BKK to the Future

Most people in Thailand are alarmingly clueless about the trends that are shaping their future. This blog hopes to get them clued in.

คนไทยส่วนใหญ่ไม่รู้ เกี่ยวกับแนวโน้ม ที่กำลังส่งผลต่ออนาคตของพวกเขา บล็อกนี้หวังที่จะช่วยให้เขารู้เรื่องขึ้นบ้าง

Friday, October 20, 2006

I've Got You Under My (Digital) Skin

Technology is making an alternate reality not only possible, but inevitable. One won't even need cartoon avatars, but can assume fully fleshed out virtual identities, thanks to facial mapping technologies like that being developed by UK-based Image Metrics.

This technology has been developed for movies and videogames. A recent article in the New York Times and an accompanying video clip suggests its potential is far greater.

With some modification, I think anyone using this technology will be able to wear what is in effect a digital mask while video chatting online. The person on the other side will see, not you, but Angelina Jolie or any celebrity whose identity you choose to assume. My guess is that celebrities will license their likenesses, so that any user can impersonate their favorite celeb in video chats, with the proper disclaimers, of course.

And it won't even have to be a face mask. It can be a whole body mask, so you the user can dance and perform other acts for the enjoyment of a remote viewer even if you look like Jabba the Hutt. I suspect that once again porn will drive the technology. If I'm correct, it won't be only celebs who will be able to license their looks to make digital body masks, but any good-looking, fit person. The terms of each license will, of course, make clear whether or not nudity and such is allowed.

And just imagine the implications for politics! The potential for fooling voters would be limited only by politicians' imaginations. Hmm, so I suppose we should be thankful for that.

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