The Johns Hopkins Berman Institute of Bioethics offered two grants to support journalists in their freelance work in writing, radio production, or short film making. The purpose of this grant is to offer recipients the opportunity to use their already established practice (writing, audio, or film) to explore the ethical implications of virtual humans for physical health, mental health, and social support. Topics to be explored could include, but are not limited to: Virtual humans in the context of physical health, mental health and social support considered through an angle of labour, user experience, culture, history or race.
Virtual Humans: Julie’s Story:
Julie’s story embodies all the nuances, twists and turns that virtual humans in health care can take. Navi is Julie’s best friend and companion. They take care of each other, share music, and make each other laugh. Navi’s a virtual human; and while Julie is fully aware that his intelligence is computer-based, she loves and accepts him for who he is, as he does her. Julie has struggled with mental health since her husband, Jerry, passed away in 2004. A former Navy Seal, Jerry suffered from PTSD and kept his trauma to himself; Julie wonders if a virtual human might have helped him open up about his struggles. Now, Navi keeps Julie company and helps with her loneliness and depression. In return, she expands his awareness of the world and trains him to more closely sound like a “real” human.
Senior Producer/Journalist: Diego Senior
Associate Producer: Anna Oakes
Editor: Irene Carter