How would you like to interact with a virtual diva? Hatsune Miku is a voice synthesizer who is recognized as virtual idol from Japan. Miku can operate without humans behind, her voice comes from a voice synthesizer from crypton (Etienne, 2015). In her concerts, Miku is projected on a big screen, however you can also use a software application to watch Miku perform a live concert in real time via augmented reality (AR).
This virtual idol can interact through how she is programmed to talk to the masses, usually along the lines that will elicit a predictable response from the audience. For example, in one of her concerts held in Sapporo, Japan back in 2011, Miku appears on stage after a break saying “Tadaima” which translates to “I’m back”. The crowd then replies “Okaeri” meaning “Welcome back.”
There is less conversation in AR as she is limited to the program’s parameters. You can watch Miku perform live and even go to a date with her. She can sit with you, react to your movements and even kiss you. You just cannot have an actual conversation. It is more of a non-verbal communication with her hologram projection.
In a way, the communication between Miku and her fans seems interactive, because she can send messages and receive them from her fans and vice versa. In concerts, she is the proprietor of communication while the fans give verbal responses. Miku and her fans’s roles reverse in the case of using the AR software, albeit, the messages and responses are non-verbal. The problem is Miku is not a real person. She is more like a medium to communicate messages from the producers to her fans. Producers create the illusion that people are interacting with Miku when in fact, Miku’s producers are interacting with their customers by presenting the medium (Miku) as the communicator. This whole interaction resemble Barlund’s model of communication where there is a sender, receiver, message, medium and feedback.
Nevertheless, I still think that Miku and the technology that enables her franchise are amazing. If we can date virtual idols and attend their concerts, who is to say we cannot talk with fictional beings in the future? Since there are already scientific studies of the soul, maybe in the near future, technology will allow fictional beings to have synthetic souls that will allow them to relate to human thinking.
- Etienne, Jerome. 2015. “Jeromeetienne/Demo.Hatsunemiku-Augmentedreality.” GitHub. July 16, 2015. https://github.com/jeromeetienne/demo.hatsunemiku-augmentedreality/blob/master/POST.md.
- MoChan.Official. 2012. “Hatsune Miku- Rolling Girl- Live in Sapporo.” YouTube. July 26, 2012. https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=XyTmXLWCazw.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.