Who Owns the Rights to Your Face?

Haasim Mahanaim

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Attack of the Uncanny Valley

The uncanny valley looms large over all the advances in CGI, but what happens when technology finally crosses that barrier? There are experts and evidence both suggesting that the floodgates of confusion caused by realistic CGI have already started to open, and the results are stranger than people may have even imagined.

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Feb 13, 2008
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Grief, how many films can be brought in here? Hundreds that show the blurring between fantasy and reality, and possibly explaining why people are always so scared of computer games that 'cross the boundary' (Like GTA's Hot Coffee etc.)

I think this said it all though
A spokesperson for the magazine replied, "I don't see what the big issue is here."
You really don't. Mr Spokesman won't see the big issue until he's been fooled by it. The big issue is that in any other form this would be considered libellous.

It's, again, a media spin of being afraid of the uncanny valley while those that are "respected" delve into it time and time again.
 

Dooly95

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Jun 13, 2009
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I personally don't see a big problem. If I see a person in a photograph and judge him on that, doesn't that say more about me than him?

I for one, welcome the new virtual reality, where the lines between fantasy and reality is blurred. We might have less real crimes if that came to be.
 

Neesa

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Oh media. How we take the tools that were meant to do good and use them for evil/laughs. I think the cover with Andy Roddick's picture is pretty hilarious. First common thought might've been "Hell, maybe he started working out more. He's ripped!" But a trained eye (like mine) or anyone with at least 10 brain cells could notice how the head and the body don't match up. But in the light of celebrities getting enhanced, that's nothing new. We're a visual species. Photos get enhanced to attract a certain crowd. Andy Roddick's could've attracted men that want to work out and build bigger arm muscles, some curious as to how he did it, women for eye candy.

So if you don't want your face/body enhanced, don't be on a cover then, silly. Or make sure that the person that's doing the Photoshop work knows what the hell they're doing.
 

KDR_11k

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Feb 10, 2009
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I think many "uncanny valley" effects come from bad animation, if the model is realistic enough but the animation isn't the result looks seriously fake and weird. We're more willing to accept unrealistic animation if the rest of the character doesn't look realistic either.
 

InProgress

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Feb 15, 2008
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The problem is in the human mind: We're so used to seeing and interacting with other humans, that each little flaw in an animation or in the model itself really stands out. One of the most important things that show that a character is fake are the eyes. Dead, soulless, plastic eyes can (and usually do) make the character fall into the "uncanny valley".

Digital 3D has a fundamental flaw too: it looks and feels fake. No mater how hard a studio works to overcome it, in the end it will still look fake, or at least shows some traces of it not being real.
 
Feb 13, 2008
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Dooly95 said:
I for one, welcome the new virtual reality, where the lines between fantasy and reality is blurred. We might have less real crimes if that came to be.
And a lot more fantasy crimes commited in reality.

Red or blue pill, Mr. Anderson?
 

ghalkhsdkssakgh

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Personally, I don't think technology will ever be able to simulate life to the minutest detail, to the level where it can fool anyone who sees it. Especially not in games. AI and bots are never able to completely emulate another player, which is one of the reasons many companies are now focusing on multiplayer-only games, like Team Fortress 2.
The thing that makes human opponents or allies so different is their ability to think and plan. A computer can only have a finite series of responses to a given situation, whereas humans will always be able to find paths or tactics that had never been planned for. What happens if we create a wall of fire using molotov cocktails? What happens if we have a medic standing on top of a heavy while healing him? The ability to ask 'What if...' and then act on this inspiration is what gives humans the edge: Their imagination. And while computers and avatars may become more and more lifelike, they'll never be able to emulate human thought.
At least, I sincerely hope not.
 

Misnomer

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Dec 12, 2008
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Saying never here is a luxury of human mortality. Likely it won't happen in our lifetimes, but there are some obvious concerns. The things is that these advances will happen gradually and people will adjust their lives into it.

I often wonder what Ben Franklin, Jules Verne, or other forward thinkers would think of our lives if we brought them here. Certainly we are missing something of what made them "fundamentally" human, but here we are arguing to preserve our "fundamental humanness" from yet another technological creation.

Yet, we come to these forums everyday to discuss issues that a drastically smaller percentage of the human population could have during the enlightenment. Not sure if that makes us better, but it shows that the realm of technology is not simply a moral graveyard.

It seems that we are constantly concerned with obliterating ourselves. Whether it is nuclear apocalypse during the cold war or global warming now, there is always plenty of self-preserving paranoia to go around for the human race. Most of the time technology is far less sinister. Even in the instances where technology presents yet another opportunity for humans to eliminate their cherished ways of life, humans are simply creating means to demonstrate new ways in which we are not as special as we previously thought.

