While some virtual influencers present themselves as “robots”, the content they post is created by humans. Sylvia is different. She presents herself as a “coffee operated robot living her best life” according to her Instagram bio.
Her written content—Instagram posts and posthumously self-published book—were co-written by an artificially intelligent neural network that got its language from a selection of influential Instagram accounts.
Sylvia’s feed followed a pattern that alternated between computer-generated images accompanied by a text written by a human, and inspirational photographs that were accompanied by computer-generated text.
The style of writing we were interested in replicating is that of the rambling emotional long caption post. We worked with the GPT-2 language model and tweaked it on language scraped from influencer accounts. The mix included lifestyle bloggers, art critics, actresses, models, makeup artists, and more. As Sylvia aged, we had her “read” accounts that represented her age better and to make the writing “wiser”.
In an interview to Cultured Magazine, Sylvia was asked to give life advice and generated the following list:
- Don’t be a wannabe.
- Think of the kids
- Know this: a strong, loving mother is all the rage these days.
- Be responsible.
- Live your life.
- Work hard.
- Be in the present.
- Make friends.
- Show up.
- Be a human being.
- Not a robot.
Each item on this list was to be a chapter in the book that Sylvia wrote later in life.
The chapters of this book are available through linktree