One of the various things the digital age has changed forever is how parents show off their kids. Before, the most harm a baby picture could do was embarrass you in front of a date you brought home to meet your parents. But according to the WNYC podcast Note to Self, “the Pew Research Center found that 92 percent of children in the U.S. have a digital presence by the time they turn two.”
With the simultaneous immediacy and longevity of a social media footprint, the impulse to show off your cute kid could now have unforeseen consequences. As The Guardian‘s Linda Geddes asks, “is it safe, or even ethical to publish something about someone who can’t give their consent? And as the business models of social networking sites change and digital technology develops, could these innocent snapshots someday come back and bite our children on the behind?”
Ultimately, the answer to this hotly debated question is: nobody knows. Uploading your child to the internet could (and very likely is) contributing to the data-sourcing business of social media. But, then again, so is everything else you upload. And people can speculate wildly about the potential consequences an early social media presence could have on your child’s eventual college or job opportunities, but the fact of the matter is that no one can predict the constantly changing tides of the interwebs.
Will the internet ruin your precious, unspoiled newly born’s life? If yes, there’s probably not much you can do about it unless we collectively attack the bigger ethical problems facing the current digital landscape. So if your newly born is already destined to wind up on the seedy channels of the online ecosystem, you might as well do it in style like creative coder Lars Berg.
— Lars Berg (@laserberg) November 22, 2015
Following the birth of his son Miles, Berg decided to celebrate by doing what he knows best: recreating that joy on a webpage so the world could partake in it. The model captures the exuberance of a new father: the glittering particles that surround the peaceful child encapsulating all the hopes and dreams a parent imagines at the beginning of a new life.
Of course, no matter how adorable the story and intent behind “Hello Miles” is, the 3D model isn’t immune to the pitfalls of the uncanny valley. Like, if you flip the camera to look under 3D Miles, you get an inverted view of his peaceful slumber through the hollowness of his immaterial body.
But, all in all, Berg’s digital monument might just prove to be the new trend for parents who want to remember every detail of their offspring’s first hours on earth. Who knows, maybe 3D printed models of newborns will eventually replace home-made birth videos as the go-to borderline creepy method of archiving such a special day.
See the project for yourself here.