The great thing about the uncanny valley is that it shows us even more ways we didn't even realize we were human. You really don't miss it until it is gone. While we will keep defeating these little things with better imitation, reaching the other side of the valley will mean completely understanding humans. Perhaps it this is a thankfully unreachable goal, complete understanding of a dynamic organism and all its external manifestations is no simple task. But, at least it is a loftier and more moral objective than making replica humans to act out our basic instincts. As the Japanese men pointed out, you really don't need verisimilitude for that...
 

alzheimers

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It's all fun and games until you look in the mirror and realize that you're nothing but a CGI animated Artificial Intelligence.
 

Lopunny

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Oddly enough, I was reading about this recently, if you imagine for instance....a barbie doll, it comfortably outside the uncanny valley. It is clearly no-human looking, so we pick up on its human qualities, but when it comes to CGI, we see it as human, and so focus on is non human qualities more, making us uneasy. Some people think it has to do with mechanisms for detecting healthy mates. A CGI figure looks different, odd, so we reject it. Another good example of this is

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EjAoBKagWQA

Doesnt the robot make you feel slightly uneasy, but you dont really know why?

{edit} sorry, I dont really know how to post Youtube windows
 

Dhatz

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Aug 18, 2009
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I've already seen some breakdance videoclip to some DNB compilation with CGI modified faces to be obama, mccain nad pallin. but it was lo-end funny clip, so it was pretty obvious,but the diferrence between realistic is only about money and time. But it you look into any random car magsine, you can't say which pictures are renders and which are photos already, so where did he get the thought that it will take 10-15yrs?
 

ReverseEngineered

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Apr 30, 2008
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While this article starts off introducing the uncanny valley theory, it ends up deep into something much more important: ethics of image manipulation and CGI.

Fantasy is fine as long as we understand that it's fake. We can watch shoot 'em ups on TV, we can laugh at cartoons being squished and exploded, and we can appreciate the comically-manipulated images on magazine covers. But these fakes are all acceptable because we know they are fake -- they are intentionally so. Each exaggeration is a fact being highlighted, a point trying to be made. They become a sort of subtext and commentary.

But it starts becoming concerning when those fantasies are passed off as truths. Manipulating a photo of rockets being launched in Iran to make it look more omonous or impressive is deplorable when that photo is being passed off as reality. Making a famous bodybuilder's muscles bigger than they really are both undermines the accomplishments of that bodybuilder and sets unrealistic expectations for those wishing to follow in his footsteps.

As humans, it's difficult to tell truth from fiction (just ask Decartes how much he trusts his senses). We are forced to rely on our senses to establish what's real and what is not -- an extremely important distinction. Photos, videos, and eye witness observations are all judged as reliable evidence in court. Especially online, "pics or it didn't happen," is a common indication of our reliance on images to determine authenticity.

Whether it's telling a lie or secretly doctoring a photo, it's fraud and manipulation. If we reach a point at which it's difficult or impossible to tell whether an image or video has been falsified, our world will change drastically. People will be accussed and convicted of crimes they didn't commit, people will follow authoratative orders from those without authority, and we will be forced to doubt everything we see and hear. It will become very difficult to trust anything, for fear that you will believe in a lie.

There's a major difference between a fantasy so real that it's believable and a fantasy passed off as reality. Being tricked is fine as long as we want to be tricked, but we're seeing technology used more and more to change what we think is real. It's a very dangerous, deplorable act.
 

pneuma08

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Sep 10, 2008
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From the article:

"If that Super Bowl ad had offered nothing more than the sight of Christopher Reeve walking; or if that Al Franken photo had been a perfect forgery, all we'd have to discern fantasy from reality is our feelings. And when we're at the sole mercy of our feelings, we're liable to believe in anything."

Perhaps we are liable to believe in anything, but I'd predict that people on the whole would just get more skeptical of images and movies. The pull to believe what you want to believe would be pretty strong, though...
 

Sanaj

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Haasim Mahanaim said:
"There is only a finite amount of time and resources that people can invest into their surroundings," says Brey. "As people invest more of their lives in virtual worlds, they have [fewer] investments to make into the real world. Virtual worlds are often more attractive, more exciting and more controllable than the real world. This may cause people to lose themselves in them, to such an extent that they start neglecting their 'real' life. They may even emotionally invest in affectionate relationships with CGI characters at the expense of such relationships with real people."
People that find it more involving to invest more time in virtual worlds than the real world are seeking an escape.
People that are invested more in CGI characters than real ones are most likely very socially awkward and anxious when confronted by groups.

Misnomer said:
*snip*
The great thing about the uncanny valley is that it shows us even more ways we didn't even realize we were human. You really don't miss it until it is gone. While we will keep defeating these little things with better imitation, reaching the other side of the valley will mean completely understanding humans.
It won't mean we completely understand humans just because we can create realistic still and moving images that are facsimiles of humans.

