Image courtesy MBC.      Writer  Wen Hsieh  20.07.2020

South Korean documentary , called ” I Met You ” , presents how VR technology reunites sad mother (Ji-seong Jang) with her deceased daughter (Nayeon ).

 

According to South Korean TV broadcaster, imbc.com, this project aims to create a “good memory.” The production team collaborated with Vive Studios who has the best VR (virtual reality) and VFX (special video) technologies in Korea. In order to make Nayeon closer to its actual appearance in VR, it was necessary to collect her various facial expressions, sounds, voice and unique gestures stored in the family interviews, as well as photos and videos in mobile phones. On the basis of this process, the CG work is continued for a long time by using the motion capture technology to capture the moment of motion.
Although the studio hasn’t developed AI talking with human through flow conversation yet, the team tried to have a short dialogue and interaction in the process of experience.

The concept impacted the thoughts of thousands, including me. I was wondering the tech would redeem the regret of not having time to speak out or it could cause long-term mental torture? In BBC news, the mother ( Ji-seong Jang)said the VR helped her. She dreamed of her daughter. The dream of Nayeon looked sad, but in the virtual reunion, she was smiling. Also, “It’s very helpful for people who suddenly lose their deceased to have a formal farewell after suffering great pain,” said Gao shankui of the Institute of mental health at Koryo University. If the both support the tech, why not just have a go. However, I believe everything needs having a good balance, which means the VR tech needs to be combined with psychological counseling, in order to avoid side effects, such as causing the parties to fall into deeper loss.

Yet, the other concern for me is about data privacy rights. Because the experiment was about a mother and a 7 years old girl, it makes sense to collect all data of the young child. However, if the situation would be an adult female to do the same with a man and vice versa, the result might go differently. There might have several situations, first of all, not everyone would like to have a second self existence in the world. Secondly, perhaps only one of the two is willing to share his/ her entire data and join the scheme. Finally, data privacy rights only protect living people, so no one could promise the data would be used in the right way in-line with the wish of the deceased, as well as the reality might be twisted to one side’s desired vision. Thus, considering all these assumptions, I highly doubt the impact of the mental therapy.

When a loved one passes away, grieving people would always find various sustenance in physical objects. What would you think about if you could see your deceased loved one again in virtual reality ? I think if VR tech can achieve the regret that it failed in his/her lifetime, why not have a go. However, in my opinion that it would be nicer and show more respect to collect all the data with people before they pass away. Also, the recalling memory process with your loved ones would be the other kind of therapy, wouldn’t it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bibliography

– 당신의 마음속 가장 따뜻한 기억은 무엇인가요? 하늘나라에 있는 가족을 다시 만날 수 있다면 무슨 이야기를 할까요? 제작진은 이런 질문은 가지고 휴먼 다큐멘터리와 VR(가상현실)을 접목해 보는 프로젝트를 시작했다. 가장 최전선의 기술인 가상현실, 인공지능, 실감콘텐츠가 게임처럼 재미를 주는 데…..
Available : http://www.imbc.com/broad/tv/culture/mbcspecial/vod/index.html

– MBC life. 06.02 2020. Mother meets her deceased daughter through VR technology.
Available : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uflTK8c4w0c

– RoadTovr. 07.02.2020. Mother Meets Recreation of Her Deceased Child in VR.
Available : https://www.roadtovr.com/mother-meets-recreation-of-deceased-child-in-vr/

– VR Scout. 08.02.2020. VR Technology Reunites Grieving Mother With Her Deceased Child.
Available : https://vrscout.com/news/mother-reunites-with-deceased-child-vr/

– BBC. 18.02.2020. 借助VR和已故亲人“虚拟重逢”是好是坏?
Available : https://www.bbc.com/ukchina/simp/51547259

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