Award Banner
Award Banner

'We don't have to remember lines': Vincent Ng, Li Nanxing, Gurmit Singh and others on why using AI avatars is 'clever' and not 'easy money'

'We don't have to remember lines': Vincent Ng, Li Nanxing, Gurmit Singh and others on why using AI avatars is 'clever' and not 'easy money'
Li Nanxing, Vincent Ng, Gurmit Singh, Vivian Lai, Julie Tan and Shane Pow are among the celebrities who were at the launch of IdoLive on March 22, 2024.
PHOTO: The Celeb Net

There is a possibility that you may soon fall asleep to veteran local actor Li Nanxing's singing, host Vivian Lai broadcasting the news or ex-Mediacorp actor Vincent Ng promoting health supplement products in a sales livestream.

However, before you wonder if they have ventured to other segments of the media industry, you should know that these are their AI avatars.

Nanxing and 15 other celebrities were at the National Library Building on March 22 for the launch of IdoLive, which claims to be the first artificial intelligence (AI) digital celebrity marketing solution in Southeast Asia.

Speaking to AsiaOne, the 59-year-old shared his reason for joining the platform: "I feel that it will bring us to another level, on things such as sales livestreams and product endorsements.

"The merchants know us, maybe we are more persuasive in promoting products to a wider audience. Using our AI avatars, we can communicate faster and more precisely… In addition, there is a limit to our physical strength and time, and we can only fit our availability within a schedule, but with AI, it can replace all of that.

"Another amazing part is that it can also speak in many languages and appear in different countries at the same time."

Taiwan-born Vivian felt the same, sharing that with her avatar, she can expand to South Korean, Japanese or even European markets and fulfil her dreams of being multilingual.

The 47-year-old added that her avatar also allows audiences to see a different side of her.

"The first time I saw my AI, I felt that it has the ability to do things that I can't. For example, everyone thinks that Vivian is someone who is humorous, fun and relaxed. But actually I have always wanted to try being a news anchor. However, when I actually narrate the news using my feelings, it becomes very funny.


"I have tried acting as a new anchor during variety shows and when I am serious, it becomes very funny. So my avatar can do more serious things… That's not to say that I personally can't do it, but the audiences already have a preconception about me."

Nanxing shared that when he first saw his avatar in January, he felt that it was "unbelievable".

"I can't even differentiate whether it's real or fake. Is that really me?" he said.

Vincent, 48, expressed the same when he first saw his AI.

"It felt like watching myself in my first drama. I felt anxious. I was involved in recording the contents, so I was prepared to a certain extent. But I also had a sense of anticipation and curiosity. Although I think the effect is quite good, it always feels strange to look at myself," he shared.

He said that joining IdoLive is a challenge to him, but also a learning opportunity and to "have some fun".

Vincent added: "I think it's fun to see how technology can make this effect realistic… it actually saves time, we don't have to do research and remember lines."

Earlier this month, news emerged of Chinese netizens using AI to resurrect late celebrities including Chinese-American singer Coco Lee, Taiwanese-Canadian actor Godfrey Gao and Chinese actor Qiao Renliang, which sparked outcry among netizens and the families of the deceased.

Last September, netizens were miffed when livestream footage of Taiwanese singer-actor Calvin Chen eating turned out to be an AI-generated video of him. Some netizens commented that it is now "easier for celebrities to make money".

When we asked the celebrities if they were concerned about facing backlash from netizens, they responded in the negative, because it's not all fun and no work behind-the-scenes.

Vincent expressed: "They have never been artistes before and have never seen the difficulties that we have gone through… Ten years of practice for one minute on stage… Artistes also put in their effort, so don't just look at the surface. They face the public and pressure from them too."

Vivian also shared that they have contributed their share of hard work.

"People shouldn't think celebs earn easy money with AI; we have done our own preparations too. For example, if we change our hairstyle, we need to go through the whole process and redo the AI again. You wouldn't expect to see the same AI version of myself in a year or two," she said.


A post shared by Lai Vivian (@veravivian)

Local actor-host Gurmit Singh also expressed similar opinions, sharing that even if he does it in the flesh, people would still say that he is earning easy money.

However, he also pointed out that people are now more educated and would understand the benefits of AI in increasing productivity and efficiency.

"Maybe initially they may think this is quite an easy job. But then they will also realise that this is a clever job," said Gurmit.


Other celebs felt that it's a matter of perspective.

Actress Julie Tan, 31, who hasn't seen her AI yet, shared: "Haters gonna hate… Everyone definitely has a very different perspective and position on how things should be. For me, that means there are people who want to use me for their content."

Shane Pow said that his AI avatar is just to "supplement the job" and not replace him.

"It doesn't mean that I am 100 per cent not going to do livestreaming anymore, because obviously livestreaming is also about the interactions. So as much as I can, I would still definitely want to do it," the 33-year-old actor expressed.

Nanxing said that the Covid-19 pandemic has changed the way people shop, such as purchasing things online and using food delivery services.

Similarly for AI, it's also a matter of accepting it with time.

"Those who scold us would get used to AI eventually," he said.

ALSO READ: 'Revealing our scars': Families of late actors Godfrey Gao and Qiao Renliang upset by AI replicas created by netizens

No part of this article can be reproduced without permission from AsiaOne.

This website is best viewed using the latest versions of web browsers.