Why do people focus so much time and effort to make realistic looking images and animations?
Isn't one of the strengths of the video game medium that it can be completely unrealistic or be about anything we can imagine?
Since photo realism is still 15-20 years away, why aren't stylized art forms more widely used in video games?
 

Zand88

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Jan 21, 2009
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Is it just me, or does the girl in the header looks unnervingly like that Boxxy youtube-whore?
 

Susan Arendt

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Dooly95 said:
I personally don't see a big problem. If I see a person in a photograph and judge him on that, doesn't that say more about me than him?

I for one, welcome the new virtual reality, where the lines between fantasy and reality is blurred. We might have less real crimes if that came to be.
If a hiring manager sees you in a photograph performing fellatio on a donkey and doesn't hire you, whether it says more about him or you is really a moot point.

I for one, welcome our CGI artist overlords. Don't screw me over.. please..
 

samsonguy920

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I often wonder lately why there is a such a big push to create simulated reality to such a degree that it stands in for the real thing with very minor chance of it being seen as a forgery. This article answers that question, while raising another: Can we escape the eventual plunge into such a simulacrum of reality?
As Morpheus said in The Matrix, 'Most people in the Matrix are so deeply inbedded into it that they will fight to remain." Case in point: Cypher.
Yahtzee himself, in his blasting of the Wii, has argued for Virtual Reality (or controllers made of fruit.) I myself find the Wii as it is being marketed now as a weird bastard child of reality and VR. I find it comforting though, that it keeps us on this side of reality.
Iori35 said:
People that find it more involving to invest more time in virtual worlds than the real world are seeking an escape.
People that are invested more in CGI characters than real ones are most likely very socially awkward and anxious when confronted by groups.

It won't mean we completely understand humans just because we can create realistic still and moving images that are facsimiles of humans.

Why do people focus so much time and effort to make realistic looking images and animations?
Isn't one of the strengths of the video game medium that it can be completely unrealistic or be about anything we can imagine?
Since photo realism is still 15-20 years away, why aren't stylized art forms more widely used in video games?
People who invest themselves into artificial reality because they may be socially awkward, are only making themselves socially awkward even more. Second Life, fun as it may be, is not a primer for real life social contact. It becomes too easy to build a fiction around yourself, that nobody would recognize you if they met you in real life.
And I wouldn't put a forecast on when photo-realism occurs, it could be as easily as tomorrow. And that's a good question for #1 and #3. My thoughts on 1 is we are already so into the computer age that we have fallen into the God Trap, where we want to make our own realities, for us to control and create in. It's just a thought.
 

Jacques 2

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photo-realism can be achieved today, I'd post a link, but it's not safe for work, just look on CGTALK.com, it's just that the photo you're trying to realize has to be relatively low quality.

Animation on the other hand, is much more difficult, largely because our movements, simple as they may be, affect our entire body as a chain reaction sets off. While we sit here typing, we're breathing, our nostrils open slightly more, slightly less, slightly more, and our chest rises and falls. The muscles in our arms move, just tiny amounts as a result, as do our legs, but animating all these tiny details realistically is an animator's worst nightmare, every frame changing many many variables, increasing in speed and complexity as the action of the scene rises, virtually any 5 minute sequence with characters in combat would take months. High resolution models and textures are close, but always off, because when you see the skin of a person, you're looking at pores, hairs, veins, blood vessels, dermis, abrasions, wrinkles from motion and most of these things move or change in response to the environment. And when you look into someone's eyes, you're looking at a transparent membrane over another membrane with an iris made of muscle fibers in the center. Flat textures can't emulate these minute details well enough to create an HD illusion, we must make strides in modeling and rendering technology, which will take 5-10 years, maybe less if we can get a unified curved geometry format going.

In the matrix argument, I'm mixed, I believe control on such a level is wrong for anything short of an all knowing benevolent being such as God, but as far as the simulation goes, if it tastes like steak, if it feels like stake, and it smells like stake, and doesn't kill you, then it's for all intents and purposes steak.

Imagine if the world we lived in was a mix of virtual mental projections and real life objects, imagine skinny people walking out of McDonalds on a regular basis, having just consumed a nutritious vitamin gel compound shaped like a burger, made to look and taste like one by the virtual mind projections. It has a darker side, yes, which is why I believe the system should have an off switch, which you can always reach, both in reality and in your mind, and at least a month of the year should be spent without it at all.
 

Mookie_Magnus

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Jan 24, 2009
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They did this with the image of Orville Reddenbacher. For a Superbowl commercial(One within the last couple of years) they showed a commercial with a CGI representation of the late popcorn icon listening to an iPod and making popcorn. It was very well done, almost seamless, though I could tell it was fake.

