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"A Woman Left with Only Memories" by Kim Shin-woo


ⓒ Getty Images Bank

It has become banal to call people who have lots of material things wealthy. Real estate moguls, building owners, and people with ample savings of the past were no longer interesting. Those who had more of intangible things are now considered to be truly wealthy. Possessing stocks and virtual currencies as well as cryptocurrencies of various types put you among the rich. Included in the category of intangible riches was “knowledge.” Now it has come to the point where “memories,” a lesser concept of knowledge, were being bought and sold. Memories have become the last bastion of capital and mankind.

눈에 보이는 것을 많이 가졌다 해서 부자라고 하는 것은 식상한 사회가 되어버렸다.

과거의 부동산 재벌, 건물주, 예금 자산가 등은 크게 주목받지 못했다.

손으로 만질 수 없는 것을 많이 가진 사람들일수록 진정한 부자로 평가받았다,

주식과 가상화폐는 물론이고

암호화폐의 종류도 다양한 코인을 보유할수록 부유층에 속했다,

그러한 배경에 “지식”을 포함시켰고

그것의 하위 개념인 ‘기억“을 사고팔자는 상황까지 왔다

기억은 자본의 마지막 보루이자 인간의 마지막 보루가 되어버렸다.

Cho-ah offers to buy Yi-gyeong’s memory of her first love for her son’s school admission. She wants a memory transplant, a hotly debated topic in the National Assembly and the media.

Interview by SNU Korean literature professor Bang Min-ho

Only the privileged few can go on enjoying their advantageous places in society and go to good schools. One paradox described in this story, however, is that educational institutions still want to select good students, which means people with not only good external qualifications but also with sincere character and deep emotions in the form of memories. This last criterium for judging a human being is paradoxical in this society where extrinsic features determine a person’s social status.

“Doesn’t everyone have memories?”

“I have no such thing, but I really need it now.”

“I need it for Grayson’s special admission. Applicants must undergo AI interviews. More accurately, it’s an in-depth interview of Grayson’s parents. The goal is to see what kind of role the parents had played in raising their child as a talented human being. You know what it’s like. AI is capable of accurately discerning between what is true and what is not. We can no longer lie in or forge personal statements like in the past. I can’t dare fabricate in front of the AI interviewer because it’s like being polygraphed. Don’t you think the world is too scary?” 

‘What would be left in my past if the memories of a faded love disappear?’

“추억이 없는 사람도 있니?” 

“나한테는 그 딴게 없어. 난 지금 그게 꼭 필요하거든”

“그레이슨의 특별전형에 필요해서 그래.

특별전형은 AI 면접을 통과해야 돼.

정확히 말하면 그레이슨의 부모 심층면접이라고 할 수 있지.

자녀를 훌륭한 인적 재원으로 길러내기까지 

부모는 어떤 역할을 했고, 기여를 했는지 보는 거야.

너도 알잖아. AI가 가짜와 진짜를 얼마나 정확하게 걸러내는지.

자기소개서 같이 서류를 꾸며 쓰거나 조작할 수 있었던 시절이 좋았지.

이건 뭐 거짓말탐지기 앞에서 조사 받는거나 다름없으니 지어낼 수가 있어야지.

정말 무서운 세상 아니니?”

‘희미한 사랑의 추억이나마 사라져버린다면 내 과거에는 뭐가 남는 거지?’

Kim Shin-woo (Born in 1978)    

: Debuted by publishing short story “Period of Immunity” on Maeil Sinmun in 2001

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