Attack of the the Office Clones

Attack of the the Office Clones
BRUCE WENHAM

I have found a way of making your boss say anything you want. You can make him happy, sad, smile, nod, shake his head, blink, smile and frown. You can even make him say, "Marek, your total sale of Danone yoghurts last month is the highest I have ever come across in my entire career".

Or - "In fact, you are such a brilliant sales representative that I have decided you are not paid enough. Your salary is tripled, effective immediately!".

A new technology from a company in San Francisco called Pulse allows you to take a single 2D photo or other character image and create a photo-real, 3D "clone" or "veeper" of the original, complete with lip-synching and automated text-to-speech (TTS) functionality. Once created you can make it move and say whatever you like in any accent you choose.

You can see a demo at:

http://www.pulse3d.com/demos/tts/interactive/index.asp

The veeper's intended applications include email, internal communications, enhanced CRM solutions, e-commerce campaigns or for e-learning.

The idea is that it adds human touch to communication at 1/50th the size and 1/10th the cost of streaming video.


Come on - both you and me know a better application for the veeper! It's nice to be nice but it's even nicer to be nasty. Imagine all the fun you could have with all those photos of your work colleagues - all those suits, propeller heads, ponytails and techies! Heed the warning of Yoda the green Ghandi troll in Star Wars Episode II - "begun this Clone War has!"

But I can also see the office clone wars boosting morale. Not only can you get your boss to praise you for your hard work; you can make that stubborn subordinate of yours promise he is going to improve sales.

Remember how in the old days you'd stick your boss's photo on the inside of your stationary cupboard door and throw darts at him? Now you've got the veeper - don't you think that's much more sophisticated and therapeutic!

 

VOCABULARY

lip-synching - the synchronization of lip movements with already recorded sound

TTS - text-to-speech

CRM - customer relationship management

e-commerce - commerce on the web

e-learning - learning on the web

streaming video - An Internet data transfer technique that allows the user to see and hear audio and video files without lengthy download times. The host or source 'streams' small packets of information over the Internet to the user, who can access the content as it is received.

suit - manager, executive, CEO (Chief Executive Officer), sales representative

propeller head - programmer (VB, Delphi, XML, Perl)

ponytail - graphic artist

techies - engineers, programmers, scientists

subordinate - a person who works under another

stationary - writing-materials



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