We Rep [Ideas]

Immortal Industries

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Last year, a Tiger Woods Nike commercials drew significant attention to the ethics, morality, and creepiness surrounding the use of his late father’s voice, and the authenticity of Tiger’s introspective and apologetic performance.  Gossip aside- the “re-incarnation” and “re-performance” of Tiger’s dad signals yet again the slow emergence of what we may call the “immortal industries”. This new market/context is defined by the capture, preservation, extension, transmediation, re-interpretation, re-performance and ultimate re-experience of personas past. Eventually, despite your best efforts – you will be automated.

An earlier and perhaps more compelling example of this can be seen here in the late Glen Gould‘s “reperformance” enabled by Zenph Studios and a very well tuned Yamaha self playing piano. Family, friends and contemporaries commented that the experience was so real that it was like his ghost was in the room. This is innovation. Read the original NY Times article by Edward Rothstein here – a video by Michael Lawrence on Zenph Studios and the Bach Project is posted below.

As time passes the ability to record, recover, remix and re-insert individuals back into real-time-play with greater and greater fidelity proposes fascinating choices and opportunities across all contexts and categories. We have always been aware of our temporary physical presence and mortality-  as such we’ve commissioned and created self-preserving – self-perpetuating artifacts and monuments to our existence from small simple personal objects like jewelry, drawing and paintings, to imposing stone pyramids -now remixed commercials and self-playing AI enabled pianos. What’s next? Technology is most definitely enabling for increasingly higher resolution versions of ourselves to post-exist.

This immortal future is not about the “singularity” and overpriced vitamin regimes- although it does touch on humanity+ and transhumanism. What is certain is that it will continue to be profound and reside in the purely magical and possibly technology/drug enhanced illusionary experience of someone else – possibly even a past or future version of ourselves. Who will enable this? What organizations are poised to emerge as the dominant players within this space?

With the increasing popularity of “lifelogging” and the vast amounts of “open source info”, recorded behaviors, opinions, likes, comments and other social media that are being captured and stored online- it’s only a matter of time before you will be pieced back together by a well meaning distant relative, security firm or defense contractor, inept high school kid with a history project to complete, a bad DJ, an ad agency, or some common version of ancestry.com. How does this make you feel?

Until now, the problems, opportunities and existential dilemmas associated with this personification have been limited to the consideration of the powerful, famous, and wealthy few- with the less fortunate having to accept more humble forms of memory, self-preservation and extension. As this space evolves will the rights to your common and relatively unknown persona may be sold/retained/acquired by a much lesser version of the Richman agency and licensed out to third parties for entertainment… the good, bad and ugly.

More to come…

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Written by mlincez

April 19, 2011 at 2:47 am

One Response

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  1. Great post Mathew. We will be automated, indeed. Today we leave behind our best ideas, behaviors and works for our kids and society, and soon, that may include our lifelogs, our agents, and even our memories and identities, for later possible reanimation. Incredibly interesting futures ahead…

    http://eversmarterworld.wordpress.com/2014/03/13/brain-preservation-why-bother-whats-the-value-of-this-idea/

    John M. Smart

    March 27, 2014 at 9:20 pm


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