Science

This new K-pop group was created with AI and deepfake technology.

North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un can angrily denounce K-pop as “vicious cancer” whatever he wants. It’s not only that pop music has become one of its southern neighbor’s most beloved exports, but also pretty much all of South Korean popular culture – from movies to music and shows. television sets, which have combined to form a huge juggernaut in the entertainment industry, with little or no equal.

Netflix, for example, recognizes this and is currently investing millions of dollars in funding new original Korean dramas and films, like the new emotional masterpiece Move to Heaven, about a “trauma cleaner” and his uncle who thrill. the affairs of people who have passed away and are helping their families to leave. In total, Netflix reportedly plans to spend half a billion dollars in 2021 on South Korean content, which also coincides with a time when South Korean pop groups (like Blackpink and BTS) are among the biggest. in the world. These two groups, in particular, have millions of fans across the globe and have incredibly massive audiences on social media – which might explain why the four Blackpink members, in particular, got their own documentaries on Netflix, via their film Light Up The Ciel. Meanwhile, the technology is helping point to a futuristic and potentially even more lucrative new chapter for Korean pop music, in particular. A new K-pop group called Eternity recently made their debut, via the song I’m Real, but this 11-member girl group is very unlike anything in the K-pop universe today.

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That’s because, with apologies for the message conveyed by Eternity’s first song – the members aren’t, in fact, real. This new K-pop group, which is the product of graphics company AI Pulse 9, was created using deepfake technology to create hyper-realistic images of fake K-pop stars in the vein of greatest female acts. the genre, à la Blackpink, Red Velvet and Itzy (to name a few of the biggest real bands around today).

“Unlike human singers,” Park Ji-eun, CEO of Pulse 9, told the South China Morning Post, “AI members can speak out freely and weigh in on various social issues because they are less vulnerable to comments. and malicious reviews. As a creator, I can add more fantastic and (punchy) elements to them as well, making them more distinct from existing K-pop acts.

One of the things you’ll notice right off the bat when watching this clip is… well, let’s just say it isn’t going to win any quality song or performance award anytime soon. Nonetheless, it’s easy to see the potential here – how, with just a little more time and even a little improvement in technology, the singers in this video and the quality of the music could soon blow your mind. It’s almost there now. Okay, maybe not “almost”, but certainly in the stadium.

The industry inadvertently got a taste of how this could all work last year, with the onset of the coronavirus pandemic. Someone might be wondering how possible it is to think that you could maintain a degree of fandom with a band that can’t exactly perform in front of an audience – because of the band, you know, not existing – or interact with fans in a meet-and-greet. But Blackpink, for example, has shown how a band can chart a path around pesky limitations like these, Room A being “The Show,” the virtual concert Blackpink put on, with no audiences present and with due regard to controls. stringent health and safety guidelines against coronaviruses.

It all reminds me of one of my favorite songs to play on Beat Saber, the Pop / Stars track by the fictional girl group K / DA. This group is a fully virtual group made up of characters from the game League of Legends, which debuted with their single Pop / Stars in 2018. It’s a ridiculously fun song to listen to – and play Beat Saber on my Oculus Quest. 2 headphones – and at the time of this writing, the Pop / Stars music video has garnered over 444 million views on YouTube. “When a game company makes better music than a real music company…” one fan marvels in the comments section of the clip.

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