Some reactions to that commercial ranged from people finding it sick and morbid, to people finding it quite convincing. Regardless of the feelings, these people saw how realistic it was, and it stuck to them.
 

feather240

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I've never experienced the uncanny valley for 3D animation. Real robots scare me, but anything done with a computer doesn't affect me. (i.e. i-robot, polar express, video games ect.)
 

Gaias

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Doesn't the fact that you are seeing these images in a magazine or on a computer automatically convinces you these images are not real? Or has basic human perception and common sense went out the window with the current crop of humans?
 

Echolocating

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This article, unfortunately, has practically nothing to do with the uncanny valley. The uncanny valley is really about how our struggle to achieve digital realism produces awkward and unsettling results. Fooling people with digital wizardry has nothing to do with that.

That said, it will be an interesting time when "photographic evidence" is inadmissible in court.

Regarding the uncanny valley, you need only look at the work of shitty plastic surgeons to realize that much of the "problem" lies in poor artistry. There are plenty of manufactured real people that look oddly horrifying.
 

Xelanath

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Srsly said:
So if you don't want your face/body enhanced, don't be on a cover then, silly. Or make sure that the person that's doing the Photoshop work knows what the hell they're doing.
The problem with this, one that the article discusses in one way, is that often people don't have a say in the matter. And as the technology gets better and more widespread this issue will surely only get worse.
 

BlindTom

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Very, very good closing paragraph. Nah fuck it. Very, very good read. Thank you.
 

Neesa

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Xelanath said:
Srsly said:
So if you don't want your face/body enhanced, don't be on a cover then, silly. Or make sure that the person that's doing the Photoshop work knows what the hell they're doing.
The problem with this, one that the article discusses in one way, is that often people don't have a say in the matter. And as the technology gets better and more widespread this issue will surely only get worse.
Yeah. It sucks cause once they sign the contract their opinion or say is null and void.
 

Dooly95

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Kwil said:
Dooly95 said:
I personally don't see a big problem. If I see a person in a photograph and judge him on that, doesn't that say more about me than him?

I for one, welcome the new virtual reality, where the lines between fantasy and reality is blurred. We might have less real crimes if that came to be.
If a hiring manager sees you in a photograph performing fellatio on a donkey and doesn't hire you, whether it says more about him or you is really a moot point.
If he was looking at said photos in the first place, I doubt I'd want to work there anyway.

The_root_of_all_evil said:
Dooly95 said:
I for one, welcome the new virtual reality, where the lines between fantasy and reality is blurred. We might have less real crimes if that came to be.
And a lot more fantasy crimes commited in reality.

Red or blue pill, Mr. Anderson?
Sign me up. I need to be rich, but not too famous.

As someone said earlier, if it looks, smells, tastes, feels like steak, then for many purposes it is steak.

Thinking about it, I'll retract my statement of there being less crimes in real life. An escape from reality does not necessary mean freedom from morals.
 

zoozilla

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For some reason, it never really occurred to me that we will ever overcome the uncanny valley effect.

I just assumed it wouldn't be possible - that no matter how precisely a human was digitally re-created, there would be something that told us that it was fake. Similar to how an expert of Egyptian artefacts can look at any fake and almost instantly tell whether it is genuine.

The idea that we could have trouble distinguishing between a digital world and real life is kind of disturbing. It'd be like being lost in a dream - and while lucid dreams are a hell of a lot of fun, I don't think I'd ever want to be trapped in one forever.
 

Sanaj

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samsonguy920 said:
I often wonder lately why there is a such a big push to create simulated reality to such a degree that it stands in for the real thing with very minor chance of it being seen as a forgery. This article answers that question, while raising another: Can we escape the eventual plunge into such a simulacrum of reality?
As Morpheus said in The Matrix, 'Most people in the Matrix are so deeply inbedded into it that they will fight to remain." Case in point: Cypher.

Iori35 said:
People that find it more involving to invest more time in virtual worlds than the real world are seeking an escape.
People that are invested more in CGI characters than real ones are most likely very socially awkward and anxious when confronted by groups.

It won't mean we completely understand humans just because we can create realistic still and moving images that are facsimiles of humans.

Why do people focus so much time and effort to make realistic looking images and animations?
Isn't one of the strengths of the video game medium that it can be completely unrealistic or be about anything we can imagine?
Since photo realism is still 15-20 years away, why aren't stylized art forms more widely used in video games?
People who invest themselves into artificial reality because they may be socially awkward, are only making themselves socially awkward even more. Second Life, fun as it may be, is not a primer for real life social contact. It becomes too easy to build a fiction around yourself, that nobody would recognize you if they met you in real life.
And I wouldn't put a forecast on when photo-realism occurs, it could be as easily as tomorrow. And that's a good question for #1 and #3. My thoughts on 1 is we are already so into the computer age that we have fallen into the God Trap, where we want to make our own realities, for us to control and create in. It's just a thought.
It is difficult to predict when true photo-realism is reached and the uncanny valley is overcome.
As for Second Life, I have absolutely no interest or experience with it...but it doesn't appeal to me at all.
Also, I've never understood the popularity or appeal of The Sims games.

