ABBA’s Bjorn Ulvaeus Issues Warning Over Future of Avatars
ABBA’s Bjorn Ulvaeus issued a warning about the avatars of people like the ones used in the band’s Voyage virtual concert show.
The four members of the group were scanned in great detail during seven-hour days to produce the younger versions of themselves seen onstage, accompanied by human performers and a complex lighting show.
“The reason I got so intrigued by this was the technology – that it actually can be done,” Ulvaeus said during the latest episode of his Bjorn From ABBA and Friends radio show on Apple Music Hits. “You can reproduce something that is a human being but on a screen. This semihuman being can sing songs, and speak and do all kinds of things.”
Asked by the episode’s guest, broadcaster Alastair Campbell, if the possibility of using the technology as a “force for bad” worried him, Ulvaeus replied, “Absolutely, it does. ... But it was going to happen anyway. … We are the first to do it, which is great, I think, to be the pioneers. But I’m sure in the future, we'll have to be very careful about what can be done with avatars.”
Meanwhile, Universal Music Group confirmed the long-expected news that the virtual show – which opened in a custom-built London venue last May and is scheduled to close in January 2024 – will be sent on tour. Variety reported that the corporation’s chairman, Lucian Grainge, announced the news at a recent earnings call to shareholders, noting, “Plans are now in development to take ABBA Voyage around the world.” He did not supply any details.