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Changing reality too much with technology

Jared Heng | Sept. 10, 2008
Movie producers have been very successful - perhaps a little too successful - in leveraging on technology to create the most exciting films.

Technology has come a long way, especially in the movie business. Thanks to software that enables film makers to alter reality according to their wildest fantasies, movie buffs can vicariously share in almost any kind of experience depicted on-screen.

Sci-fi and martial arts movies in particular, have been at the forefront of using technological innovations to create incredible film scenarios. A great example is the American sci-fi television series, Heroes, which depicts experiences of ordinary people who discover they have superhuman abilities.

My favourite character from the series is Hiro Nakamura, who has the ability to stop time or travel anywhere in the world at any time period. Its cool when you dont need to fight the villain, but just freeze him in time, and take the weapon from his hand like candy from a child. Again, we have animation magic to thank for that.

However, movie producers walk a thin line between delighting audiences by playing out their fantasies on-screen and inviting disgust at the way reality is twisted. Sci-fi movies are somehow immune to this risk because they are what they are -- pure fantasies about technology or reality. Movies that are particularly vulnerable to criticism are those that portray fantasy that is based to some extent on reality.

For example, Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull has a scene where our archaeological hero hides in a fridge to survive a nuclear explosion. The blast lifts the fridge high up into the air and brings it down to the ground like a tennis ball. Indiana Jones then emerges unscathed, apparently, from it.

The scene was so incredible, that some fans of the Indiana Jones series even dubbed the term Nuke the fridge to denote its absurdity. But dont get me wrong, Im a great fan of Indiana Jones and wouldnt mind if he survived a nuclear explosion in a paper box.

So, what can we learn from this? While technology may serve enterprises well, human knowledge and psychology cannot be ignored when the service experience is delivered. And Im not just referring to movies.

Jared Heng is staff writer for Fairfax Business Media, where he covers hot topics in the IT industry such as green computing, unified communications and software as a service.

 

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