Future Technology Preserving the Past

September 19, 2017

What was it like in a Nazi concentration camp? How did you survive? How has it affected your life since?

Technology is allowing people to ask these questions and many more in virtual interviews with actual Holocaust survivors, preparing for a day when the estimated 100,000 Jews remaining from camps, ghettos or hiding under Nazi occupation are no longer alive to give the accounts themselves.

http://abcnews.go.com/Lifestyle/wireStory/exhibit-virtual-interviews-holocaust-survivors-49926745

How many times, no matter how good an institution’s on-site interpretation, has there been that one niggling question that you wish you could have asked those involved in the history represented? Thanks to a new initiative, the Museum of Jewish Heritage aims to let you do just that, directly. 

Having filmed Holocaust survivors giving testimonials about their experiences during the Second World War, visitors can then ask questions into a microphone, and an algorithm takes the key terms of that question and calculates if there is an appropriate recorded answer to respond with.

This is the first time I’ve come across something like this, and the potential for it to be a powerful way of sharing history is certainly there. Once the reproduction technology is strong enough to create more realistic holographic images, this is a unique opportunity for individuals to feel like they are directly investing and participating in a historical narrative with someone who was there. A narrative which otherwise, before long, there won’t be anyone left alive to tell. 

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