Tupac's "Live" Performance Will Bring Back More Dead Artists
Uncle Luke, the man whose booty-shaking madness once made the U.S. Supreme Court stand up for free speech, gets as nasty as he wants to be for Miami New Times. This week, Luke marvels at the technology that brought Tupac back to life.
The lifelike image of Tupac Shakur performing onstage at Coachella was a game-changing moment in the music industry. Dr. Dre and the Port St. Lucie-based company that helped him create it deserve props. Judging from the viral reaction on YouTube, it's obvious music fans want more.
So it's no surprise that Digital Domain Media's stock has skyrocketed by 50 percent since the show. The Wall Street Journal even reported there might be a national tour with "hologram" Tupac.
The families of many dead artists might soon begin using that technology to generate new revenue. We could be seeing Michael Jackson, Jimi Hendrix, and Kurt Cobain in concert. Meanwhile, living artists will work harder to make their performances even more spectacular. They'll take their tours more seriously.
It could spill over into sports too. One day there might be a matchup between Muhammad Ali and Mike Tyson using this technology. We may no longer have to imagine an NBA Finals featuring the Los Angeles Lakers of the '80s versus the Chicago Bulls of the '90s. We'll be able to see it.
We could even use the technology to teach children history. The late movie producer George Jackson, who made New Jack City, once envisioned using holograms to bring back to life great African-Americans such as Frederick Douglass and Harriet Tubman. Heck, the technology has been around for a long time. Walt Disney World's and Disney's Hollywood Studios' rides the Haunted Mansion and Tower of Terror use the same technique -- projecting an image onto a mirrored screen -- that was used to bring Tupac to life.
But too much technology can backfire. The Tupac image, which I saw last week on video, reminded me of the 2002 movie S1m0ne, in which a director, played by Al Pacino, uses a computer program to create a virtual actress to star in his film. The creation spirals out of control and Pacino's character ends up getting arrested for murdering his holographic thespian. It's a cautionary tale about what happens when we let technology take control of our lives.
That's the downside. You don't want to mess too much with reality.
Follow Luke on Twitter @unclelukereal1.