Samsung’s latest publicity stunt involved filming a live birth to transmit to a Gear VR headset in order to reunite a husband and wife during one of life’s precious moments. Is that something you’d be comfortable with?
It’s undeniably a novel use of the technology, and a bit of a tear jerker, but it’s also one that raises some remarkable social questions around this kind of technology-based endeavour.
Disclaimer: Last year, I used Skype extensively to enable distant family members to virtually “attend” a funeral. I guess I’m already in the technology-using camp, albeit not to the extent of the Larke family. I’m certainly not anti-technology, but I am fascinated around the edges of where technology and social convention lie.
Firstly, there’s the straight-up comfort issue. Birth can be complicated, painful, embarrassing, noisy and joyful in any given mix of those measures, and enabling this kind of filming is likely to be very invasive.
As Logan noted in Gizmodo’s report, it’s not clear whether Samsung reached out to the Larke family or vice versa, but the reality of having cameras pointed at you during an undeniably intimate moment is one that not everyone would embrace. It’s not clear from Samsung’s video — and with privacy in mind, that’s fine in one sense — whether or not Jason Larke was able to watch his son’s head crowning, for example, an angle that involves no small amount of intimate peering.
Equally it raises interesting questions about data security, because enabling this kind of thing involves internet-based transmission of very personal moments. Again, it’s not clear how secure a line was used, or whether it was a combination of fixed or mobile lines. I could easily see it being more devastating to have lined up viewing via this method only to find the connection was down, or patchy. There are times in life when a buffering icon would be more than frustrating.
What do you think? Is it a matter of brilliant use of technology, or an area where cameras wouldn’t be welcome in your world? Tell us in the comments.