Love it or hate it, artificial intelligence is here to stay. From self-checkouts taking people’s jobs to the likes of ChatGPT used for everything from creating recipes to creating pop culture deepfakes, technology is moving at lightning speed and we’re being dragged along with it. However, it’s not all bad — some people are actually using AI chatbots to try and bring dead relatives and friends “back to life.”
When we die, we’re gone for good… or are we?
There are plenty of people who are interested in the idea of using AI to challenge that notion. For instance, futurist Ray Kurzweil (X-Files fans will know that name well!) has decided to use the technology to try and create a facsimile of people he’s loved and lost in life.
This isn’t a new endeavor, either. He actually started more than a decade ago, with his daughter Amy documenting his experiments in a comic book.
Ray Kurzweil started by trying to create a “replicant” of his deceased father.
To do so, he loaded his dad’s letters, essays, and musical creations into an AI system to give it a way to build a “person” resembling his dad. “I actually had a conversation with him, which felt a lot like talking to him,” he told Rolling Stone of his “dad bot.”
How long this conversation was and what they “talked” about is unclear. However, it does seem as though Kurzweil got something positive from the experience.
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Ray Kurzweil hopes to bring his dad back to life one day thanks to DNA and nanotechnology,
“We can find some of his DNA around his grave site – that’s a lot of information right there,” he said of his dream. “The AI will send down some nanobots, get some bone or teeth, extract some DNA, and put it all together. Then they’ll get some information from my brain and anyone else who still remembers him.”
Of course, that may very well be a pipe dream and is quite unlikely to happen in his lifetime.
One day, we’ll all be able to talk to the people we’ve lost.
However, he does believe that the idea of being able to “chat” with our loved ones from beyond the grave will be pretty widespread one day.
Whether or not that’s a comfort to some people remains to be seen. After all, you can never truly talk to someone who’s no longer living. You’ll always be talking to a computer, a non-sentient being, so it’s not quite the same and may actually do more harm than good.