So, you are dead.
Its unfortunate and untimely but it can provide a few get out of jail free cards. Before you go slamming me as a twisted new age goth, hear me out.
For one thing, any debts, arguments or wrong doings don’t really affect you anymore.
Those social commitments you don’t want to go to? gone.
Those terrible chores? Poof
Your draining acting job? Ah well…things have changed.
In the last part of our series, we discussed the ever-evolving realism of CGI and how we are starting to leave the “uncanny valley.” Yes, we are close to being able to fully simulate real-looking human beings in to movies and pictures.
At the moment, total recreation hasn’t been achieved but we are within inches (Conversion 1 inch = 2.54cm) of breaking that final barrier. Don’t believe me? Have a look at this:
Whilst CGI innovation has slowly transformed the industry, we seem to have finally poked the magical beast known as ethics. Particularly, whether it is okay to bring someone back from the dead in order to use their image for your own purpose. Mainstream media has already dubbed the process “CGI Resurrection” and it is definitely a fitting name.
The process has already caused quite a stir and it looks like there is no end in sight. The argument is quite complex, however two issues tend to pop up more often than not.
Should the dead stay dead?
In 1993, digital resurrection was posed by Joseph J. Beard to be one of the 21st century’s biggest law hurdles. In this, he argued that the actual process of resurrection is what raises the copyright issue. He furthers that to recreate an actor requires so much reference to past works that would have intellectual property protection.
And apparently, he wasn’t wrong.
So far there hasn’t been any updated laws written specifically from the topic and each case is applied to existing copyright laws differently. Funny how a guy predicted the indecisiveness years before the technology was even realistically there yet.
Actors are supposedly “rushing” to protect their image from being resurrected because they want to own the rights to their own appearance.
As much as everyone wants to play god, the unfortunate matter of fact is that we don’t know if we should really have that power. In her 2017 article to the Center for Digital Ethics & Policy, Kate Baucherel maintains that resurrection is justified as long as its appropriate to the story.
In my opinion, life is precious because it is finite and resurrection devalues the time we get to have with our beloved people. I mean, it’s a known fact that death and resurrection ruins television plots, right?
What about new actors and actresses?
The current saving grace behind the whole resurrection process is that, for now, it is crazy expensive. Therefore, studios and publishers only want to fork out the extra dough for big names that are guaranteed to rustle up excitement. But as the process becomes more refined and cheaper, what is going to happen to our new up and coming starlets? Stunt doubles are a timeless staple of cinematic production, but this new technology opens up a whole new career path into the industry.
I mean, as long as their credited, it’s alright, right?
How would you feel if your career defining performance was playing a dude who is playing another dude? You’ll probably get praise, but you’ll also probably never get recognised in the street.
Whilst this seems like a down-the-road sort of problem, modern technology is virtually built on this premise of robots replacing humans.
But how could you get a computer to create stellar, dynamic performances? Well, look at a modern video game. Every move, sound and visual is scripted to react and fuse together and it is all happening in real time. Video games have already transformed modern cinema it looks like the future features a closer relationship between the two.
Just look at the cinematic quality of the last battlefield game:
Could animators become the new superstars of cinema? Who knows.
So, where we at?
With every day, we inch (remember your conversions) closer to total recreation and we still haven’t made up our mind. Digital resurrection seems to be a dilemma will carry on in to the future and as such, we will those guys figure it out. In the next part of our series, we look at why services like twitch are so popular. Until then, watch the darn movie.