The LongPen seems to be a great device at first glance, but what about the social aspect of book signing? Imagine this, “Margaret Atwood, famous author, here to sign your book, but oh, she’s not actually here”. Do people actually go to book signings to get the autograph? Or is the primary purpose to meet the author? Also, this blurs the line of “authentication” of an autograph, is an autograph diminished if it was not done in person? Not that anyone can really tell the difference aside from having the latent fingerprints of the author on the book!

I can imagine the future now: Margaret Atwood signs, say 10,000 personalized messages in her books as a nice sample. Since the signatures are digitized, they can be captured. And since she has to be connected by audio to hear what the fan wants as a message (or at least the person’s name), that audio can be captured as well (the speech is converted to text automatically, and captured).

Somehow this data can be analyzed, and an “author profile” for the LongPen can be derived, which will generate her personalized “signature font”. In the future, if she is deceased or is unable to write with her hands anymore, the computer can take over and sign for her. She would be able to sign her books in perpetuity, with she herself being replaced by a digital actor that looks and talks like her. In a high definition world, no one will ever know.