Hatsune Miku is a 21st Century Rockstar

Willow Smith, Will and Jada Smith’s precocious 9 year old daughter, just released her single "Whip My Hair," a smash hit that heralds a great career. Are 9-year old superstars a 21st century phenomenon? Not really. Mozart was 5 years old when he was performing in Vienna's royal court, and Michael Jackson was a child prodigy, performing with the Jackson 5 when he was just 6 years old. No, the rockstar who truly represents 21st century entertainment is Hatsune Miku.

Hatsune Miku plays to sold out concerts in Japan and her popularity is spreading across East Asia. With long blue hair, which she likes to wear in pigtails, Hatsune Miku's style matches the school girl aesthetic commonly seen on Tokyo’s streets. It’s hard to guess her age. She could be 13 or 15 or even 18 years old. One thing is certain, however: she will never age. That’s because Hatsune Miku is a 3D animated hologram whose voice is powered by a singing synthesizer application (for details, see this great article on Singularity Hub). But the 25,000 fans that fill stadiums to watch her don’t care that she isn’t flesh and blood. They love her!

This video of Hatsune Miku’s live concert in Japan is a must-see.

We've had some interesting reactions to the video. Some people thought it was completely "weird" while a few people, despite themselves, ended up enjoying Hatsune Miku's songs. Of the two of us, one found a concert with an animated rockstar completely normal while the other found it strange. Here's the bottom line: it doesn't matter what you think. People much younger than you - those babies playing with iPhones in their strollers who think real and virtual are the same thing - are going to be completely comfortable with the idea of cyber rockstars. Animated rockstars are legitimate heirs to Beyonce, Lady Gaga and Eminem. Today’s pop stars need to think about a strategy to counter the inevitable popularity of 3D competitors. So don't be embarrassed if you're dancing to Willow Smith's catchy tune. As far as 21st century entertainment goes, she's really quite a traditional music star.

Ayesha and Parag Khanna explore human-technology co-evolution and its implications for society, business and politics at The Hybrid Reality Institute.

How to vaccinate the world’s most vulnerable? Build global partnerships.

Pfizer's partnerships strengthen their ability to deliver vaccines in developing countries.

Susan Silbermann, Global President of Pfizer Vaccines, looks on as a health care worker administers a vaccine in Rwanda. Photo: Courtesy of Pfizer.
  • Community healthcare workers face many challenges in their work, including often traveling far distances to see their clients
  • Pfizer is helping to drive the UN's sustainable development goals through partnerships.
  • Pfizer partnered with AMP and the World Health Organization to develop a training program for healthcare workers.
Keep reading Show less

Why the White House Correspondents’ Association dinner won’t feature a comedian in 2019

It's the first time the association hasn't hired a comedian in 16 years.

(Photo by Anna Webber/Getty Images for Vulture Festival)
Culture & Religion
  • The 2018 WHCA ended in controversy after comedian Michelle Wolf made jokes some considered to be offensive.
  • The WHCA apologized for Wolf's jokes, though some journalists and many comedians backed the comedian and decried arguments in favor of limiting the types of speech permitted at the event.
  • Ron Chernow, who penned a bestselling biography of Alexander Hamilton, will speak at next year's dinner.
Keep reading Show less

Juice is terrible for children. Why do we keep giving it to them?

A glass of juice has as much sugar, ounce for ounce, as a full-calorie soda. And those vitamins do almost nothing.

Pixabay user Stocksnap

Quick: think back to childhood (if you've reached the scary clown you've gone too far). What did your parents or guardians give you to keep you quiet? If you're anything like most parents, it was juice. But here's the thing: juice is bad for you. 

Keep reading Show less

A new study says alcohol changes how the brain creates memories

A study on flies may hold the key to future addiction treatments.

Scott Barbour/Getty Images
Mind & Brain
  • A new study suggests that drinking alcohol can affect how memories are stored away as good or bad.
  • This may have drastic implications for how addiction is caused and how people recall intoxication.
  • The findings may one day lead to a new form of treatment for those suffering from addiction.
Keep reading Show less