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German Tech Sector Companies Unveil Virtual U.S. Presidential Candidate

Aired July 4, 2000 - 2:47 p.m. ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

KYRA PHILLIPS, CNN ANCHOR: OK, we've heard of Gore, we've heard of Bush, we've heard of Buchanan, Nader.

LOU WATERS, CNN ANCHOR: Earlier, Harry Browne.

PHILLIPS: There you go, Libertarian.

WATERS: And now there's Jackie Strike.

CNN's Chris Burns reports from Germany on a virtual candidate for president.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JACKIE STRIKE, VIRTUAL U.S. PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I, Jackie Strike, am an independent candidate for the presidency of the United States of America.

CHRIS BURNS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yet another contender in an already crowded horse race.

STRIKE: I'm in it to win.

BURNS: Now if she can just figure out that teleprompter...

STRIKE: ... just over four months remaining before the government -- before the November election.

BURNS (on camera): If Jackie's got a bit of work to do on her delivery, her creators got their point across crystal clear. A group of German tech sector companies are seeking U.S. business and investments by launching their own presidential candidate and wrapping themselves in the American flag on July 4.

(voice-over): Their computer-generated candidate, her real likeness kept secret, is a way to show off some complicated technology.

CHRIS GOOLD, SPOKESMAN, BOETTCHER HINRICHS: It tracks the movements of a person and transmits them through a computer information to a virtual person; in this case, Jackie Strike.

BURNS: Beyond entertainment or politics, it can be applied in e- commerce by making it easier to shop online.

OLAF SCHIRM, CEO, NO DNA: By getting in contact with this virtual person, you can start selling over this figure, this virtual figure.

BURNS: And they're developing other uses for virtual people: for market research, even for psychological counseling for children. The technology's been around for a while, with characters like the wacky talkshow host Max Headroom and the adventure robo-heroine Lara Croft, and now as a presidential candidate with a Web site and software soon to go online, allowing interactivity with, yes, Jackie herself.

So where does she stand on the issues, like national missile defense, for instance?

STRIKE: Star wars was a good movie, but not a great plot in reality.

BURNS: And what about the line in her bio saying she reached the non-existent rank of Eagle Scout when she was a Girl Scout?

(on camera): Could you explain that part of your record that apparently is not exactly right?

STRIKE: Oh, excuse me, that was a typo.

BURNS (voice-over): She's learning fast.

Chris Burns, CNN, Huerth, Germany.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

WATERS: Good luck with that.

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