There seems to be an ongoing debate about whether the Republicans truly had planned to use a hologram at their convention this week.
Either way, the fact remains that the technology exists to do it, as we saw with the hologram Tupac Shakur earlier this year. The company behind that stunt says there’s no Reagan in the works.
Yahoo pointed the finger at another developer:
“It wasn’t officially going to be part of the convention,” Tony Reynolds, founder of crowdsourcing website A KickIn Crowd, told Yahoo News in a phone interview Thursday. “It was going to be outside of the convention at the Lakeland Center.”
Reynolds obtained rights to a Reagan speech discussing small businesses and plans to use the hologram to promote the Jumpstart Our Business Startups Act. He has been working with AV Concepts, one of the companies behind the creation of the Tupac Shakur hologram, which was unveiled at this year’s Coachella Music Festival.”
All this talk of Reagan holograms has rekindled the same uneasy feeling I had the moment I saw video of the Tupac hologram.
For years, the idea of holograms seemed so fun, and so sci-fi. That little hologram of Princess Leia that R2-D2 barfs out in front of Luke? I mean, what adult my age doesn’t have the fondest memories of that little scene.
But now that they’re here, and will likely be with us forever, it’s clear they represent a threat to the future. As soon as I heard about the Tupac hologram, I knew that people around the world were figuring out if the technology could be used to resurrect their favorite dead celebrity.
Where does it stop? It doesn’t, of course.
And that means, as the trend inevitably accelerates, that the stage of public life will grow ever more crowded because the old generation will never make way for the new. They will just be recycled, in digital form. Which means those new faces with fresh ideas, new forms of entertainment, new political ideas, will be doing more than just competing with the ghosts of past legends.
They will have to fight them, or their holographic forms, for our love and attention. It is potentially the most frightening cultural development since the invention of the classic rock radio format.
Nostalgia is a powerful thing. But at some point, it’s also important for progress to happen that we find a way to let go of our past. Celebrate it, yes. But move on. You can’t just keep listening to bad Steve Miller songs forever. And you can’t just keep bowing down to the same politicians who served a past generation.
Holograms threaten that natural order. And, I fear, offer a world that stagnates because the past is never the past.