For the first time ever, 3D holographic projections will play an instrumental role in a national election.
Today it was announced that Indian Prime Ministerial candidate Narendra Modi, who represents India’s second biggest political party, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), will be using the technology to simultaneously project himself to more than 100 locations around the country.
Although not the first time the politician has used the technology – he made a Guinness World Record for simultaneously projecting to 53 locations during his 2012 state Assembly campaign – this is the first time it will be used in a national election campaign.
Indian political news website Nit Central quoted a BJP representative describing the event: “People will be called to a pre-defined location where they will get a feeling that Modi is standing among them and addressing them. With this technology, it will enable Modi to reach out to maximum people across the country without actually being present at various locations.”
The only other politician known to have used the technology is Turkey’s Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, who addressed regional members of his party via holographic projection.
Election campaign strategists from around the globe will no doubt be watching how Indian voters respond to Modi’s holographic presence.
In a country of 1.2 billion people, the technology makes reaching out to voters in different regions more achievable. However, some political analysts are concerned that it could make the politician seem aloof and out-of-touch with normal people, alienating him from voters.
If all goes well, though, holographic projections could become a standard feature in the madness of political campaigns around the globe.
Perhaps future US presidential candidates will ‘dine’ with potential voters in hundreds of different diners like Richard Nixon’s Head rival Chris Travers did in the Futurama episode Decision 3012.
Alternatively, political debates could not only be broadcast on TV and online, but could be projected as holograms in towns and cities around the country.
Given the impact that television had on the nature of presidential candidates, it would be interesting to see how holographic projections could impact candidate preference: perhaps the physical fitness of presidential candidates would become more important as individuals were able to see them close-up.
While the use of 3D holographic projections is in its infancy in political sphere, in the entertainment industry use of the technology is growing.
The long-deceased rapper Tupac Shakur performed with Snoop Dogg at Coachella Festival in 2012, in a show that may have fooled many if it weren’t for his famous death in 1996.
Holographic technology has also enabled the fictional band The Gorillaz to go on tour, provided the world with a “live” duet between Elvis and Celine Dion on American Idol and enabled humanoid persona Hatsume Miku to perform to thousands of fans.
Image of Narendra Modi courtesy of Rangilo Gujarati.