With all the hubbub in the last couple days about holographic performers, is there any chance this might catch on? If's possible, but its success depends on whether or not audiences develop a taste for it.
The technology itself is actually an illusion (see the video below). Basically, an image is projected to a screen, which is picked up by a angled piece of foil that's transparent enough to be difficult to see. It can be used to display real images as well as animations, so it can used for other purposes, like a video conference or presentation that makes it seem as if the subject is actually present at the event.
It's made some waves, including a set of sold-out concerts in Japan. Back in 2010, a vocaloid (a type of speech synthesizing software) called Hatsune Miku was turned into a computer-generated character and sent to venues around the island nation, as well as a couple in the U.S. The character was so popular that venues filled up to see her.
Japan has a reputation as trend-setter for a lot of technology, so it's not a stretch to think that we might see it in widespread use in the U.S. at some point.
If it does take hold, just think about the implications. Computer-generated imagery is getting better all the time, so you could use it to create a completely artificial, but real-looking artist, or even a whole band. Couple the graphics with advances in artificial intelligence, and someday the "fake" artist could hold intelligent conversations with its fans. It may seem far-fetched now, but it probably won't be in a few decades.
The artist using the technology doesn't even have to be artificial. It's already being used by Celine Dion in her Vegas show, and Madonna has twice performed alongside Gorillaz's animated doppelgangers. Going further, a real artist could use holography to appear in more than one venue at a time. That particular usage has pitfalls that are beyond the scope of this post, but it's neat to think about.
So can we expect this to become the next big thing? Well, I suppose the big question we must ask is: do concert-goers want to see artificial artists or do they want the real deal? I think that's a hard question to answer. In an era where a lot of music is already arguably artificial, would this not just be the nest step? Or do people still like to see a human face singing the lyrics of a song, even if the music accompanying it is not quite "real?"
I would not be surprised to see it become a niche, but I won't put place any huge bets on it at this point. We'll just have to wait and see what develops over the next decade or so.
What do you think? Will holographic artists become the next big thing or are they just a cheesy gimmick? Would you go see a concert featuring an artificial artist? Let us know in the comments.