Tupac Shakur hologram: how new technology is invading the real world
A hologram of slain rapper Tupac Shakur stunned fans when it performed at a music festival, but it was just one use of the updated technology, which is also guiding passengers at airports.
When slain rapper Tupac Shakur turned upÂ alongside Dr. Dre and Snoop Dog at the Coachella Music FestivalÂ this weekend, he stunned fans with his rendition of â€śHail Mary,â€ť and â€ś2 of Amerikaz Most Wanted.â€ť
ManyÂ wondered how this rapper, gunned down in LasÂ Vegas in 1996, could be brought to such convincing life in what is not merely a projection of a previous performance, but a new creation.
The act, which will be reprised this upcoming weekend, is the fruit of 19th centuryÂ mirrorÂ tricks â€“ much like the type used in sĂ©ances â€“ combined with state-of the art, 21st century motion capture and hologram projection technology. It was powered byÂ Hollywood special effectsÂ giant, Digital Domain, whichÂ aged Brad Pitt forÂ â€śThe Curious Case of Benjamin Button.â€ť
This moment and the resulting publicity frenzy is the shot across the bowÂ for this technology moving forward, says Renaud Skalli, head of artist and label relations for My Love Affair,Â an international agency dedicated to pairing artists and brands. â€śThis isÂ just the beginning of many more things like this to come,â€ť he says, adding, â€śThis justÂ begins to give an ideaÂ of what is doable.â€ť
From London to Las Vegas,Â the inanimate and the no-longer-livingÂ are joining the completely digital creations in real-world â€śappearances.â€ť Grover, the furry character fromÂ Sesame Street, popped out on the dais at this yearâ€™sÂ ConsumerÂ Electronics ShowÂ to help the QualcomÂ team deliverÂ a keynote address.
Across the pond,Â the East LondonÂ firmÂ responsible for resurrectingÂ Frank Sinatra to sing for Simon Cowellâ€™s 50th birthday partyÂ also brought a legendary, deceasedÂ ad-man, Paul Ardin, to life in Cannes, where his companyÂ SaatchiÂ & Saatchi held its annual New Directorsâ€™ Showcase.Â He walked onstage, squinted atÂ the lights, then said, â€śWell, Iâ€™m glad to see Saatchiâ€™s New Directorsâ€™ Showcase is still alive and well. Unlike me.â€ť
After a short speech, he evaporated in a poof of smoke, leaving his microphone to drop to the ground, according to Londonâ€™s Daily Telegraph.
Airports in both London andÂ Paris have begun experimentingÂ with digital boarding agents that materialize out ofÂ thin air to guide passengers to their gates, both amusing and confusing childrenÂ and adults alike.
This intrusion into the real world is beginning to happen all over,Â says Jason Yim, CEO of the marketing firm, Trigger,Â adding that â€śyou are going to begin seeing things like characters jumping off cereal boxes and crawling around the breakfast table and creatures coming down from movie posters.â€ť Right now, he says, â€śevery poster, every bus shelter orÂ kiosk could initiate this kind of digital experience.â€ť
For now, says Mr. Yim, the human eye can still discern what is fake and what isÂ real. But within five years, he suggests, â€śthat line will begin to blur.â€ť
Beyond that, he points out, with so many modes of communication available now, the possibilities for being fooled by a digital creation are expanding exponentially. â€śHow do you know who or what is behind an instant message, an email or an SMS?â€ť he asks.
The reality of a character, he says, is determined by so many levels of communication, adding, â€śthat line is going to blur more and more.â€ť
LookÂ no further than the world of online dating for evidence that this blurring is well underway, says online relationship adviser, April Masini. She says emotionally vulnerable Internet users alreadyÂ take chances with digital connections.
â€śMultiple, daily texts, e-mails, phone calls, and Skype sessions make people feel like the relationship is real,â€ť she says via e-mail, adding that while they may be real, â€śitâ€™s just not real serious. Hologram infusion in these relationships are going to change the nature of relationships.â€ť
Ms. Masini says it may sound crazy. â€śWho would allow themselves to invest in a relationship with a hologram,â€ť she says, but adds, based onÂ her experience as a relationship advice expert, â€śthere will be plenty of men and women for whom a hologram is better than a broken heart.â€ť