Sunday, October 15, 2006

Capture the Soul Through Technology and Preach It!

[In order to become "all things to all people," why not appropriate the new video computer simulation technology mentioned in the article below and bring it into the big screens of the church?

Capture the most popular preachers of the day on video, then superimpose the face of the local pastor on the body of Super Preacher. (No cross-gender morphing allowed, however.) Then program a sermon! You can capture the soul of a sermon and make it your own! Of course, one could add a few individual elements (customizing stories to fit the particular congregation; unless it is a multi-site church), but the product would be successful, marketable, and completely contemporary. How cool is that?

The local pastor need not bother to attend the meeting or expend precious energy on actually preaching in the flesh. You cannot turn back the clock. Technology is the future and we need to hit a homerun every Sunday. Let the computer and the superstars make it happen. It's our postmodern, posthuman future.]

New York Times, October 15, 2006

Cyberface: New Technology That Captures the Soul


THERE’S nothing particularly remarkable about the near-empty offices of Image Metrics in downtown Santa Monica, loft-style cubicles with a dartboard at the end of the hallway. A few polite British executives tiptoe about, quietly demonstrating the company’s new technology.

What’s up on-screen in the conference room, however, immediately focuses the mind. In one corner of the monitor, an actress is projecting a series of emotions — ecstasy, confusion, relief, boredom, sadness — while in the center of the screen, a computer-drawn woman is mirroring those same emotions.

It’s not just that the virtual woman looks happy when the actress looks happy or relieved when the actress looks relieved. It’s that the virtual woman actually seems to have adopted the actress’s personality, resembling her in ways that go beyond pursed lips or knitted brow. The avatar seems to possess something more subtle, more ineffable, something that seems to go beneath the skin. And it’s more than a little bit creepy.

“I like to call it soul transference,” said Andy Wood, the chairman of Image Metrics, who is not shy about proclaiming his company’s potential. “The model has the actress’s soul. It shows through.”

You look and you wonder: Is it the eyes? Is it the wrinkles around the eyes? Or is it the tiny movements around the mouth? Something. Whatever it is, it could usher in radical change in the making of entertainment. A tool to reinvigorate the movies. Or the path to a Franken-movie monster.

The Image Metrics software lets a computer map an actor’s performance onto any character virtual or human, living or dead....


Craig Fletcher said...

arrrgggghhhhh! "Posthuman" is the perfect descriptor, you nailed it.

Douglas Groothuis, Ph.D. said...

I am an image; therefore, I am (not).