Look at this video closely. You can see the seven members of AKB48 advertising some Japanese candy. Among them, centre stage, is the lovely girl that you can see in the gallery and on top, Eguchi Aimi. She looks just like the others, all big eyes, juicy lips, perfect cheeks, cute chin, blinding smile and angelical look. Look at her sing. So cute.
The great pretender
The fact is that yes, she looks exactly like the others. Literally. The big eyes, the juicy lips, the perfect cheeks, the cute chin, the blinding smile and the angelical look belong to the other six member of AKB48. Eguchi Aimi is not a real person, she has been composed in a computer using parts from the humans in AKB48. Her fans, who are legion, just learn about it this week, when this shocking video demonstrating the process, was published in YouTube:
The synthesis and post-production that have gone into Eguchi is simply uncanny. Taking 150 gigabytes of memory, she's the perfect example of the world we are going to head, in which men and machine, "reality" and "reality" will collide in a new way that would make humans blend into the digital world and the digital world come into the flesh and bones.
And while the Eguchi Aimi phenomenon may be just anecdotical, the fact that a synthetic creation has been able to make their fans to have crushes and feelings without them never realising she was a figment of someone's imagination, a digital mutant mix, is not a simple anecdote. That's very real. When people perceive such a being as real, and that being causes an emotive response in them, then that makes that character part of reality.
The fact is that all this is not science fiction anymore. It's science. And just a matter of time before there's a huge jump that puts together synthetic lifeforms out of the screen and into the physical world. "A new world of machines and possibilities!" as Dalí said in his futurist manifesto.
And, as we walk into this new world, I can't help but to ask myself: Would I be able to fall in love with a synthetic being? Would you? And what will happen then, when humans and digitals collide and merge?
It's been the subject of movies and books for most of the 20th century. But literature and film is one thing. Watching it happening right in front of you is quite different. [Singularity Hub]