Blurred lines between digital and physical reality; Lil Miquela goes heart to heart after hack by Bermuda, two virtual people

Just happened across this post by Lil Miquela, a digital representation of a woman on Instagram; she is not real. But read her posts (#PicOrDidntHappen), and some of the reaction, and realize that thousands believe she is.

Since seeing her for the first time, she (and the company that created and manages her, who just raised pile of VC) has been a fascination of social commentary to me. It’s not because of her team’s advertorial ability to identify and exploit social mores and the never ending brand dollar, but by our human response to her.

Lil Miquela posts and people respond. She posts about fashion and music, (not to mention her CGI and shaders are getting better), and today about her deepest troubling feelings after being hacked by OTHER virtual insta-celeb Bermuda. And people responded with great heart.

This is a phenomenal mixture of physical and digital reality. It takes the best of the real, human thought and intent, and combines it with the digital ability to be anyone, anywhere, at anytime.

Perhaps, we are ready for a mixed reality of digital characters around us with actually smart AI. Today, VR characters are still virtual, Alexa is too robotic, but Lil Miquela comes to us in our favorite social network, Instagram — and we eat it up. The disjunct is in the medium.

What an incredible experiment, and example, of the digital / virtual / augmented / mixed reality that awaits us. And a lesson for creators, start with the tools in the here and now, because in fact we are more ready for a virtual / augmented world, and artificial intelligence, than we ever thought.

Partner at Shasta Ventures investing in Smart Software: Applied AI, Computer Vision, Blockchain, and Financial Services.