Virtual You-Virtual Me: Holograms

CNN used a hologram to “wisk” correspondent Jessice Yelin from Chicago to New York during election night reporting. What is in store for the future of holograms? And how could it affect your identity?

The election year of 2008 brought with it many surprising uses of technology, and new technologies. For years political parties and lobbyist have been able to use e-mail to reach large audiences, but this year, we see more. Beginning with “text messages” from President -Elect Barak Obama announcing his Vice Presidential candidate, entire cable channels purchased for a candidates platform to finally election night, and the introduction of holographic news anchors to walk the United States through the election night process.
Holographic news anchor? Yes, it’s true. During CNN’s election night reporting a holographic 3D, 360 image of reporter Jessica Yelin in Chicago was “transmitted” to CNN’s election center in New York. During election night coverage, it appeared as if she was a “real” part of the news coverage from New York. How was this done?
CNN’s virtual correspondent required 35 HD cameras, different shots at different angles, synchronization with the cameras in New York, 20 computers processing the data and 2 camera feeds at CNN headquarters. That’s all. There is more to it than this, but most of it I think you have to be a computer engineer to understand.
When I first learned of the use of this technology, I thought, “Wow, straight out of “Star Trek.” I am not the only one. John Chambers (of Cisco Systems) explained that he wanted technology straight out of Star Trek, and Emerging Technology Group and Marthin De Beer made it happen. During a presentation by John Chambers discussing this innovative technology, he and De Beer give a “virtual” presentation, with a presenter on one continent and one on another.
What are some possible uses for virtual presentation or holographic imagery?
– Education: Could professors perform lectures from the comfort of their offices? Or possibly students attend classes from the comfort of their homes?
– Business Travel: Could holograms be the next alternative to business travel, meetings, presentations and conferences? We already have web conferencing tools available, just think how much more effective it could be with face to virtual face contact – and how much more efficient.
– Counseling or Medical Services: Instead of calling your therapist, counselor or other medical professional could you have a virtual consultation? What happens to the office visit co-pay then?
– Recreation: Is this the next step in recreation? Could people actually use this for recreational travel? Or could it be the next new technology for video games, taking the “Wii” system several steps into the future?
– Virtual Shopping: Can holographic imagery give virtual shopping a whole new meaning? Would we move beyond the express lane and self service lanes, to virtual checkouts?
– Virtual Banking: Can I save myself a trip to the bank and complete basic services as well as loan and credit applications as a hologram?
With all these possibilities there are also a number of concerns that the technology of a virtual presence or holographic image creates. For example, who owns the image or hologram? What happens when enterprising individuals learn less expensive and complicated ways of created a holographic image? Could it be possible to capture my image and use it for identification, shopping or even medical services; just to name a few? Could holographic images be the next new technology in identity theft, fraud or other financial crimes?
The law rarely keeps up with technology. As a result, with every more useful emerging technology such as a holographic image there is a need to not only look to the future uses, but the future threats to our safety and identity that these types of new technology bring. After all, spam and phishing all started with a simple e-mail.

1 thought on “Virtual You-Virtual Me: Holograms”

  1. This is a very good question. (I too was fascinated by the holographic anchors too, by the way. I was thinking something along the lines of Star Wars.)
    I would think that holographic images could conceivably be used to generate phony photo IDs, which in fact could be dangerous. Obtaining one’s identification numbers-wise (such as an SS number) is bad enough; coupled with the person’s image, that would be a double-whammy.
    Thanks for posting this…excellent food for thought.

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