Thursday, May 22, 2014

The Future of Animation

Have you watched an animated movie lately? Maybe Frozen, or Train your Dragon? The graphics are amazing and yes they look like cartoons but still amazing. Then there are the video games, some of these are so realistic now that you almost forget you are playing a video game.

So what is the future of all of this computer animated entertainment? The future is that it will continue to get more and more realistic to the point where we will not be able to tell apart humans filmed on camera and CG characters. I believe that the cartoons will still be cartoons otherwise the kids will not enjoy it as much. When I say kids I mean of all ages.

So what does this mean for actors and actress? In the next 10 or so years we simply may not need them. They can all be generated by computers in real-time and our entire "Matrix" world will be complete.

Ahhhh! but there is still one piece of the puzzle and that is the voices. Right now the voices for animated characters are performed by real humans. I do believe it is not that far off from this being computerized as well. Think of the cost savings from having to hire professional voice overs.

Synthesizing the voice is actually a difficult thing to do, just ask Siri (Apple) or Cortana (Microsoft) and you tell me how real those voices sound. They don't... As much as they love to say that they sound good, a small child can tell you that is a computer voice and is not real.

We are a bit of a ways off from making human voices originate completely from the bits and bytes of the computer world. There are other hurdles to overcome as well such as these voices having a personality, depth, and realistic tone and pitch. The next question is should they sound like a famous person that we can relate to or just a random pitch and tone.

So the final question is when we have computer generated humans and computer generated voices will we be licensing famous people's looks and voices or just make up new "famous virtual people".

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Censoring the Search Index

Recently the high court of the European Union in Luxembourg decided that Google is required to "amend" search results to reflect "individuals right to be forgotten". Google has rightfully fought this all the way to the high court in the EU as they are not creating or controlling the content but simply indexing it. Google is claiming they are an "information aggregator" and not a "controller" of the information.

This amounts to censorship that hurts the Internet more than anything. Google would not even allow bad things said about it's own CEO to be removed from it's the indexes. As this would destroy the core idea that the Internet should be uncensored and uncontrolled.

I propose that Google and all other search engines simply remove their servers from any country that demands this type of censorship. If users want to utilize these search engines then they can still access them but will have to cross over political borders into "censor free" countries to do so.

Think of China. Long story short, Google went there and left. Do I need to say anymore on that?

So what is the solution. Censoring anything is bad. Text books, history, anything. If you did something bad in the past then you are going to have to live with it. Go to the content source and deal with them. Think of going to every library and forcing them to remove a newspaper article about something you did. You will fail miserably and rightfully so. There is no difference here other than its electronic.

The problem compounds that if someone can say (for example). "Hey, I don't want that inappropriate picture of me in the index, take it down!" and the index complies adding an exception. "Ok Google", now multiply that by millions of request and exceptions... Let me know how that works out for you and the hundreds of staff that you have to hire just to deal with these request. Plus how do you know if the request are legit? Why not rewrite history while we are at it.

Bottom line: Google, Bing, Yahoo, and any other reputable search engine. Don't give in to censorship EVER! If a country or government forces you to censor, pull your servers out of there. Again remember China.

Finally, as I personally have issues with authority (ask anyone that knows me). I say just ignore the court ruling. What are they going to do? Ban Google and any other non-conforming search index throughout the entire European Union?

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