By now, most of the internet is talking about one particular heartbroken moment seen on the Korean TV series Meeting You. In the scene, a mother is reunited with her deceased daughter, a moment brought to life with the help of virtual reality. It was sweet, incredibly saddening, and entirely realistic and it's because of that realism that some are saying this could be a slippery slope.
I can't stop thinking about how potentially unhealthy and mentally catastrophic this is.— John, PhD in Handsomeology 🔜 PAX East (@mistermegative) February 10, 2020
This Korean documentary which featured the story of a mom's reunion of her deceased daughter in VR is going viral, even in France. Like 90% of comment is very negative, whereas in Korea, it's like half, half. https://t.co/WfEs2KA4VX— Minjun Kim (@mjaything) February 9, 2020
YIKES. This isn't even remotely wholesome. I feel like this could end up being emotionally destructive. I would never want an AI to replicate a deceased loved one in a virtual environment.— Julian Andino (@andino1152) February 9, 2020
Probably not.— XL Chorizo Taco (@AaronZuraff) February 9, 2020
"Reunited" gives this moment such a bad aftertaste. Im pretty sure the intention of this project was to give the mother a chance to properly say goodbye to her daughter, which can help to give her some form of closure. Phrasing is important, especially in headlines..— Kai. (@Panteees) February 9, 2020
Where some were worried about the potential fallout, others saw it as an opportunity to see lost loved ones once more:
As someone who has lost more people than I'd care to admit, I can see the appeal of wanting to see them just "one more time." That being said, the concern is justified. Something like this, people aren't saying it shouldn't exist but it should be in a controlled environment: in the presence of a grieving counselor with a lot of prep and not easily accessible so that the person left behind does not inadvertently get trapped within this loop of not letting go.
The documentary Meeting You comes from the Munhwa Broadcasting Corporation and this is the theme of their entire show. In this episode, Jan Ji-Sung was able to be "reunited" with her seven-year-old daughter, Nayeon, who passed away back in 2016. For those interested in tech, this was also made possible with the HTC Vive and VR gloves.
As seen in the clip above, the mother was able to interact with an insanely replicated version of her daughter while the rest of her family watched from the sidelines. It was heartbreaking, absolutely devastating, but for those intrigued by this notion, it's important to know that it is a potentially slippery slope, one that could be detrimental to healing and healthy coping mechanisms when one is faced with immense loss.
Whether you are on the compassionate side of the reactionary scale or the concerned side, it's hard to argue just how impressive technology has come but we're also pretty sure there are thousands of shows and movies showing just how dangerous getting trapped in that tech loop can be.
As for the family, it's not much but we hope you have found the peace and love that you deserve. No one should ever have to bury their baby.