The Nancy & David Wolf Holocaust & Humanity Center (HHC) has announced the opening of a new, permanent exhibit that utilizes artificial-intelligence technology to facilitate “virtual conversations” with Holocaust survivors. 

Using specialized recording and display technologies and next-generation natural language processing, Dimensions in Testimony allows visitors to ask two-dimensional displays of Holocaust survivors questions and receive responses in real time. 

Dimensions in Testimony is on exhibit in only seven other museums in the world. Opening to the public on Friday, Feb. 5, the exhibit experience – sponsored by the Harold C. Schott Foundation – is included as part of general admission to the HHC’s museum at Union Terminal. 

“Sadly, we will soon reach a time where we can longer ask survivors about their firsthand accounts of the Holocaust,” said Sarah L. Weiss, chief executive officer of the HHC. “The new exhibit ensures that future generations will still be able to have conversations with and learn from survivors.” 

The museum will celebrate the opening with a virtual ribbon-cutting ceremony on Thursday, Feb. 4, at 4 p.m. The public can register for the event on the HHC website. 

With a two-dimensional display of pre-recorded interviews of Holocaust survivors, the Dimensions in Testimony system transforms questions into search terms. The system then matches the search terms to the most appropriate interviewee response to that question and plays back the associated video clip, resulting in a conversation-like experience.

Dimensions in Testimony is an initiative by USC Shoah Foundation to record and display testimony in a way that will preserve the dialogue between Holocaust survivors and learners far into the future. Collaborating within the project are Illinois Holocaust Museum and Education Center, with technology by USC Institute for Creative Technologies, and concept by Conscience Display. 

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