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Uncle Luke, the man whose booty-shaking madness once made the U.S. Supreme Court stand up for free speech, gets as nasty as he wants to be forMiami New Times. This week, Luke marvels at the technology that brought Tupac back to life.
Watching an image of the late Tupac Shakur onstage at the Coachella music festival was awesome. A Port St. Lucie company helped Dr. Dre create the thing. I give 'em both props. The firm's stock has skyrocketed by 50 percent since the show. The Wall Street Journal even reported there might be a national tour.
Soon we could be seeing Michael Jackson, Jimi Hendrix, and Kurt Cobain in concert. And one day there might be a matchup between Muhammad Ali and Mike Tyson using this technology. We may no longer have to imagine an NBA Finals featuring the Los Angeles Lakers of the '80s versus the Chicago Bulls of the '90s. We'll be able to see it.
We could even use the technology to teach children history. The late movie producer George Jackson, who made New Jack City, once envisioned using holograms to bring back to life great African-Americans such as Frederick Douglass and Harriet Tubman.
But too much technology can backfire. The Tupac image also reminded me of the 2002 movie S1m0ne, in which a director, played by Al Pacino, uses a computer program to create a virtual actress to star in his film. The creation spirals out of control and Pacino's character ends up getting arrested for murdering his holographic thespian. It's a cautionary tale about what happens when we let technology take control of our lives.
That's the downside. You don't want to mess too much with reality. But at Walt Disney World and Disney's Hollywood Studios, the Haunted Mansion and Tower of Terror rides use the same technique — projecting an image onto a mirrored screen — that was used to bring Tupac to life. The families of many dead artists might soon begin using that technology to generate new revenue.
Living artists will work harder to make their performances even more spectacular. They'll take their tours more seriously.