I'm an introverted person and I am quite uncomfortable when around large groups of people.
Yet, I can't fool myself into thinking that online social interactions / scripted NPC interactions are anywhere near as meaningful
or involving as talking face to face with a person.
If there's one thing that you can't run from it's yourself.

People do like to feel in control of their lives.
Which is why I think even control over a virtual world gives some people a sense of security and satisfaction.
 

Fearzone

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Dec 3, 2008
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Interesting question about what accounts for the uncanny valley. I'm pretty sure it's the animations, or at least that is a major factor, above and beyond the freeze-frame appearances.

As evidence: there is a broad range of artistic styles in graphic novels and stories beginning with simple cartoons and reaching toward realism, but rarely there has there been much discussion of the uncanny valley in that medium. It took a robotics expert to coin the concept.

An unblinking and rigid expression and stiff body movements kill the overall effect, even with otherwise superb graphics. Likewise, smooth, natural and energetic movements can overcome simplistic graphic design.
 

DrFausty

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Kwil said:
If a hiring manager sees you in a photograph performing fellatio on a donkey and doesn't hire you, whether it says more about him or you is really a moot point.
Sort of depends on where you're interviewing - some employers don't automatically rule out good candidates if they don't fit the vanilla mold of white, straight, conservative conventionality. Indeed, the hiring decision in many states cannot, legally, be made on the basis of sexual orientation - though I suppose if a blanket ban were in place on any candidate who had any image of them engaging in any sexual activity available, it would pass legal muster. Which, speaking as a hiring manager and employer brings the question: what kind of a pathetic company would freak out over a sexy picture? Since when is "has an active sexual life" a disqualifying trait in adult human beings? Or is it just having a picture that somehow makes someone un-employable? I guess I just don't understand the relevance, for 99% of job openings.

Anyway, good article. Missed the biggest business opportunity to be found in all of this, however: porn.

http://www.cultureghost.org/viewtopic.php?f=17&t=1267

Fausty | www.cultureghost.org
 

Woem

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The fact that the walking Christopher Reeve was obviously computer-generated and that it was a commercial aired during the Superbowl did not stop people from believing it was real. Why? Because they wanted to believe it was real. And people go a long way to get what they want.

We're now just looking at a first step in the digitization of real people. We're able to creating a realistic 3D model and to have that model move in a believable fashion. It's only a small step to copy the voice pattern and have the model speak in a believable fashion. A real world application would be to fake the discovery of an unreleased recording by Tupac Shakur or Elvis Presley. Even if people knew it was a fake they might go with the fantasy if the song was based on the artist's lyrics, or if the artist died while working on this final song and this technology was used to finish it. Ask yourself: how many people would see a holographic Michael Jackson performing his final "This Is It" concert? How much would they be willing to pay for this?

Taking this a step further we could copy a subject's personality. There's even no need for full-blown artificial intelligence. A chat bot that copies the subject's behavior in a believable fashion would suffice. Imagine a museum that would allow you to talk to Che Guevara, Maximilien Robespierre or Abraham Lincoln. Or that you could talk to the representation of a deceased loved one. He would look, sound and act just like the original person.

I want to believe, therefor you are.
 

Susan Arendt

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Dooly95 said:
If he was looking at said photos in the first place, I doubt I'd want to work there anyway.
DrFausty said:
Kwil said:
If a hiring manager sees you in a photograph performing fellatio on a donkey and doesn't hire you, whether it says more about him or you is really a moot point.
Sort of depends on where you're interviewing - some employers don't automatically rule out good candidates if they don't fit the vanilla mold of white, straight, conservative conventionality. Indeed, the hiring decision in many states cannot, legally, be made on the basis of sexual orientation - though I suppose if a blanket ban were in place on any candidate who had any image of them engaging in any sexual activity available, it would pass legal muster. Which, speaking as a hiring manager and employer brings the question: what kind of a pathetic company would freak out over a sexy picture? Since when is "has an active sexual life" a disqualifying trait in adult human beings? Or is it just having a picture that somehow makes someone un-employable? I guess I just don't understand the relevance, for 99% of job openings.
Good grief you two.. see that thing way over your heads? That was the point. You missed it.

Donkey fellatio was short-hand for "something that the hiring manager would find offensive for an employee to be doing", whether it's a faked porn picture, a faked prison shot, a faked shot of you having dinner with his/her spouse, whatever. And whether it would be legit or not to not hire on that basis, if we're honest, we realize you get axed from the hiring list, and should you come questioning, the standard response is "We didn't think you'd fit our firm" or some such. Or are you really that naive?

