Ironically Mending the Physical Using Digital Tech

We’ve discussed human death, death of digital media, and the death of physical artifacts. What’s interesting is exploring the intersection of using the digital to mend the destruction and death of physical things.

April 16, 2019, one of the world’s great ancient landmarks, the Notre Dame Cathedral, suffered “colossal damages” following a fire that spread through the roof. Ironically, the tragic accident may in fact have technological advancement to blame.

Having survived many wars, natural disasters, etc, it’s rather ironic that it meets its demise following the installation of electronic technology. In fact, it was reported by the cathedral’s rector that a “computer glitch” may be to blame. From reports, it sounds as though the elevator system in the Cathedral may have suffered a short-circuit, sparking the fire. 

It’s not the end of the landmark, though. Thankfully.

Ubisoft, makers of the historical video game “Assassin’s Creed”, have announced they’ve pledged over $500,000 to contribute to the rebuilding of the monument.

That’s not all – during the 14 month creation of Assassin’s Creed unity, they digitally reconstructed the Notre Dame to scale. As a result, many people who own the video game have gotten to digitally relive the experience of visiting the location in a virtual space.

The similarity is incredible! Even for a 4+ year old game. In an interesting change of events, the use of computers might just help rebuild that which was destroyed by a computer. It’s possible that the cathedrals future construction might be guided by the 3d scans of the video game.

It’s quite encouraging to hear of such a positive use of digital technology. Will the cathedral ever be the same, though? And what would you make of having only the digital version to relive exactly how it was? In another one of my attempts of being hopeful for future technology, I think that eventually, using technology like VR, we may be able to experience digitally what is otherwise lost or damaged in our physical world.