My first reaction to the Tupac hologram was, “Well, that’s creepy.”
Maybe it’s because I have this Frankenstein-esque fear of someday waking up in a robot body or with my brain in a jar, or because I’m concerned about what it will ultimately mean to be human.
Of course, this Tupac thing, it’s just an animation. It wasn’t even a hologram — it was CGI projected onto a screen. A recording, not a resurrection.
But it makes me wonder.
The Uncanny Valley was strong with this performance, at least for me. You’ve got something that looks like Tupac, sounds like Tupac, interacts with his friends like Tupac, but…isn’t. His movements (animations) are smooth, but not quite natural.
And that spirit burst at the end was just icing on the creepy cake, you know?
Check out the performance over at Youtube and see for yourself (Warning: Uh, language). Unfortunately, videos of the performance have been dropping like flies due to copyright issues, so there’s no point linking to it. However, I’m sure you can find your way.
It brings up images of a strange future when we’ll have cloning technology, memory uploading/downloading, immortality without immortality. To have something live on without it being the original.
Someday, we might not need “holograms.” We’ll just make a new Tupac or Elvis or Michael Jackson. We’ll program a new Einstein or Hawking. We’ll resurrect long-dead artists, or “prolong” the lives of those around us. But it won’t be them.
Materialistically, there’ll be no difference. The perfect illusion between what was and what is.
And we’ll have to ask: What are we? Moving images? Data to be stored? Easily replicated machines? Is there truly a difference?
Don’t get me wrong. “Hologram” Tupac was interesting, and ultimately nothing more extraordinary than a videotaped performance. It’s not even the first time something like this has been done.
It just raises some very interesting questions.