Love him or hate him, you have to admit that Kanye West is a busy guy. Like many celebrities, he has enormous demands on his time and he can’t be in more than one place at a time.
Or can he?
Last month, Blum & Poe (a Los Angeles art gallery), had a two night exhibit of the controversial sculpture from his “Famous” video (NSFW). Mrs. West was there in person to support her husband and bring that Kardashian charm to the event. Unfortunately, the man himself was on tour with concerts on the opposite coast. What’s a Yeezy to do? It would be heartless to skip a concert and disappoint all his fans, but this event was important to him as well. Remember, this sculpture wasn’t just something used in one of his videos, it was his very own creation. How could he miss sharing his art with the world?
Kanye isn’t the type to let a few thousand miles knock him down. You can’t tell him that the laws of time and space prevent him from being in two places at once. If the Louis Vuitton Don wants to be at the event, he will find a way. While he could have simply used FaceTime and appeared via Kim’s iPhone, he wanted a stronger presence at the art exhibit.
Fortunately, telepresence robotics had the answer to Kanye’s problem. Using what appears to be a BeamPro device from Suitable Technologies, Kanye was able to attend his big art gala without crossing the country or disappointing any fans. While he wasn’t able to shake hands with his fans at the event, he was able to supervise the setup and management of the event to his notoriously meticulous standards.
Kanye and the Kardashians may not be in the limelight forever, but telepresence robotics has many potential applications for other celebrities as well as the rest of us. High profile uses of telepresence, like Kanye’s art exhibit, do a great service by highlighting the power of remote presence technology. However, these uses are just the tip of the iceberg. Celebrities aren’t the only ones with geography limitations. For example, the demand for doctors (and specialists in particular), far exceeds their geographical reach. The ability for doctors to treat patients remotely greatly increases access to crucial medical care. This is why telemedicine is so compelling to the healthcare community.
I expect to see more examples of celebrity robot appearances. Celebrities are constantly compelled to make appearances at distant locations, and often have to make hard choices about where they should be at any given moment. Robotic telepresence allows them to live the good life by enjoying the spotlight in multiple locations without traveling. The real excitement will come as the technology becomes more and more accepted and available, making it less of a toy for the rich and more of an everyday tool for everyday people. While we may never have swagga like Kanye, someday we will all be able to beam ourselves across the country via telepresence robotics.