The Treachery of Images

<%image(20080327-Howarde_Avatar.jpg|230|201|Ceci n'est pas Howard)%>There’s a photo of me in the current Information Week. Only it isn’t a “photo,” and it isn’t “me.”

The picture fixes a specific pattern of electromagnetic radiation and is made using a device called a camera, but it was captured before any photons hit the ether. It is an accurate likeness of my avatar in Croquet, which in turn is a reasonable virtual representation of myself. The caption and indeed the story do not mention me by name, but they are about our work at Qwaq. And I am largely defined by my work. (There is another picture with David and Andreas that is also not a pipe.)

The commercial process to create this avatar is not yet mature enough for everyone to be able to do this today, but the technology is quite sound. I bought a figure for $50 online from a firm in Europe. I imagine the artists were from even further east. The figure was (mostly) automatically processed to be incorporated into a special program by a fellow in yet another country, who I have also never met. I took a single snapshot of myself and fed it into this program, which produced the avatar.

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  1. John says:

    That is one scary-looking Stearns. A badass avatar, I’m saying. Can you imagine his avatar and Jason Bourne’s avatar in a no-holds barred virtual fight to the death? Look out! This guy looks like he means business!

  2. Stearns says:

    It’s that damn blue pill…

  3. Stearns says:

    Today our new avatars appeared in “Today’s Wall Street Journal in Photos” – amid stories on Armageddon, Hillary Clinton, and beer sales:

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