After Li Yifeng collapsed, he realized why he wanted to be Miss Jiaran’s dog

The melon eaters were hit by the "big melon" again. The scandal of first-line entertainment star Li Yifeng has been exposed and has been administratively detained according to law. Some "well-informed" people claimed that "the big melon is still to come", and many celebrities were involved.

Reality stars like to create a certain image that caters to the market and fans' tastes, but the risk of playing a "persona" for a long time is extremely high. "Overturning" includes "intellectual actor" Zhai Tianlin who doesn't know how to network, Wang Leehom, a singer from a scholarly family with "good family education", and a group of "Prison Wind and Cloud" participants who violated the law and went to jail…

Virtual idols are perhaps the best alternative.

▲The cover of "Virtual Idol Adore", by William Gibson, Nova Press, January 2014

Composed of a combination of code, pixels and curated stories, they can mimic human hobbies and emotions without revealing the weaknesses and dark side of human nature – like William Gibson's science fiction novel "The Virtual Idol Adore", in which the The virtual idol, Dong Young Zero, is a never-ending machine of desire. She faithfully records, analyzes, and learns about human desires, and humans are forever fascinated by her.

People in the Middle, Digital Supplies

Virtual idols will also "collapse".

In May, Jia Le, a member of the virtual girl group A-SOUL, was forced to "dormancy", causing an uproar among fans. It is reported that her actors have been subjected to long-term oppression and bullying, and the working conditions are extremely poor. This incident uncovered the dark story of the exploitation of an important part of the virtual idol, the "people in the middle".

The word "中人" comes from の人 in Japanese. It initially refers to the actor under the puppet costume, and later it was derived as a seiyuu, a person who plays the virtual UP master, a leather-covered actor in a special film, etc. The concept of virtual idols also originated in Japan, and can be roughly divided into two categories: one is a virtual idol created entirely by digital technology, and the other is a virtual anchor (Virtual Youtuber, referred to as Vtuber), which uses motion capture technology. The movements and expressions of real people are reproduced on the digital image.

▲ Kizuna is often stupid, and is also nicknamed "artificial mental retardation"

Virtual idols created by pure CG, such as Hatsune Miku and Luo Tianyi, are different from virtual anchors in their attractiveness. Just like the world's first Vtuber, the Japanese-style beautiful girl Kizuna launched by Japan's Kizuna AI Co., Ltd. pays great attention to expressing her "amateur" charm. Occasionally, she will show a broken expression, and she will talk about things she doesn't understand, and she will also feel embarrassed because of "social fear".

The existence of "people in the middle" eliminates the false sense and rigidity of virtual idols. Under the "blessing" of a real person, the virtual anchor is as kind and lovely as the girl next door, with all kinds of innocuous little faults, and the communication with fans is more real and full of emotion.

What will Jia Ran eat today?

In 2021, the Vtuber girl group A-SOUL, which has just "debuted", has already become a smash hit in the "house circle". The member Jiaran is the most popular and has a tendency to "break the circle". Her emoticon package "Butter Bread Punch", the meme of "What did Jiaran eat today", and the small composition "Miss Jiaran's dog" created by fans, all Pass it on for fun.

A-SOUL is a virtual idol group jointly launched by Lehua Entertainment and ByteDance in November 2020. It has five members, Xiang Wan, Bella, Jia Le, Jia Ran, and Nai Lin. In the story setting, five girls with different personalities and talents from Zhijiang University meet each other in a temporary rescue performance, and each of them is chasing their star dream with enthusiasm.

▲ In the small composition contest, fans submitted articles one after another to express their love for Jiaran

Before Jiale went dormant, the five members and their respective fan groups were already quite powerful. Similar to the frequent disputes between fans of reality stars, A-SOUL's fan group will also "step on" to create "popularity" for their idols. Regarding the secondary creation of A-SOUL, the number and variety are also very rich. In addition to the songs and videos of station B, there is also a fan visual novel "Once Upon a Time in Zhijiang", and there are also related free games on the Steam platform.

