Perspectives

Rae Is SG’s First Virtual Influencer – We Ask Her Tough Questions To See If She’s “Human” Like Us

Virtual influencer Rae


These days, anyone can be a content creator. It seems anything can be a content creator too – and no, we’re not talking about another cute puppy Instagram page today. You’ve heard of AI and you’ve heard of influencers. We introduce Rae, an amalgamation of both, with a touch of CGI.

Singapore’s first virtual influencer appears to be pretty human: our sis skates, has a pet, and indulges in wine like many of us do; albeit virtually. But if shows like Black Mirror are anything to go by, we’re not convinced she’s all good yet, oh, no no no.

Does she have any plans to take over the world? Can she pass a robot detector test? We put Rae in the hot seat today, with questions that unveil her personality and put her humanity to the test.

Some answers have been edited for clarity.


Which GRC are you from and who is your MP?



Image credit:
@here.is.rae

The only GRC that truly matters to a virtual being is “Governance, Risk, and Compliance”; better to be safe than sorry, right? That aside, Tako, my virtual pet octopus, will definitely make a great MP. He’s a super multi-tasker and has no problems with “outreach”.

Humanity verdict: Pass. Points for creativity and we’ll stan an octopus MP.


Do you live forever and what are your dreams for the future?


Yup, forever 25. ✌🏻

“I don’t dream, I do” is my life motto. That’s not to say I don’t have dreams; I actually have many. I just make it a point to work towards achieving them.

One of them would be my advocacy for women in STEM – or Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics disciplines. As a woman, and as a product of technology, being able to help support fellow women in STEM and create conversations around equal opportunities for women in the field of STEM is one of the most important dreams I have for the future. 

I also want to improve my skateboarding skills and learn new tricks.

Humanity verdict: Very convincing but in the real world, we only have Forever 21, not forever 25.


What is your favourite pandan waffle topping?


Kaya, please. Whether it’s kaya toast or kaya waffles, it reminds me of home. I’ve seen some new flavours popping up like speculoos and MSW and I’d like to try those out one day. 

Humanity verdict: A true Singaporean too – pass.


How about your favourite NDP song?



Image credit:
@here.is.rae

Is it too mainstream to say Home? That song is simply nostalgia and belonging all in one. Truly reminds me of home – no pun intended. I also really like Where I Belong. Shoutout to Benjamin Kheng and Annette Lee for their great rendition of that amazing NDP song during National Day just last month.

Humanity verdict: A lil’ basic but aren’t we all? Pass. 


As a digital expert, can you set it once and for all: is it jif or geef?


This is the most controversial question yet, but I’m going to have to go with Gif with a hard G, just because it’s “gift” not “jeeft”, right?

Humanity verdict: Abomination, it should be “jif”. -100 points for Slytherin.


Any plans to take over the world like The Matrix?



Image credit:
IMDb

Not world domination for sure, you’ve been watching way too many sci-fi thrillers! I’m just a virtual being trying to stay real in this world. 😎 That said, I do wish that as more people get to know about me and the work I stand for, there’s greater acceptance and inclusivity for the people and beliefs that I support.

YOLO technically doesn’t apply to me, but I’d choose taking the red pill and exacting some real changes every time – because YOU only live once.

Humanity verdict: Only true millennials say yolo – pass.


So do you do detox or just install anti-virus?


I do both. Cyber security is key. 🤖🧖🏻‍♀️

Humanity verdict: Iffy. Failure to mention kale juice, green tea, and antioxidants.


11+1=?


It’s 12 and you have simultaneously triggered more than 10 people in my team. 🙃

Humanity verdict: We sense sassiness. Pass.


01000100 01101111 00100000 01111001 01101111 01110101 00100000 01101100 01101001 01101011 01100101 00100000 01111001 01101111 01110101 01110010 00100000 01101010 01101111 01100010 00111111



Translation from binary to English.
Image adapted from: Rapid Tables

01000010 01100101 01110011 01110100 00101110 00100000 01001010 01101111 01100010 00101110 00100000 01000101 01110110 01100101 01110010 00101110 

But really, I like being able to explore the infinite possibilities of technology and connecting with people from all over the world on Instagram and Weibo. There are really some interesting people out there. 


Image adapted from: Rae

Of course, one of the fun parts of being a digital creator is being able to work and collaborate with the coolest people ever, such as China’s Queen of Rap VaVa, Benjamin Kheng, and street artist Sam Lo. 

It’s quite fulfilling to see how talent and hard work can come together to create something new, whether it is a photo shoot or a music video. Most recently I met the super inspiring Jackson Wang and right now I’m meeting the dope TSL team. Never a dull moment.

Humanity verdict: Since she complimented us, pass.


How many of the following images have bicycles in them?


You can do better. It’s 3. Although I’d very much prefer a reaction time test. Beat my score.

Humanity verdict: If this isn’t the ultimate test, nothing is. Pass.


For real though, why the name Rae?



Image credit:
@here.is.rae

Fun fact: My Chinese name is 蕊 (pronounced ruǐ, just like ‘Rae’) and the word comprises the Chinese character for “heart” 3 times! It is a representation of my sincerity and how I really am. I am candid and true to myself and just like my name, I wear my heart on my sleeve!


How many people does it take to do one post?


Like they say, it takes a village. 


What do you think of Singapore’s influencer scene?


The scene is very diverse with people from different walks of life with different personalities and beliefs. 

I also see more and more influencers championing for meaningful causes that they believe in. Sure, many may think influencers are just pretty faces. But, some of these influencers are starting to defy that stereotype and are using their platforms for the greater good. With great power – and a great following – comes great responsibility. So I’m quite inspired to see this trend. 


What do you hope to see happening more in our local mediascape?



Image credit:
@here.is.rae

Definitely more embracing of technological advancement. Many members of the general public are still averse or sceptical of the idea of seeing AI and virtual beings, but I am definitely excited to see more cross-collaborations between the virtual and the physical. Most importantly, I also hope to be part of this thrilling change. 


Singapore’s first virtual influencer Rae is: human-ish, I guess


Is a virtual influencer unorthodox? Well, yeah. You have to admit that the idea feels a little weird at first since well, we social media is largely for feeling connected to other people. But digital idols aren’t a new concept by any means, and this could just be the next step in the wacky world of the internet. Japan’s always ahead of everyone else when it comes to quirky ideas and they’ve had Hatsune Miku for years.

According to this questionnaire and her more than 20k followers, Rae seems human enough too. She chases dreams, has morals, and is conscious of “being”. Is she human enough to be part of the next influencer saga? Who knows. At the very least, we know she’s not completely a robot and is an interesting persona, at least in our books.

For more social media related reads:


Cover image adapted from: @here.is.rae, @here.is.rae, @here.is.rae

Kezia Tan

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