Robots replacing people

The rise of the machines

From the article:Japan is using a synthetic human -- a person who is completely computer generated -- as an on-screen presence and a member of the diplomatic corps. The advantages of synthetic humans are obvious. They can be far more attractive than normal humans, and they have none of the problems normal humans have with things like blemishes, bad hair days or aging. They will never get arrested on drug charges or for drunk driving. And corporations/governments can program them to say exactly what is desired.

"Virtual attractiveness" is a fascinating article on the kind of people that human beings find attractive. For example, the article points out that this photograph is not of a real person, yet most folks find her attractive:

Images of synthetic, perfect people are showing up more and more in the media. The article's main point is this: "Being surrounded by so much perfected beauty, it is not surprising that so many people are frustrated by their own appearance or that of their partners."

Off-the-shelf software packages like Facial Studio make it easier than ever to create realistic synthetic people.

Expect this trend toward synthetic people to accelerate rapidly and replace most human on-air talent. News anchors, reporters, weatherpeople, announcers, and eventually actors and actresses. We see the leading edge of it now. Extremely popular movies can be created without any human on-screen talent. Think about Toy Story, Shrek, Monsters Inc. and Nemo. The new movie Polar Express contains computer-generated people who look very realistic. In 10 years, synthetic people will be indistinguishable from real ones, and much more attractive.

[Related: On the cover of the January issue of Wired magazine is the blurb "How software killed the Hollywood stuntman". The article will be available online on January 7.]

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