Motion Capture and Fake Video: Fact vs. Fiction

So it’s the New Year. I’m looking forward to making good things of it. Yes, friends, one of those things is Book 7 of Stealing the Sun. Sigh.

It’s an exciting time, you know? The world is getting both bigger and smaller at astounding rates–there’s this massive press of information today that makes this period so interesting and hard at the same time.

And the pile is getting deeper, too.

We need to get better at processing it. Or, at least I know I do.

In that light, here are some interesting bits that Lisa and I spent some time talking about a day or two ago:

First, here’s a nifty little Wired clip that shows how quickly movement capture and scanning technology is progressing. Make sure you watch the video clip. Amazing, right? With just a few graphic images and a little source work, you can make clips of just about anybody doing just about anything. Think Andy Serkis and Gollum. Or you as Gollum. Or your grandmother break dancing. You sinking that last second free throw. The cool ideas are endless.

Or … going to the dark side: here’s a Washington Post article on people using both celebrities and everyday people to make fake porn, which is a devastating thing in today’s world. Read it. Put yourself in these people’s position.

I’m not posting this as a value judgement, though, because it doesn’t matter what I think of this technology. Pandora’s box is already open. The Genie is out. The horses done left the barn.

I’m posting this because, (1) it’s interesting, and (2) it shows exactly how much better you and I need to become at saying “how real is this?” and then deciding how much the answer matters.

Because that’s part of our problem today, right?

Figuring out which truths matter?

Our entire existence realities on our ability to find shared realities, after all. On how well we trust each other and how we handle disagreement.

There are some nifty ideas embedded in the stories I’ve linked. Things that this technology can bring to us, things it might help us become better at: more forgiving maybe, more transparent, more open to sharing ourselves, less vulnerable to privacy breeches and concerns.

I want to focus on these kinds of things this year. I want to think about them, and understand them as best I can. Because that’s the thing about being alive in this age. We get to think about how we’re going to handle things like truly “fake” stories. We’re going to figure out how to deal with the difference between fact and fiction in new ways–ways that will unlock new, and possibly immense opportunities on the other side. It’s going to be hard, but exciting.

But for those to happen, we need to get better.

And we will.

The question, I suppose, is just what are we going to get better at?

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