Pentagon plans virtual parents

When Sgt. Dad or Lt. Mom can’t call home via phone or the Internet, their children will be able to  communicate with a virtual parent — if a new Pentagon project works as planned.

It’s a bit Orwellian, notes  Medgadget. Just a tad.

From the DOD project overview:

We are looking for innovative applications that explore and harness the power of advanced interactive multimedia computer technologies to produce compelling interactive dialogue between a Service member and their families via a pc- or web-based application using video footage or high-resolution 3-D rendering. The child should be able to have a simulated conversation with a parent about generic, everyday topics. For instance, a child may get a response from saying “I love you”, or “I miss you”, or “Good night mommy/daddy.”

The proposal asks for “convincing voice-recognition, artificial intelligence, and the ability to easily and inexpensively develop a customized application tailored to a specific parent.”

If the father or mother dies, will Virtual Parent 2.0 be able to step in? This is just too spooky for me.

Wired has more.

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  1. On the pedantic side, I’d say more Brave New World than Orwellian.

    I can’t imagine me as a small child accepting another person, let alone a high-resolution 3-d rendering as a substitute for my father.

  2. In a word…Eewww.

  3. What Tracy said – there’s nothing of Orwell’s works in that.

    It’s weird, probably creepy, almost certainly not going to be useful, but not Orwellian.

  4. Powerhungrydemocratswine says:

    ….. I’m not so sure this is such a bad idea.

    A third dimensional interactive daddy or mommy
    for a kid who has nobody, or whose parents are not in the kid’s world, would be better than nothing. Especially if the holograph parent gives out solid advice for the kid.

    Of course if something can be misused it WILL be misused.

    And, its a short step from parenting to political indoctrination with Daddy and Mommy instructing the kids on the value of being good Democrats or Republicans, or indoctrinating them on why they should serve whomever is in power in uniform.

    Give me a child at 3 … and I will make him a Communist by 13, (even by use of a third dimension hologram), …. Nikolai Lenin.