Holoportation: Microsoft Has It Exactly Wrong, They Accidentally Created Time Travel

By Rob Enderle March 29, 2016

If you look at how Microsoft is positioning Holoportation, including the name, it looks like this is a form of teleportation.  But if you watch the video it only really approaches the latter when both of the folks using the service are wearing Hololens, which then looks like both of you are a tad goofy – granted far better than if you are wearing one of the 3D headsets hitting the market but still pretty goofy.  However the guy’s broadcast child (in the link above) who can hear but not see her parent, looks perfect and this showcases what Holoportation is, it isn’t space travel like teleportation, it is Time Travel in its current form.

Let me explain.

Holoportation:  Capturing That Perfect Moment

If you’ve had a pet you know the feeling of loss when that pet dies.  If you have a child, you know that the parent trying to video things like those first steps really doesn’t experience them and film only captures part of the effort.  You know that if you have an aging parent there will come a time when you won’t get to experience sitting with them even if you don’t say a thing. 

Holoportation could capture a memory far more completely than any camera could.  Your now dead pet now playing on the floor much like they did when they were alive.  Your parent sitting at the table reading and smiling at you much like they did while you were growing up, and not only being able to witness your child’s first steps while there but being able to step back in time to do it again and again with the same experience fully rendered.

That’s what Holoportation can do right now.  It can capture and preserve a moment in time in its pristine and original form.   In a church it could return the attendees to a wedding for the renewal of vows just as they were when the vows were first given.  Or simply being able to relive that memory as if you were in the audience attending your own wedding years after the event. 

You could even speak at your own funeral much like if you were actually there, which, I expect, some might find a tad disconcerting particularly if you had one or more relatives you’d like to have the final words with. 

Preparing For The Future

Now once you have a detailed 3D image and full voiceprint of someone you should be able to get the resulting Avatar to say whatever you want at some future point in real time.  We’ve certainly had examples of actors who have appeared in commercials hyping products that didn’t even exist when they were alive.  

So if you then backed that capability up with an informational AI engine you could create programs where a parent could advise their child long after they had passed.  Or a teaching program to take the face of a parent to create a unique relationship with the student right from the first instant the program was turned on.  

An avatar of a dead pet not only could run around the house and react to you as if it was alive but you could give it a voice so it could give you your messages or provide detailed alerts of a problem.   Granted because you could only see the pet with the Hololens headset its ability to physically guard the house would be limited but with speakers and control over the home automation system your virtual pet could still likely scare off a burglar. 

Finally, you could have asynchronous conversations over long distances (could be particularly important if we actually send people to Mars).   This means you would talk to the avatar of the person while you are awake and the avatar would respond based on the AI’s knowledge of the person you are virtually talking to.  This conversation would be repeated with the real person who would then, through their response, refine it and over a series hours or days (depending on the distance) anomalies would be worked out as the two programs on each side of the conversation refined their responses. 

Wrapping Up:  Time Travel

From the standpoint of experience this wouldn’t just be the chance to travel back in time and view a past event if being there but, eventually, viewing a future event you won’t be alive to see.   For instance once a 3D image of a child is captured a future system to extrapolate based on images of the parents what an adult child would look like and extrapolate what their behavior would be.  Now the parent could talk to an emulation of what their future child would look like and, if they are no longer around, they’ll never know or care that it wasn’t accurate and the elements of the conversation would be preserved so that a future AI could update them and give the future child a rendition of that conversation that would be nearly identical to what would have occurred hat that parent been alive.  

For instance, I was never able to have the conversation with my Grandfather the way I’d like to do it. Today he is long gone and I wasn’t mature enough to have it when he was alive.  Being able to have that now only occurs in my dreams.  With a future version of Holoportation, in 20 years, someone else wanting to do this likely will have that option and it will be priceless. 

Who knew Microsoft could create Time Travel?   Apparently not Microsoft.  

Edited by Maurice Nagle

President and Principal Analyst, Enderle Group

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