At any rate, the point is, if you're blase about this kind of technology, you haven't thought about it, it can affect your life in significant and real ways. Piss off the wrong person, and hey, suddenly pics, or one day video, of you molesting kids can get dropped off at the cop shop. Still feel it's no big deal?
 

lewiswhitling

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Id love to ask how many people get confused between really good CG pictures and actual photos which have been heavily modified. I suppose it's more to do with the fact that people who have grown up seeing CG develop from wobbly clay to laser engineering are probably more alert to when something shown to them is fake.

But tbh, i think the "Uncanny Valley" is making an incorrect statement about what makes a thing "wrong" or "awkward". Something isn't awkward because it's nearly real imo (or a little bit unrealistic). I think it's simply a case of something looking scary because of what it looks like - regardless of its level of realism. A model who's prosthetic skin is hanging off her eyes is going to look unnerving. And the aliens in "Aliens" are scary because of whatever neurological trigger they set off etc.

But no one would call the aliens in that film "realistic" would they? it doesn't even seem to be part of the question of why they do look scary. I have a hunch that this extends to anything which seems unnerving and strange.
 

znix

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Did the author make the picture used as header? If not, can we please get a source?
 

Hamster at Dawn

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Why are people so confused about Christopher Reeve? They already had a documentary years ago where they showed how he could walk by consuming foetuses.
 

thedo12

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if someone makes a fake version of me and makes it do disgusting thing's, I really don't give a shit. I just wouldn't wacth/play it.
 

PKM_UK

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OK, someone had to say it. "Photorealistic" or "indistinguishable from real life" for who? Show the average Escapist reader a 'shopped celebrity nude or a video of someone gunning down hookers in GTA IV and they will instantly recognise it as a fake. Show my grandmother (ok, maybe not the n00ds) and it's less certain.

I'm not saying old people were born yesterday, but greater exposure to the increasing capability of CGI means the average tech-literate 20something is always going to be better at spotting a fake than the average technophobic 60something.

The other consideration is the context in which the fakery is seen. With the Turing test, if you set out to prove a chatbot is a chatbot you will soon get them saying nonsensical things, but as someone proved in some MUD or other, in a casual exchange chatbots can and do fool humans into believing they are humans. The same is true in CGI- you know the flying rocket-car in a summer blockbuster is fake *because you expect it to be*. Put a clip of it in a tech segment at the end of the local news and you'd fool any number of people with some decent CG. You could argue photorealistic CGI was realised as soon as a render of a concept car appeared in the media and someone thought it was a real photo. What about the Porsche shooting brake? Hell, even the latest Sims game can look pretty real if you squint at it right.

In these circumstances, the potential of photorealistic-to-a-casual-observer CGI is much more worrying.
 

DanDeFool

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It seems to me that the uncanny valley theory could go a long way toward explaining why some people seem to be able to relate a lot more closely to anime and game characters while other people don't seem to be able to. It could be that people who can get into these characters may have a narrower valley than those that can't, and experience a higher degree of familiarity for human-resembling figures.

Whereas one person could see a game character and experience positive feelings (sometimes VERY positive feelings, if you know what I mean), another might see the same character and experience neutral feelings or feelings of disgust. In the former case, the character is standing on the peak of the familiarity curve, right before the first big dip, while for the second person the same character may already have fallen into the proverbial ravine.

And by the way, I totally agree with that guy who said this article's CG girl looks like Boxxy from YouTube.
 

SparcMan

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I might not object to someone using a CGI likeness of me for free-speech or artistic purposes as long as it's not for financial gain. It's morally wrong to use someone's digital likeness in a way that would be like getting an actor to perform for free against their will. Parody, freedom of speech and expression are one thing, but if you're making money from producing the photorealistic digital likeness of someone it seems like a form of theft.
Oh and using photorealistic likenesses to try and trick people into thinking that someone has done something wrong or embarassing should be considered defamation.
 

souplogic

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SparcMan said:
I might not object to someone using a CGI likeness of me for free-speech or artistic purposes as long as it's not for financial gain. It's morally wrong to use someone's digital likeness in a way that would be like getting an actor to perform for free against their will. Parody, freedom of speech and expression are one thing, but if you're making money from producing the photorealistic digital likeness of someone it seems like a form of theft.
Oh and using photorealistic likenesses to try and trick people into thinking that someone has done something wrong or embarassing should be considered defamation.
Odd that the morality is somehow coupled to financial gain here. I would imagine that performing against one's will would be the line, monetary profit aside. Besides, financial gain isn't the only profit that can be made at another's expense.

The question of parody is more interesting. Is it actually parody if it is convincing? If it is confusingly photorealistic, then I don't think it can be considered parody. Wikipedia says: [Parody] in contemporary usage, is a work created to mock, comment on, or poke fun at an original work, its subject, or author, or some other target, by means of humorous, satiric or ironic imitation. So if the work, etc. is confused as the original it cannot be a parody.
 

