Eternal life is a holo experience
GRIPPING scenes in this week’s episode of The Walking Dead, aka the Tory Party conference. A pitiful creature called Theresa – a shambling artifice of her former self – was seemingly unable to understand she was a goner. And in an admirable subversion of horror cliche, the dumb blonde character has survived far longer than anyone expected.
However, it may not only be Theresa’s fate to be forever condemned to a living death – it could be a future awaiting us all. Recent breakthroughs in holographic technology have already seen the dead resurrected on stage – rapper Tupac being one example, right – but soon it will be possible to transform your own home into a personally curated Heaven.
This may take the form of deceased relatives wandering around your living room or, if you’re so inclined, waking up to a perfectly-bouffanted Margaret Thatcher lying naked beside you. A deeply unpalatable scenario, you’ll agree. However, there is context beyond cheap Tory-baiting – the inevitability that curious deviants will be soon able to bear witness and live out such unholy scenes. Looking at some of the True Blue oddities of nature lurking around Manchester last week, this is one simulation that will not lack popularity.
Such depravity is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the potential of life-like holograms. The only limits will be the depths of your own degeneracy. A dystopian world of isolationist hedonism awaits us all. The dead could even be enhanced in this ghost-like form, becoming new and improved versions of those we loved so dearly. What better Mother’s Day gift than your resurrected dad sitting on his favourite chair again – only without his disinterested grunts or flicked snotballs. You could give him George Clooney’s twinkly eyes too. Mum would like that. Or even Clooney’s entire head, loaded with dad’s memory. It’s what he would have wanted.
So how far away is this seismic tech? Digitising the contents of brains may still be few decades off, but life-like holograms themselves are not far away at all. In many ways, they’re already here – simply requiring refinement for commercial use.
Apple – with its ridiculous war chest of $800 billion – has splashed out on patents for a device which projects realistic holograms that can be manipulated by human hands, responding to swipes and squeezes. In Korea, a research team at the Advanced Institute of Science and Technology has developed holograms of such high resolution that they make the famous Tupac projection look like the 1970s video game Pong. Swedish pop legends Abba are certainly taking their cue from the revived rapper, with all four members giving their permission for a forthcoming holographic world tour. It’s likely Prince will play the Hydro with Bowie and Hendrix soon.
There are, of course, more sober applications of the tech currently being applied. In this year’s French elections, presidential candidate JeanLuc Mélenchon appeared as a hologram to speak simultaneously at seven rallies.
So, how do they work? Toronto-based tech company Rose and Thistle call the process Holographic Paramotion. It uses a box filled with the latest optical tech to beam holograms using countless individual lasers to animate each sinew of movement. These are not the greentinged, static, flickering phantoms of dubious quality you might be familiar with. The latest holograms are increasingly indistinguishable from reality and unsettling in their motion and solidity.
The danger is we become non-existent ourselves – retreating from reality to live out our physical lives as desensitised, passive prisoners haunting our own fantasy worlds. Our physical deaths may be just a blip in an our everlasting presence on Earth. Ghosts and zombies may prove to be real after all – manifested in ways far more disturbing than anyone could have envisioned. And I don’t just mean the potential resurrection of The Iron Lady as a personal sex-o-gram.