Wednesday, February 12, 2003
Dear Mr. Gaiman,

I'm sorry to be writing about something not very recent, but I was delayed by the FAQ problem. I'm writing about a comment you posted on Feb. 4th:

(Things like "We've been given this technology by the CIA where they can take a very small amount of video footage of a subject talking and type in what they want the subject to say, and it really convincingly makes it appear that that's what the subject is saying. Now is there any way we could use this in the theme parks...?")

Frankly, this gave me the heebie-jeebies. Please tell me that this is another example of your fertile imagination. Otherwise, given that the current administration is using CIA information to justify a lot of things, I am very afraid of what might be happening. The conspiracy theorists might actually have something...


Juli Thompson
St. Paul, MN

Nope, that's a real one, I'm afraid. What was impressive about it, from what I recall, was not that they could do it, but that it could be done convincingly from a very small sampling of mouth movements and voice samplings. And this was 1994, so I'd assume that the technology's come on a way from there.

I have no idea if the technology was actually any good or convincing or had or has ever been used -- we were just told it existed, that Disney had been given it or bought it from the CIA, and could we come up with a way they could use it to make money.

Having said that, without wishing to increase anyone's paranoia quotient, five minutes in a video editing suite will teach you not to trust anything you see on a TV screen, and the rise of Photoshop has demonstrated that seeing a photo doesn't make it true. And that by the same token doesn't mean that every photo is a lie and that nothing you see on a screen is the truth. You pays your money....