Virtual Reality is opening up realms of new possibilities, including the ‘recreation’ of the dead, as witnessed in a documentary showing a South Korean woman interacting with her deceased daughter in a virtual world.
The South Korean-based Munhwa Broadcasting Corporation recently gave us a glimpse into what is possible with a program called “I Met You” featuring Jang Ji-sung and her late daughter, Nayeon.
Nayeon passed away in 2016 from an incurable disease.
In the documentary, Jang wears a virtual headset and haptic gloves and it transported into a world where she ‘meets’ her daughter in a virtual park.
The park is based upon one where the mother and daughter had previously spent time together.
A child actor was used as a model to simulate movement for the virtual Nayeon, while technology was used to recreate the dead girl’s voice. It took eight months to complete work on the project.
In the virtual reality world, the two of them hold hands, chat and enjoy a birthday party together, including a cake with candles.
The emotions run high as Jang sobs as she ‘touches and talks’ to Nayeon.
The rest of the family (Nayeon’s father, brother, and sister), are watching on in the studio and generally appear downcast, although there is the occasional smile.
Jang however claimed to be uplifted by the experience:
“I met Nayeon, who called me with a smile, for a very short time, but it’s a very happy time. I think I’ve had the dream I’ve always wanted,” she was quoted saying by Aju Business Daily.
There is however the question of morality and ethics, and whether Virtual Reality would help or hinder the grieving process.
This would likely depend on the individual character of those using the technology to ‘visit’ deceased loved ones. There could also be the issue of people becoming addicted to a virtual world.
Regulations on the use of such technology could become crucial in a world where the line between humans and computers is becoming an evermore blurred one.