Wall at Philadelphia Holocaust memorial vandalized with swastika
A suspect was caught on video spray-painting a swastika at Philadelphia’s Horwitz-Wasserman Holocaust Memorial Plaza Sunday, FOX 29 Philadelphia reports.
A Cincinnati museum is using artificial intelligence in a creative new way, hoping the growing technology will help future generations to better understand the Holocaust.
The David Wolf Holocaust & Humanity Center is working toward the release of the “Dimensions in Testimony” exhibit, which will use holograms of actual Holocaust survivors who will be able to respond to questions and have a conversation with the help of AI, according to a report from WCPO.
“As this technology is further distributed, Americans can look forward to learning about history through the people that experienced it, not just reading pamphlets.”
One person who will be featured in the exhibit is Pinchas Gutter, who lives in Canada but spent time inside Nazi concentration camps as a child. Gutter sat down for several days to record interviews for the exhibit, which will bring him to life in hologram form while AI is used to help understand questions and retrieve Gutter’s prerecorded responses.
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The gates of the Nazi concentration camp at Auschwitz, Poland, circa 1965. The sign above the gates says Arbeit Macht Frei, Work Makes You Free. (Keystone/GettyImages)
Visitors to the future exhibit will be able to ask Gutter and holograms of other Holocaust survivors questions. The AI is in no danger of hallucinating responses as it will only be pulling responses from the prerecorded interviews, the museum said.
“Using AI to create avatars of living people is an incredible way to connect people with history. Essentially, the AI is replicating a historical impersonator, but what is particularly impressive is that the AI can create the avatars at scale and reach a much larger audience,” Christopher Alexander, the chief analytics officer of Pioneer Development Group, told Fox News Digital.
“It is important to note that AI is not going to enhance the graphics or the look of it, but it will be much better at directly responding to questions with greater depth.”
Ziven Havens, the policy director of the Bull Moose Project, shared a similar sentiment, telling Fox News Digital that using AI in this way can help museums that sometimes struggle to “convey the true gravity of an historical event.”
“By utilizing this technology, museums can create a more impactful and educational visit to patrons,” Havens said. “As this technology is further distributed, Americans can look forward to learning about history through the people that experienced it, not just reading pamphlets. Aside from the risk of AI hallucinations, we should be encouraged about this opportunity to improve historical education.”
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Another survivor who will take part in the exhibit is Al Miller, an Ohio resident who escaped Nazi Germany in 1937. Miller later returned to Germany with the U.S. Army to interrogate suspected war criminals, the WCPO report said, giving the exhibit another unique perspective from which to relate the history.
Like Gutter, Miller prepared his testimony over several days with his daughter, Barbara Miller, saying that being able to tell his story and educate future generations was an important opportunity.
Partial view of the Cincinnati skyline from the John A. Roebling Bridge, which spans the Ohio River between Cincinnati, Ohio, and Covington, Ky., in Cincinnati, Ohio. (Raymond Boyd/Getty Images)
“There’s almost nothing more important we can do than to share these stories,” Miller told WCPO. “Young people, in particular, many of whom know nothing about the Holocaust, need to be educated.”
But such a creative use of the new technology does not come without concern, with Federalist staff editor Samuel Mangold-Lenett telling Fox News Digital AI models will have to be on the lookout for the constant evolution of language.
“Developers and consumers of AI should think deeply about how to best reconcile this new potential with the expectations and sensitivities of the real world …”
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“One concern here is making sure that the language model is able to recognize and decipher rhetoric in an era where language skills are rapidly declining and match it with pre-recorded answers,” Mangold-Lenett said. “Granted, the people who seek out experiences like this, at a museum, are likely to have full command of the language, but should this be implemented in other aspects of life — like customer relations, health care or government services — this needs to be accounted for.”
Mutable CEO Chase Reid expressed concerns that the technology could actually turn out to be underwhelming.
Survivors of the Auschwitz concentration camp walk by the main gate bearing the slogan Arbeit Macht Frei at the former Auschwitz I site Jan. 27, 2020, in Oswiecim, Poland. (Omar Marques/Getty Images)
“Cognitive parity between humans and AI will enable us to reliably extend ourselves in ways previously thought unimaginable. But with the opportunity for delegation and augmentation comes the opportunity for it to underwhelm and underserve in ways that are costly or harmful,” Reid told Fox News Digital.
“Developers and consumers of AI should think deeply about how to best reconcile this new potential with the expectations and sensitivities of the real world and the implications that this might have for the commercial prospects of their software.”
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Nevertheless, the museum expressed optimism about the exhibit’s success. Kara Driscoll, director of marketing, told WCPO it may even be able to help younger generations who are more familiar with technology “feel more comfortable interacting with this technology than they might talking to someone across from them.
“This technology allows us to interact with their stories, their biographies, and keep their memories alive in an interactive way that is really meaningful to the visitors that experience it.”