Creating Obama

It’s alive! This article at IEEE Spectrum on a project to synthesize videos of Barack Obama using a neural net along with video and audio clips from President Obama’s speeches highlights a point I’ve been making for years. The time when it becomes practical to make new movies starring deceased actors isn’t that far away.

Want to see Ronald Reagan playing Rick in Casablanca? Believe it or not that was the original casting. Groucho Marx as Rhett Butler (purportedly author Margaret Mitchell’s vision of the character)? Meryl Streep as Ripley in Alien? She was considered before Sigourney Weaver.

Or a new Star Wars sequel featuring the late Carrie Fisher as Leia? The ability to do any of these is just on the horizon. It’s been more than ten years since the image of the late Laurence Olivier appeared in Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow.

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