“They Are Not Just Products.” — Fans Have Mixed Feelings After SM Entertainment Lists AI Versions Of NCT For Sale

Would you buy one?

Over the last couple of years, SM Entertainment have delved heavily into the idea of personal AIs and other forms of artificial intelligence. With the debut of aespa, who each have an ae version of themselves and characters like Naevis in their lore, it’s easy to see the direction SM is heading.

aespa and their ae versions. | SM Entertainment

Recently, NCT opened their NCT HOME exhibition and inadvertently began a conversation about K-Pop idols’ treatment by their companies.

| SM Entertainment

As part of the exhibit, fans could interact with the members through an interactive touchscreen poster. As fans used their fingers on the poster, the NCT member would blink, smile, and move his head as though he was really there.

Fans had mixed feelings about the AI posters, with many calling them “creepy” because of how they could be manipulated.

Now SM Entertainment has taken the idea to the next level and introduced app versions of each member’s AI. For $12.99 USD, fans can download the application to their phone and “meet and interact with” their member of choice.

Each app’s description says, “you can not only meet your artists but also make them move.

| Apple App Store

| UXstory Inc

Fans have found this even more unnerving than the posters, which will only be on display for a limited time. With these apps, fans will have a controllable version of their favorite member in their pocket for as long as they want.

Some NCTzens have even shared notices that they will not support the app because it dehumanizes the artists.

As the lines between consent and AIs continue to be blurred, fans are worried this could encourage some fans to feel as though the group are simply products to manipulate rather than artists with their own feelings.

You can read more about deepfakes, a concept similar to AIs, below.

Korean Netizens Call For Strict Measures Against “Deepfake” Videos Based On K-Pop Idols