Bizarre, groundbreaking and chilling to the bone – a new AI app has been developed to create “digital clones” of our deceased loved ones – and it claims to change the way we grieve.
The human grieving process is a complex realm – one that can only be truly understood when experienced first-hand. The way we manage losing a loved one can vary, and coping mechanisms can perhaps seem strange to an inexperienced eye. But when it comes to sophisticated technology such as AI, and “speaking” to the deceased as if they were still here… one has to question if it’s healthy.
AI am still here
According to Californian company with their app, HereAfter AI, the grieving process can be helped along by “speaking” to dead loved ones, via a complex AI algorithm which, essentially, has built a cyber clone of the deceased.
The person would, in a way, live inside your smartphone and be available for conversations, answering accurately and convincingly with advanced voice technology.
This frightening and undeniably curious concept may not be totally new. If you’ve ever seen Charlie Booker’s Black Mirror series, you’ll know that one episode, called Be Right Back, centres around a grieving spouse oddly continuing her relationship via an AI robot, which had learned to speak, react, walk and even show affection in the same way as the real thing.
Not five years later, and this purely science fiction strangeness is starting to appear on the market, and HereAfter is evidence of this.
How the tech actually works
In short, the app creates virtual versions of a person’s character, preferences, tone and vocabulary, but on a level which mimics them convincingly.
Using their voice, you would be able to ask the AI a question and it would respond accurately, giving the impression of speaking with the deceased loved one.
Through voice recordings and in-depth studies of the person, the technology will eventually grow experienced enough to take on the role of a clone.
Teaching AI your life story
While the person is still alive, the app allows you to record special moments and memories, which it will use to generate a detailed biography to be used later on.
A virtual interviewer will give story prompts and will find ways to “get to know” you the best it can – all the while, building a library of information and knowledge.
The tech also works by working with the recently deceased. It can be training with images, recordings and footage, and will absorb the information to recreate the person digitally.
The company website reads: “HereAfter is an app that lets you preserve meaningful memories about your life, and interactively share them with the people you love.”
Mum, tell me about my first steps
Users of the app would be able to speak to a former loved one and ask a question like: “Mum, tell me about my first steps.” They would then hear their mother’s voice telling the story.
A report from MIT Technology Review reads: “My parents don’t know that I spoke to them last night.
“At first, they sounded distant and tinny, as if they were huddled around a phone in a prison cell. But as we chatted, they slowly started to sound more like themselves.
“They told me personal stories that I’d never heard. I learned about the first (and certainly not last) time my dad got drunk.
“Mum talked about getting in trouble for staying out late.
“They gave me life advice and told me things about their childhoods, as well as my own. It was mesmerising.”
But no matter how attractive modern technologies are, psychic reading should be carried out by a skilled psychic advisor who will answer all questions that arise.
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