If you think our self-obsessed society couldn’t get any more obsessed with our self image, then hold on tight. We’re about turn this gig up to eleven. While we rarely admit it, everyone’s favourite topic is themselves. Now, if you could imagine for a moment what celebrity culture mashed up with self-obsession might look like, then you’ve taken a sneak peak at what’s next – Everyday Movie Stars.
No, I’m not talking about low-quality, bottom-feeding, Reality TV melodrama. I’m talking about Big Budget Films From Hollywood starring you. The GIF above is from a face-swapping app coming out of China call ZAO. This app utilises deep fake technology to allow anyone to impose their face onto any video – including those with celebrities. Mind you, this is a ‘free’ (for the price of your personal data) app on a smart phone – and it’s quite impressive. Now, imagine what could be done a couple of years from now with improved AI, deep fake algorithmic improvement and even better camera technology. It isn’t hard to see where this is going. You, me and everyone else will be able to slot ourselves into any movie we please. We’ll sit down on a Friday night with our popcorn to watch ourselves in an Oscar-winning performance on Netflix with no noticeable difference. That’s next level narcissism, but I promise you it will happen within the decade.
In the first instance, we’ll probably have to go to the cinema and watch ourselves through augmented glasses and pay a premium for the privilege. With enough imagination, disruptive technology like this always represents new revenue opportunities. Technology has a way of democratising everything – and it’s about to democratise starring in high-budget Hollywood movies. But every shift in tech has losers too. It makes me wonder whether the stars of Hollywood will have to step aside as Joe and Jane Average are patched in via AI. Don’t worry Leo, I think it’s pretty safe to say most people would rather star with you, than replace you. Besides, who we are ‘in the movie’ with is just as important as how good it is.
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