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Parkland parents use artificial intelligence video of their dead son to push gun control
Image Source: YouTube screenshot

Parkland parents use artificial intelligence video of their dead son to push gun control

'We are letting Joaquin grow into his ideas'

The parents of a student killed during the Feb. 14, 2018, mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, recently used an artificial intelligence video of their dead son to promote gun control.

In the aftermath of their 17-year-old son, Joaquin "Guac" Oliver's death, Manuel and Patricia Oliver founded the nonprofit organization Change The Ref to help empower young people to advance reform on a number of issues, but most notably gun violence, the Associated Press reported.

As a part of an initiative to get-out-the-vote among young people, the Olivers worked with a team of artists to create a video of their son urging viewers to vote for politicians who support gun control.

The upcoming election would have been the first one in which Joaquin could have cast his vote.

"I've been gone for two years and nothing's changed, bro. People are still getting killed by guns ... what is that?" he passionately exclaims in the video. "I'm tired of waiting for someone to fix it.

"I'll never get to choose the kind of world I wanted to live in, so you've got to replace my vote," he continues. "Vote for politicians who care more about people's lives than the gun lobby's money. Vote for people not getting shot, bro."


The Olivers reportedly helped craft every detail of the video, from their son's wardrobe to his mannerisms to the very words he spoke.

"It's something where you just put the dots together if you see his posts, the way he thinks, he was still thinking, the way he was expressing his frustration about situations," Patricia Oliver told the AP in a phone interview.

"We are letting Joaquin grow into his ideas ... and how he will be reacting to things that are happening today. We know our son so well and we knew exactly what he wanted from life," Manuel Oliver added.

The report suggested that Joaquin had been politically active from a young age. When he was 12, he reportedly penned a letter to gunmakers asking why they didn't support universal background checks.

His mother said the lifelike video was extremely difficult for her to watch.

"I couldn't even breathe well," she said. "Of course we know that is not Joaquin, but they did such an amazing job with the technology that you can't say, 'Oh my God, how I wish that could be the real Joaquin there talking to everybody.'"

His father, who has been keeping his son's gun control message alive using his artistic abilities, said of the video: "I wouldn't describe this as painful but as powerful."

On his son's birthday, Manuel Oliver painted a mural outside of the National Rifle Association's headquarters in Virginia. He painted another mural near the headquarters of major gunmaker, Smith & Wesson, in Massachusetts.

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