Several K-Pop agencies have been experimenting with the idea of AI (artificial intelligence) in recent months, but Pulse9 is taking things further with a new girl group composed entirely of AI members.
The new project group, named Eternity, is composed of 11 members: Minji, Seoa, Sujin,
Dain, Yeoreum, Yejin,
Jaein, Jiwoo, Hyejin,
Sarang, and Chorong. However, none of the members are actually real, or even based on real peoples’ faces.
All eleven virtual idols in Eternity were created with Deep Real AI, a deepfake-based virtual imaging technology developed by Pulse9. All the members’ faces were chosen through “AI.DOL CHALLENGE”, which pitted hundreds of synthesized idols together in a vote earlier this year. Alongside having unique faces, all the members are said to have unique charms and personalities.
Unlike most companies behind K-Pop groups, Pulse9 is an artificial intelligence brand rather than a music agency. According to the company, their Deep Real AI technology is different from existing deepfake technology in its realism, low costs, and short production times.
The company was founded in 2016 by female CEO Jieun “Jenny” Park and also offers other AI services and technologies.
So far, Pulse9 has uploaded several concept videos of the Eternity virtual members. While they’re certainly not completely indistinguishable from real humans, their features, movements, and expressions look relatively natural.
Alongside their activities as a virtual group, the Eternity members will also form unit groups and release solo songs according to Pulse9. On top of that, the company will use Eternity as YouTubers, influencers, and brand models. One of the virtual members, Chorong, has already appeared in an advertisement for brokerage company Shinhan Investment Corp.
Eternity will debut on Monday, March 22 at 6:00 p.m. Korean Standard Time with their first single, “I’m Real”. From March 22 to March 26, the virtual group will also be holding a pop-up showcase.
While some fans are intrigued by the concept of Eternity, others are calling the group “creepy”, especially in light of how deepfake imagery has been used against female K-Pop idols in the past
Pulse9 is not the first company to experiment with virtual idols. SM Entertainment‘s new girl group, aespa, debuted last year with AI counterparts for each member, and League of Legends-based virtual group K/DA has been running for quite some time. Recently launched app UNIVERSE also features AI content for groups like IZ*ONE, MONSTA X, and (G)I-DLE.