Here Comes The Aigency, a Talent Agency for Robot Actors

Seattle entrepreneurs Forest Gibson and Jared Cheshier today launched The Aigency, a new talent agency for robot actors.

The company connects film production studios, event organizers, and other media groups with robots. The plan is to replicate what traditional talent agencies do for human actors and actresses, but instead for robots and "virtual beings." The company's initial "talent" includes a pair of Boston Dynamics robots named Zero and One.


The idea may sound far-fetched. But Gibson assured that it is for real.

"We figured that the idea already sounds crazy enough to be an April Fools joke so we are just embracing the timing," he said.

Gibson and Cheshier are co-founders at Pluto VR, a Seattle virtual reality startup. They have years of media production, gaming, VR/AR development, and marketing experience.

The Aigency Launch Trailer www.youtube.com

The Aigency is part of the Boston Dynamics early adopter program, which helped the firm land a pair of four-legged Spot robots.

Media producers pay The Aigency to provide the robots and built out any additional technology needed.

"We handle the logistics of getting the robots on set and into character for their performance," Gibson said. "We then support the media and promotions of the production via social media, red carpet events, and press tours with our talent. This is similar to how media producers would go about casting actors represented by agents."

Robots have been around movies, TV shows, events, and more for decades, from Metropolis to Star Wars. But developments with both technology and human-robot interaction have created a different environment.

"We believe there is an opportunity to tell positive stories on how robots will play ever increasing roles in our daily lives alongside us," Gibson said. "This new wave of generalized robotics allows them to walk/roll/hop off the set and onto the red carpet with the rest of the cast. This adds a whole new dimension to how viewers and fans can engage with robotic personalities."

The Aigency makes money by taking a percentage of what the talent is paid for their performances.

Gibson said the company had several live appearances lined up at events before the COVID-19 outbreak forced cancellations and postponements.

Gibson and Cheshier are self-funding the company for now. They are still leading Pluto VR, which the entrepreneurs started in 2015 with PopCap Games co-founder John Vechey and former Walt Disney tech exec Jonathan Geibel.

This story first appeared on GeekWire.

Subscribe to our newsletter to catch every headline.

Join us on Thursday, July 16th for the first edition of "Female Founders Stories, to Live and Work in L.A." with chief host and correspondent Kelly O'Grady. Our first discussion will feature WeeCare co-founder and CEO Jessica Chang as well as DropLabs CEO Susan Paley.

The series will feature one-on-one discussions with top women leaders and entrepreneurs here in the L.A. startup community. We'll explore how these women got started and triumphed over challenges, talk about moments of success and discuss what they love most about living and working in LA.

Register here - space is limited!

Here are the latest updates on news affecting Los Angeles' startup and tech communities. Sign up for our newsletter and follow dot.LA on Twitter for more.

Today:

  • Tesla shares soar, Fisker rumored to go public, Karma gets $100m
  • Facebook issues crash TikTok, Pinterest, Spotify
Read more Show less

An Amazon spokesperson said Friday afternoon that an email ordering employees to delete TikTok was sent in error. The company declined to provide further explanation for how the directive was sent.

"This morning's email to some of our employees was sent in error," the spokesperson said. "There is no change to our policies right now with regard to TikTok."

Amazon's had earlier sent an email saying that it was requiring employees to remove the popular video-sharing app TikTok from their mobile devices immediately due to security concerns.

"Due to security risks, the TikTop app is no longer permitted on mobile devices that access Amazon email," the company said Friday in an email to employees.

TikTok has quickly become one of the most popular social media apps in the world but government officials and business leaders are becoming increasingly wary of the Chinese-owned company.

The U.S. military has already barred its members from using TikTok and the federal government is considering a broader ban out of concerns that the Chinese government may be using the app to spy on Americans.

Earlier this month, India announced it will ban TikTok and other popular Chinese apps citing threats to "sovereignty and integrity."

Amazon did not provide details on its concerns in the employee email. We've reached out to the company to comment and will update this story when we hear back.

A TikTok spokesperson said the company is "fully committed to respecting the privacy of users," in a statement to the Times.

"While Amazon did not communicate to us before sending their email, and we still do not understand their concerns, we welcome a dialogue so we can address any issues they may have and enable their team to continue participating in our community."

Last month, a new privacy feature in iOS 14 revealed TikTok was accessing users' clipboard content despite promising to discontinue the practice last year.

This story first appeared on GeekWire.

RELATEDEDITOR'S PICKS

Trending