’s social media.
“There is a panel of young women with Down syndrome who plan out the content for Kami’s page, working closely with DSI. We call them Kami Contributors. They are involved in deciding what Kami should talk about, what she should wear and where she should go,” they told me.
“The young women in this panel also create the captions for all of her posts, which are either written by them or quoted from verbal conversations.”
One of the greatest ethical questions surrounding virtual influencers is wondering who makes up the creative team controlling the character. Using a panel of real women avoids this ethical quandary and ensures that her content is actually representative of people with Down syndrome. Most importantly, it’s also an innovative method for running a virtual that we haven’t seen before.
We also asked Kami about how she wants to use her platform. Her answer was generated from a collection of interviews from the Kami Contributors:
“If I see more people with Down syndrome on social media, it will make me happy! I want to be an influencer so I can tell people all over the world to know us better and accept us! I want to create something inspiring. If people were more accepting, it would change our lives.”
To stay up to date on Kami and other new virtual influencers entering the industry, subscribe to The Splice, our Virtual Humans newsletter.