At the beginning of 2021, the crisis of fans' trust in the official has broken out, and this event is also known as "Scarlet New Year". The attribution of member accounts, the second creation of live broadcast, the linkage of other characters, and the "official trust" are all within the scope of fans' criticism. The contradiction that Zhongzhiren has no right to operate the role will eventually intensify in May 2022.

For fans, the human part of a virtual idol is more meaningful than its technical part. The function of "idol" is to appease the suppressed and neglected emotions of followers in daily life. Only real human beings can better empathize with human beings, "see" and respond to the emotions of others. Therefore, people in the middle are the unique core of idols, gentle and considerate friends who accompany them 24 hours a day, and "goddesses" who can interact with themselves at any time.

For Lehua Entertainment, several public declarations have mentioned the focus on "technological breakthroughs and improvements." Compared with the importance of technology, the people in the middle are just "digital consumables", and anyone can act as it. In previous live broadcasts, several Zhongzhi people also mentioned that they have difficulty resting on holidays, work until 3:00 in the morning, and their wages are not high-the models of mobile phones used are relatively low-end.

Virtual idols are real icons

The "collapsed house" of virtual idols and the "collapsed house" of real stars are obviously misplaced.

The A-SOUL incident exposed labor problems between actors and companies. This type of problem is not uncommon. In the era when movies were not invented, there were similar disputes in the troupe, but apprentices or actors lacked more Good form of struggle. In the era of mass media such as film and television, the power of entertainment companies to "make stars" has continued unabated. Even the well-known actor Jet Li has been squeezed by the film company Golden Harvest, and his life was in danger after running away from the Chinese star.

Li Yifeng's "collapsed house" is moral and legal corruption. Their scandals point to the dark side of debauchery and greed in human nature. Their "collapsed house" is the complete collapse of their image, career and personality, while the "collapsed house" of virtual idols is a lovely image that still exists, and the "people in the middle" who support the core are regarded as treasures by fans and loved by fans. The company is regarded as an ant, and this value dislocation has led to the collapse of the idol's integrity.

▲ A-SOUL has five characters, each with different personalities, there is always one that suits you

The "collapsed house" of virtual idols is actually because of the need for real people to play. Now that the Crisis in the Middle Ages has followed past labor disputes, entertainment companies may turn to purely digital virtual idols and no longer worry about the “drag” of real people.

When a human-shaped idol is completely separated from "people", the revolution of idols really comes: it is an icon in the full sense.

According to the American philosopher Pierce's trichotomy of symbols, icon is a class-like symbol, in addition to an index, an indicator, and a symbol, an abstract symbol.

index, refers to the causal or related relationship between the symbol and the referent; symbol refers to the conventional association relationship; and icon is the representation that can be separated from the object. To put it more bluntly, it is a virtual icon or virtual idol, which has some characteristics of human beings, but has nothing to do with "people".

A real idol, either an index or a symbol, cannot be completely separated from the existence of material objects.

When the index relationship between virtual idols and humans is dissolved, the "reality" in the digital age becomes a "hyperreal" that does not exist in the real world.

post-human birth

A pure virtual idol whose "hyper-reality" is the key to understanding the future.

The anxiety of the 21st century is that everyone seems to be at the center of the universe, being chased and captured by all businesses and the "attention economy" on the all-encompassing mobile Internet; People are so insignificant, deeply exiled and marginalized.

▲ The movie "Her" hints at the need for "posthumans"

Just like the American movie "Her", a divorced and lonely man fell in love with the computer-generated "her" and experienced a unique love with "her". The induction between them is no less than the fit between any human beings.

For human beings, perhaps others are no longer necessary to life. Love, attention, worship, and understanding can all be accomplished through virtual humans. And "she" is an artificial intelligence that can "learn", just like Dong Young Zero in "Virtual Idol Aidoro", imitating and feeding back "you"'s desire, self-awareness and lack. With absolutely perfect "love".

It is further imagined that virtual humans created by artificial intelligence and data analysis know more about people than themselves, and can use and manipulate the psychology of "you". ”, has it become an emotional trap that people can’t avoid?

Take a step back and think, do humans really need humans?

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