fake tennis, real implications

Interesting work from a group at Stanford creating interactive video sprites. By using a lot of tennis video footage, the system is able to create controllable “players” and create matchups that have never or couldn’t really happen – like Roger Federer playing against himself.

The implications are pretty broad – anything that has a large amount of open source footage could serve as a “remix” opportunity where the history can be rewritten. When you combine this with natural language work (e.g. Adobe VoCo), you get a lot of possibilities. Think of all that C-SPAN coverage that is ripe for remix…

What to do about this is the big question. Watermarking and other traditional methods for determining authenticity have been tried with varying results. Blockchain has been hailed as the silver bullet, but odds are, as with most things in life, there will be no silver bullet. The long-term solution will likely be a combination of technical infrastructure along with humans needing to alter how they judge “reality”.

Typically reserved for the world of philosophers and artists, we are moving into an age where the concept of reality requires a significant rethink – by all areas of society.

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