Our digital selves
Fri 27 Apr 2018, 10:06 AM
by Ben Langhinrichs
News came out today that the Swedish pop group ABBA is putting out some new music for the first time in 35 years. While I have little interest in new ABBA music, I thought the announcement presaged an interesting technological development we could see more and more in pop culture. Below is part of the announcement:
Note the three words. Our digital selves. If I read that correctly, instead of seeing the four aging pop stars themselves, we will see "digital versions". ABBA has been represented a lot of ways, including in comic book form, but I am betting that means "our younger, beautiful selves". Now, it isn't new technology to have people digitally added to movies or commercials, for example, but the technology to have extremely well done lip-synched video manipulations of well known figures has been talked a lot about this year. So, it hardly seems a stretch to think that ABBA will show themselves from years earlier (their digital selves) singing their new music.
Having watch the increasingly geriatric Rolling Stones, for example, I can sympathize with the concept, but I wonder if what we will see more and more will be synthetic digital selves in pop culture. And if we do, at what point will the artists themselves lose control of their digital selves so that labels or movie studios can have Jodie Foster's younger digital self star opposite Robert Redford's digital self, thus eliminating the need to deal with pesky actors entirely. And in a world that seems all too happy to embrace monoculture, how will new stars break in when the studios can make Avenger movies with the same set of Avengers fifty years from now?
Though possibly I worry too much. It may only be our digital selves watching by then.
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