Monday, April 16, 2012

Hatsune Miku, AI, and Personality Rights

Image: Hatsune Miku in Concert Courtesy of Everyday Me

Recently I've been pondering our ability to recreate the human experience--both in in the virtual and real world.  I was surprised to learn about Hatsune Miku.  Hatsune is a completely computer animated "singing synthesizer application" (Wikipedia, 2012).  2,000 people have been willing to fill a venue to be entertained by a proxy for an artist.  Of course, the music and animation were all created by artists & designers, but we are already at a point when computers are "quickly doing things that the programmers hadn’t planned for," including music, visual art, and language.

Video: Hasune Miku Concert Courtesy of knucklesmega

A few days ago, I came across Next Media Animation (NMA).  NMA is a computer animation studio and a unit of Next Media Limited, "the No. 1 source for print and online news in Taiwan and Hong Kong."  NMA reenacts news events where images or videos can not easily be obtained.  The video below is of Charlie Sheen's infamous escapades.  The animation does not exactly replicate the individuals, but what if it did?  What if in the future, these kind of reenactments are so lifelike that we cannot discern between reality and artifice.  This calls into question the ownership of our likeness (aka personality rights).  Can our likeness be owned?  Can it be owned after our death by an estate?  In the case of Steve Jobs, can a company own your image?

Video:  "Charlie Sheen raises hell at Plaza Hotel" by & Courtesy of NMA World Edition

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