The Computer Revolution/Entertainment/Manipulation of Digital Data

The digital age has benefited society in many ways. A decline in production and distribution costs for film and music companies are a couple of good examples. Faster more reliable transfer and storage of information is also noteworthy. However, not all agree changes ushered in by the digital age have been positive. As with the advent of most technology there are detractors.

The manipulation of digital sound, photo,video and television are under intense scrutiny because of the efficiency and seamlessness with which they can be manipulated digitally.

When country music star Anita Cochran recorded a duet with long since deceased county legend Conway Twitty, Newspaper columnist William Safire called it (and other similar recordings) "a series of artistic frauds". The recording was made with software called Pro tools which pulled snippets from Twitty's recording sessions put them on a hard drive and patched them together with Cochran's recording.

With photos a procedure called morphing is used to morph two (or more) images seamlessly to create a different and misleading image. A notable example of this is the recent presidential election in US, where John Kerry's opposition morphed images of Kerry and anti Vietnam actress Jane Fonda in order to discredit Kerry's commitment to the Iraq war. Morphing takes a quantum leap in the world of television and video where digital technology is so prevalent the final product is more the result of sophisticated technology rather than pure and raw talent of actors or actresses.

Detractors argue these artistic frauds are misleading and in the wrong hands can be used with malicious intent. Proponents say sound, photos and television quality is better than ever.