Sun. Jun 23rd, 2024

The New Orleans WWII Museum took four years to build. No pre-recorded answers are utilized in these programs.

By knl9j Mar27,2024
News

The “Voices from the Front” exhibition has been on display at the World War II Museum in New Orleans since Wednesday, March 20.

The show features technology that is similar to that which can be experienced at other museums. Interacting with veterans and witnesses of the war that took place between 1936 and 1945 is now feasible because to artificial intelligence.

When the visitor sits down in front of a screen, they select the individual with whom they would like to have a conversation. The individual then appears on the screen in full size, seated in a comfortable position in front of a dark background. While the visitor poses the questions they wish to be asked, the person on the screen responds after a little wait. Meanwhile, the artificial intelligence does an analysis of the query and produces the answer that is the most appropriate conceivable, based on the information it has stored in its database.

It took four years of labor to complete the job. It was necessary to ask and record a total of up to one thousand questions from a group of eighteen people who had survived World War II. Veterans, as well as Americans who were present during the conflict from the United States side of the conflict. The exposure will, in some manner, improve over time since, as is always the case with artificial intelligence, the accumulation of content is what helps it progress. This implies that over time, the responses will be better suited to the questions that are asked.

In a war for which there are fewer and fewer witnesses, this is an effective method for bringing the memories of the war back to life. Veterans who have volunteered their time to inform tourists about their experiences during World War II have been allowed to enter the museum ever since it first opened its doors. However, it is clear that these veterans are becoming older. It is sad that this generation has been impacted particularly hard by the Covid virus, the museum explains to the Associated Press agency.

It is not a new concept for museums, whether they are American or not, to conduct interactive interviews; nonetheless, these interviews often consist of recorded responses to a predetermined question. At that location, the visitor constructs the query in his own unique manner, and the artificial intelligence is able to comprehend it successfully.

We locate, for instance, Olin Pickens, who is currently 102 years old and was a prisoner of war after being captured in Tunisia in 1943. This is without creating an inventory of all 18 people who participated in the project in the style of Prévert in the first place. Or even Theodore Britton, who was one of the first black people to join the Marine Corps and was later made ambassador following the war. Iwo Jima, Japan was the location of Hershel Williams’s battle, and he recorded his comments while he was wearing his Medal of Honor, which is the highest decoration that can be given to an American serviceman.

Following the recording of his responses, he passed away in June of 2022. Grace Brown, who manufactured spare parts for the Boeing B-17 bomber, and Margaret Kerry, who danced in events organized by the army to entertain the troops before serving as a model for Tinkerbell in Walt Disney’s Peter Pan, are two examples of people whose stories we can listen to. While it is not only about the soldiers who served on the front lines, we can also hear the stories of Grace Brown and Margaret Kerry.

While sitting in his wheelchair in New Orleans, Olin Pickens confronted a life-sized version of himself that was displayed on a screen. He posed questions to the image regarding his experience of being held prisoner by German soldiers during World War II. After a brief break, his video-recorded doppelganger recalled that his captors had provided him with “sauerkraut soup” prior to a long march towards their destination.

“That was a Tuesday morning, February the 16th,” the likeness of Pickens that appeared on screen then responded. “And thus it was that we began our march. At the end of the four-hour hike, we would take ten minutes to rest.

The National World War II Museum recently debuted an interactive exhibit that features 18 veterans of the war and the support effort for it. Pickens is one of the men represented in the exhibit. By utilizing artificial intelligence, the display provides visitors with the opportunity to engage in virtual chats with photographs of soldiers.

Pickens, who was from Nesbit, Mississippi, was taken captive in Tunisia in 1943, when German forces were attempting to overpower American soldiers who were members of the 805th Tank Destroyer Battalion. After spending the remainder of the war in a detention camp, he made it back to his native country alive.

“I’m making history, to see myself telling the story of what happened to me over there,” said Pickens, who celebrated his 102nd birthday in December. Pickens was observing his 102nd birthday. “I’m so proud that I’m here, that people can see me.”

A military nurse who served in the Philippines, an aircraft factory worker, and Margaret Kerry, a dancer who performed at USO shows and, after the war, was a model for the Tinker Bell character in Disney productions are some of the people who are available to answer questions during the Voices From the Front exhibit at the New Orleans museum. The exhibit also gives visitors the opportunity to ask questions of war-era home front heroes and supporters of the United States war effort.

The project, which has been in the works for four years, includes video recordings of interviews with eighteen veterans who served in the military or participated in the support effort. Each of these veterans consented to answering as many as one thousand questions regarding the war and their personal life. At Iwo Jima, Japan, Marine Corps veteran Hershel Woodrow ‘Woody’ Wilson, who was awarded the Medal of Honor for his service, was one of the individuals who took part in the contest. Following the recording of his responses, he passed away in June of 2022.

Standing in front of a console, visitors to the new exhibit will be able to select the person with whom they would like to have a conversation. After that, a screen in front of them will display a life-sized image of that individual when they are seated in a chair that is comfortable for them.

“Any of us can ask a question,” said Peter Crean, a retired Army colonel who is currently serving as the vice president of education at the museum. It will be able to identify the essential components of that inquiry. After that, it will use artificial intelligence to match the components of that question to the answer that is the most appropriate out of those thousand options.

A number of similarities may be observed between the exhibit and interactive interviews with Holocaust survivors that were made by the Shoah Foundation at the University of Southern California, which was established by the film director Stephen Spielberg. Additionally, this initiative makes use of life-sized projections of actual people who appear to answer to inquiries in real time. For a number of years, they have been shown in Holocaust museums located all around the United States.

At the National D-Day Museum in New Orleans, which first opened its doors in the year 2000, the presence of elderly veterans has been a significant factor in the personalization of the experience of visiting the museum. In many cases, veterans offered their time at the museum, where they manned a table near the entrance where visitors could engage in conversation with them about the battle.

However, this practice has become less common as veterans continue to age and pass away. According to Crean, the post-World War II generation was most affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Theodore Britton Jr., who was one of the first Black recruits to join the United States Marine Corps during the war, expressed his excitement at the opportunity to assist the museum in “carrying out by means of mechanical devices what we are not going to be able to carry out in the future.”

The soldier, who is now 98 years old and was later nominated by President Gerald Ford to the position of United States Ambassador to Barbados and Grenada, was given the opportunity to question his virtual self on Wednesday. He does so while sitting onscreen while wearing the Congressional Gold Medal that Britton was received in 2012.

“There are fewer and fewer World War II veterans, and a lot of people who will never see one,” Britton explained to reporters. “But they can come here and see and talk with them.”

The technology is not without its flaws. As an illustration, when Crean inquired of the picture of veteran Bob Wolf whether he had a dog when he was a child, Wolf responded with a lengthy explanation about his boyhood, including his favorite radio shows and breakfast cereal, before mentioning that he had pet turtles.

However, Crean stated that the AI process is capable of learning as more questions are posed to it and rephrased that it is asked. According to him, there will be a reduction in the amount of time that passes after the question is posed, and the responses that are recorded will be more responsive to the questions itself.

As part of the opening of the new Malcolm S. Forbes Rare and Iconic Artifacts Gallery at the museum, which was named after an infantry machine gunner who served on the front lines in Europe, the Voices From the Front interactive station was presented to the public on Wednesday. He was the son of Bertie Charles Forbes, the founder of Forbes magazine, and his name was Malcom S. Forbes. Exhibits include his Purple Heart, Bronze Star, and a jacket that was covered with blood that was worn by him when he was injured.

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