Lucifer_Sam

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I totally agree, CGI has long passed the point of no return. I remember how I felt walking out of Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within severeal years ago. Even as a boy in his early teens I was somewhat concerned about the amount of realism portrayed in this movie. In the years since, CGI has only increased and become further developed.

I believe the day will come when the quality of CGI does cause problems for people, but that doesn't mean we should start demonizing something that has great entertainment applications. I love the CGI movies and effects just like any other gamer would. We just need to set certain boundaries and make sure to clarify them to the idiots in the media.
 

Dooly95

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Kwil said:
At any rate, the point is, if you're blase about this kind of technology, you haven't thought about it, it can affect your life in significant and real ways. Piss off the wrong person, and hey, suddenly pics, or one day video, of you molesting kids can get dropped off at the cop shop. Still feel it's no big deal?
And I'm trying to keep things in perspective. You can yell the sky is falling until your voice gets hoarse - but at the end of the day, this can be used as nothing more than a practical joke.

It's an interesting article, but again I don't feel like I should be worrying about my photo appearing on America's Most Wanted for crimes of molestation.
 

Swaki

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thats the good thing about being so ugly, people would only use this mug of mine to make an villain and then they would have to add a mustache and i would no longer be recognizable.
 
Feb 28, 2008
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I'm more worried about the media industry. What happens when someone tries to create a photorealistic villain, only to find that someone with the face doesn't want their likeness as a serial killer and decides to sue. With 6 billion people and more, it could become difficult to create a face no one has seen before. But then, this should be a wake up call anyway to the fact that we already have realism, give us something else...
 
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Gaias said:
Doesn't the fact that you are seeing these images in a magazine or on a computer automatically convinces you these images are not real? Or has basic human perception and common sense went out the window with the current crop of humans?
The more important question is "Will it convince a jury?", with "...or the readers of a Sunday magazine supplement." as a caveat.
 

Susan Arendt

Nerd Queen
Jan 9, 2007
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thedo12 said:
if someone makes a fake version of me and makes it do disgusting thing's, I really don't give a shit. I just wouldn't wacth/play it.
Fine enough for you, but what if they doctor up a fake version of your daughter (or sister, or cousin, or some other female you care about) and put her in Playboy? Or a porno? What if she has trouble getting a job because people think she's done things she hasn't? She can claim it isn't her all day long but they see what they see.

It's an extreme example, of course, but that's the core of the argument here. As CGI advances, it may be able to, for all intents and purposes, invent "truth" or "proof".
 

theultimateend

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Mezzamine said:
Personally, I don't think technology will ever be able to simulate life to the minutest detail, to the level where it can fool anyone who sees it. Especially not in games. AI and bots are never able to completely emulate another player, which is one of the reasons many companies are now focusing on multiplayer-only games, like Team Fortress 2.
The thing that makes human opponents or allies so different is their ability to think and plan. A computer can only have a finite series of responses to a given situation, whereas humans will always be able to find paths or tactics that had never been planned for. What happens if we create a wall of fire using molotov cocktails? What happens if we have a medic standing on top of a heavy while healing him? The ability to ask 'What if...' and then act on this inspiration is what gives humans the edge: Their imagination. And while computers and avatars may become more and more lifelike, they'll never be able to emulate human thought.
At least, I sincerely hope not.
It's true.

Technology has never completely overshadowed people's expectations.

We've never created machines that can travel along the ground with the force of hundreds of horses or more.

We've never lifted off the ground and crossed expanses as large as an ocean in a single trip.

We've never managed to eject ourselves from the very atmosphere and land on our moon.

Lord knows that some diseases or injuries once deemed as fatal are now easily cured.

Technology moves at every increasing speeds. It won't be the people who are passionate about technology that end up using it for douche bag activities, it'll be idiots who don't even understand the mechanics.

Like the Military or Corporation owners.
 

bjj hero

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RebellionXXI said:
And by the way, I totally agree with that guy who said this article's CG girl looks like Boxxy from YouTube.
Just looked up Boxxy, I don't see the likeness. THat is 2 minutes of my life I will never get back. She was like a cheap American Jeramy from PP. I also can't stand how she keeps raising her nose making you look up her massive nostrils...

OT, If advances keep going most forms of evidence will no longer be admissable in court. DNA will be the most reliable source. Unfortunately life isn't CSI and as they say in Superbad, villains dont leave seamen everywhere they go. Unless we all get "chipped" like pet dogs. Imagine the harm you could do with a cloned chip...
 

sharp_as_a_cork

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I agree with Kwil and the others who see a reason to be concerned. The thing is, can we do anything about it? I don't see a way to avoid this.
How will we adapt? Will witness accounts be once again the only reliable evidence in courts? Will everyone just believe or disbelieve news reports simply on the basis of faith?
Can we draw a line to say "this, and no more"?

