Fika Juliana Putri, a 19-year-old shopkeeper in East Jakarta, plans to vote in Indonesia's presidential election next week for a once-feared former special forces commander. She likes him, she says, because he's cuddly.
A doe-eyed cartoon version of former Gen. Prabowo Subianto — produced using generative artificial intelligence — is emblazoned on billboards across Indonesia. It's reproduced on sweatshirts and stickers, and featured prominently on #Prabowo-tagged posts that have some 19 billion views on TikTok.
Prabowo is Indonesia's defense minister. But on social media, his chubby-cheeked AI avatar makes Korean-style finger hearts and cradles his beloved cat, Bobby, to the delight of Gen Z voters. About half of Indonesia's 205 million voters are under 40.