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Aimi Eguchi can sing, dance, promote snacks, but can she feel love?

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How could you not love this face(s)?

Back in 1992, someone mistook a chat-room bot for a person and tried to flirt with them. For 2 weeks.

Inbetween then and now there have been plenty of realistic digital beings: virtual mascots (e.g. Reiko Nagase), CG movie-characters (e.g. Neytiri or Dr. Aki Ross), and even online customer service has become more life-like. Voiced by actors and songstresses, these artificially animated avatars are becoming more and more like actual people. How much longer before we can’t tell the difference? How about now?

No, it’s not Hatsune Miku or Sharona Apple or Ashlee Simpson. It’s Aimi Eguchi (江口愛美/Eguchi Aimi) of Japanese pop-group AKB48.

Following her TV debut promoting Glico’s “Ice No Mi” (アイスの未), Aimi won over a following of fans. It was at this point that AKB producer Yashushi Akimoto had to reveal that Aimi wouldn’t be seen with the rest of the group because she was actually a computer-graphic composite of several of the group’s existing members.

According to tenkai-japan, Eguchi’s eyes are those of AKB’s Atsuko Maeda, her hair and body are those of Yuko Oshima, her mouth is that of Mariko Shinoda, her eyebrows are those of Mayu Watanabe, her facial line is that of Minami Takahashi, her nose is that of Tomomi Itano, and her voice is that of Yukari Sasaki, their newest trainee (12th generation).

In spite of (or because of) the fact that Aimi Eguchi is only a virtual member, appearing only media and never in public, she is becoming the most popular member of the group. Aimi Eguchi performs in the center position of the seven members performing the song and dance of the TV commercial of Ice no Mi.

Aimi Eguchi has made headlines around the world:

Her Wiki and how she’s put together, a Tenkai-Japan article and something from the Telegraph out of the UK

For historical laughs, read the original “How Barry Met Julia” transcript of the 1992 bot being woo’d, or take a look at the BBC coverage or the book: The Bewitching Miss Julia.