June 27, 2011
Well, I called it.
We now have fully synthetic pop stars, and not just virtual copies of anime or video game characters. I’m talking full-blown people.
Japan actually had a completely virtual pop star for about a month until her digital identity was revealed this week.
Eguchi Aimi was the latest member of Japan’s AKB48, an all-girl group that consists of several different teams of performers. She was featured in a commercial, a magazine spread, and was listed on the group’s website. For all intents and purpose, she seemed to be a real person.
Then we find out that she’s actually a composite, which really begs the question…
Japan, this group had sixty-plus members, all attractive young women who were willing to work and perform. Did you really need a completely virtual singer?
I’ll give the management credit. The fact that people were even debating whether Aimi was real or not speaks volumes to the level of detail put into her design. Furthermore, the stills, while looking Photoshopped, are nevertheless quite impressive. She sings, she takes photos, and she’ll never ask for a raise. She’s the perfect client for her creators.
Of course, this doesn’t answer the question of why anyone would even make her. It’s not like they have a shortage of starlets. In fact, Aimi is a composite of other members of the group. This could easily be a test of the new technology, a stunt to show everyone just how far the programming and hardware can go.
Me? I’m terrified. Management managed to pass off this construct as a real person for a respectable amount of time, and given a year or two, the technology might easily be good enough to do away with the tiny imperfections that tipped off some fans. Think about it. Any recording company with sufficient money will be able to make pop stars on demand.
Combine that with this little study that shows there is a scientific basis for what we consider to be “catchy,” that we might be able to scientifically determine if a song will be a hit in the next few years, and we have everything we need for companies to start churning out Justin Beibers, Lady Gagas, and Rebecca Blacks. Given how Facebook and Google can target ads based on your likes, this will make it so much easier to target specific demographics.
Do you think the Grammys will give the award to the programmer or the virtual person?
And if you don’t think a company will invest some money in a pop star that doesn’t eat, drink, sleep, and will do anything and everything without complaining or going on a cocaine binge…
Hi. Welcome to America. Land of the free. Home of the Whopper.
Let’s get the links out there.
- Old Kirk versus New Kirk. Place your bets.
- It looks like Nine Inch Nails’ Year Zero is going to be a miniseries for HBO. I have fond memories of that album. I used to listen to it as I walked around the Capitol on my lunch break. The dissonance was amazing for clearing my head.
- A woman chased some shoplifters out of Wal-Mart when security didn’t do its job. She was almost killed. Dumb move? Yes. Brave? Certainly. Would Wal-Mart risk its life to save her the fifty bucks or so the shoplifters took. Not in your life.
- When the state of New York legalized gay marriage, the Empire State Building decided to come out, too.
- Evanescence is coming out with a new album. Without sounding too hipster, I remember hearing them before they got big. Their REALLY early stuff (the albums you can only find on eBay now) is really haunting and a lot more personal, but I’m looking forward to this new one.
- We’ve got the first official pictures from the set of The Hobbit. Squee!
- This is THE most British headline EVER.
- Want to go on a diet but love Mexican food? Here are some tips.
- And finally, seeing as how I ripped the Miss Universe contestants for not understanding basic scientific vocabulary, someone was kind enough to further show how dumb their arguments were by replacing one little word in some of the responses. Enjoy, and I’ll see you on Wednesday.