I'm curious as well as worried. It might not affect the lives of most of us, but it's bad enough if it affects some, and it will affect more people as the years go by.
 

lacktheknack

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Am I the only one who isn't affected by the uncanny valley? It sure seems that way...
 

bmart008

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Interesting article, and cool that you live in Ottawa, me too! + the link to your blog at the end of the article is broken :(.

To the uncanny valley, I'm not so sure I want to cross it, at least in playing games. The fun in gaming is that it's not real, making them perfectly indistinguishable from real life just seems like it would take all the fun out of it. I mean who wants to play in real life? Would it make you a better person if the blood splatter and death rattle was anatomically correct down to the micron? I don't think so. Maybe that's why we're killing more Aliens in our games now. It's getting harder and harder for regular people to stomach the killing of human like forms. In the past at least, I've found that the games that stand out the most and live the longest are those that use art to define themselves instead of photo-realism. Oh well interesting none the less.

+ Killing zombies I think would always be ok. I HATE zombies.
 

Alphavillain

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"Uncacnny valley"? I never heard that before today, but it rings true. They certainly have names for everything nowadays. But I think the whole image rights thing in this area is a bit overstated: like everything else, if you're a celebrity and are shown without your consent, your lawyers will crucify the party (or parties) responsible. Normal service resumed, in other words.
 

-Dragmire-

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Mar 29, 2011
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I've never experienced the uncanny valley, granted I'm one of the people trying to create "fake life". btw, the "illusion of life" is a great book.
 

Chirez

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Mezzamine said:
The thing that makes human opponents or allies so different is their ability to think and plan. A computer can only have a finite series of responses to a given situation, whereas humans will always be able to find paths or tactics that had never been planned for.
Why, exactly, can a human mind do this, but a computer simulation cannot?
What mystic property does your brain contain which is outside the realm of simulation?
Is it your soul?
 

Paragon Fury

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Jan 23, 2009
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In regards to people investing so much time into virtual reality; thats a problem of reality sucking, not the virtual reality.

I mean hell, that woman from the header is more attractive than probably 90% of the women most guys will ever see. Combined with the fact that she either comes with, or can be programed with a personality that is more agreeable than most people will ever meet, and reality is already behind the curve.
 

Grey Day for Elcia

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Zand88 said:
Is it just me, or does the girl in the header looks unnervingly like that Boxxy youtube-whore?
Don't use grossly offensive labels.

The_root_of_all_evil said:
Dooly95 said:
I for one, welcome the new virtual reality, where the lines between fantasy and reality is blurred. We might have less real crimes if that came to be.
And a lot more fantasy crimes commited in reality.

Red or blue pill, Mr. Anderson?
If it's a fantasy crime, it isn't committed in reality. You can pretend to blur the lines all you like, but you can't change the definitions of reality and fantasy.
 

Grey Day for Elcia

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lacktheknack said:
Am I the only one who isn't affected by the uncanny valley? It sure seems that way...
I'm not either.

Do you by chance have any form of autism (higher functioning spectrum or otherwise)? A few shrinks have said I do, but the majority have said I don't. Would be interesting to draw a line between the two.

I'm sure there's been studies done.
 

Grey Day for Elcia

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Paragon Fury said:
In regards to people investing so much time into virtual reality; thats a problem of reality sucking, not the virtual reality.

I mean hell, that woman from the header is more attractive than probably 90% of the women most guys will ever see. Combined with the fact that she either comes with, or can be programed with a personality that is more agreeable than most people will ever meet, and reality is already behind the curve.
Reality wins by virtue of nature.

For now at least.
 

lacktheknack

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Grey Day for Elcia said:
lacktheknack said:
Am I the only one who isn't affected by the uncanny valley? It sure seems that way...
I'm not either.

Do you by chance have any form of autism (higher functioning spectrum or otherwise)? A few shrinks have said I do, but the majority have said I don't. Would be interesting to draw a line between the two.

I'm sure there's been studies done.
Nope, I'm pretty clear in terms of brain function. I'm kind of boring, actually. Even my Tourette's is barely noticeable anymore.

I just don't get creeped out by almost-real faces.
 

Paragon Fury

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Jan 23, 2009
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Grey Day for Elcia said:
Paragon Fury said:
In regards to people investing so much time into virtual reality; thats a problem of reality sucking, not the virtual reality.

I mean hell, that woman from the header is more attractive than probably 90% of the women most guys will ever see. Combined with the fact that she either comes with, or can be programed with a personality that is more agreeable than most people will ever meet, and reality is already behind the curve.
Reality wins by virtue of nature.

For now at least.
Eh, maybe.
 

Crazie_Guy

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Just wait until the day when any computer art student can fabricate a perfectly realistic scene of the president giving an address to the nation, saying whatever they want...