Victim or Executioner? Let the Computer DecideBreaking News
tags: Holocaust, technology, Museum
MOSCOW — It probably seemed like a good idea at the time.
After you arrived and bought tickets at the newly renovated Babyn Yar Holocaust Memorial Center in Kyiv, Ukraine, you would fill out a questionnaire and take a psychological test while a computer harvested social media data.
A computer algorithm would then digest the information and assign you to one of multiple categories, including executioners, collaborators or victims, and tailor your experience accordingly, a presentation on the proposed museum said.
The brainchild of a Moscow filmmaker known for his embrace of immersive theater and role-playing, Ilya A. Khrzhanovsky, the plan was designed to avoid a “one size fits all museum visit,” as the presentation suggested brightly.
Whether or not it would accomplish that, it has already ignited a firestorm of criticism over the planned overhaul of the center, due to open in 2025 at a site where the Nazis shot tens of thousands of Jews, Roma, Ukrainian and Russian prisoners of war, patients from psychiatric hospitals and others.
The site, an eerie, forested ravine on the outskirts of Kyiv, was left largely untouched by the Soviets as an outdoor memorial. In the postwar years, the city grew around it, leaving amid the apartment blocks and busy streets an island of trees with a terrible history.
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