Documentary enters a new realm of reality

At Sheffield Doc/Fest Dr Stephen Smith of USC Shoah Foundation will showcase New Dimensions in Testimony, ground-breaking natural language processing software that allows audiences to have a virtual encounter with the recorded image of Holocaust survivor, Pinchas Gutter, who responds in real time, powered by complex algorithms providing realistic conversation.
At Sheffield Doc/Fest Dr Stephen Smith of USC Shoah Foundation will showcase New Dimensions in Testimony, ground-breaking natural language processing software that allows audiences to have a virtual encounter with the recorded image of Holocaust survivor, Pinchas Gutter, who responds in real time, powered by complex algorithms providing realistic conversation.

Artificial Intelligence and virtual reality are opening up a brave new world of media and Sheffield Doc/Fest aims to stay at the cutting edge.

Curated by Mark Atkin their Alternate Realities programme will allow audiences to experience how virtual reality, games and artificial intelligence are changing how stories are told.

On Sunday an Alternate Realities Summit introduces the world’s most social android Bina48, programmed on the memories, hopes and aspirations (emotions, even?) of a real woman called Bina.

New Dimensions in Technology from USC Shoah Foundation allows audiences to have a “virtual encounter” with the recorded image of a Holocaust survivor powered by complex algorithms providing realistic conversation.

Open to the public and delegates for the whole festival starting on Friday are the Interactive Exhibition at the Millennium Gallery and the Virtual Reality Arcade at Site Gallery. “Games are driving us forward,” says Atkin citing #Hacked which puts the viewer in Syria as a reporter investigating Isis. “The thing about VR is you get a strong sense of place rather than seeing something on a flat screen. There are two that allow you to be an astronaut and who hasn’t wanted that? You can visit the surface of Mars or walk on an international space station.”