Exactly 28 years ago, some nameless publicity seeking “journalist” fabricated and published an article with the outlandish claim that computer-generated actors were replacing human performers in the movie industry. His article went on to proclaim that a feature film had been produced which did just that. Unfortunately, while never reported or exposed as a hoax, at the time it was utterly impossible. I knew perhaps better than anyone, because one of my first projects at Paramount Pictures was to replace actress Natalie Wood in key scenes from Douglas Trumbull’s movie “Brainstorm” due to her untimely death during production. We tried. We learned the limitations were greater than the capabilities at that time. This careless and harmful article caused a nasty disruption in the natural evolution of computer-generated imagery. Hollywood was startled and became suspicious and resistant to the notion and the progress of CGI. It was the same with the Screen Actors Guild.
So here we go again, just when the new medium of Immersion (VR movies) has begun to emerge and take hold, out comes an article so sensational and outrageous that it is instantly is picked up and spewed across the high tech/VR metaverse. With a catchy attention grabbing headline of: “DARPA Cortical Modem connects brain directly to computer for ‘electronic telepathy and telekinesis”, dozens of net journalists have picked up the story. What will follow will be the obligatory talking heads on television touting this sensational story.
Allegedly, the US Defense Research Projects Agency (DARPA) claims to have invented a system to bypass a standard HMD (Head mounted display) to project images, audio, tactile stimulation directly to your brain’s cerebral cortex through a implanted coin shaped chip, around 1cm wide, for as little as $10 USD. Cough. I would suggest the first image this miraculous device project is that of flying pigs.
Meanwhile, the focus shifts from the true and remarkable progress being made by groups like Oculus Rift and other heavy hitters as they earnestly strive toward the creation of the exciting new medium of immersion. Immersion may well end up as a direct-to-brain transmission, just not in our immediate future.