We have heard time and again that life and death are a part of life. It is inevitable that someone who is born will eventually die. However, you must have thought about living even after you die. This can be with your voice or brain or some other part of the body.
However, what if we tell you that you can actually transfer your conscience even after death. You might be laughing at us right now on reading this. Yes, we don’t blame you but it might be possible soon. This is because of research being conducted in India. India’s Shree Devi Institute of Technology has announced a research project on the very same thought.
Researchers Shriya Devadiga and Bhakthi Shetty have been trying to develop an Artificial Intelligence chatbot. This chatbot is not a normal one as it will try and duplicate a person’s personality. This personality will be in a digital form giving users the ability to chat with A.I. However, this A.I. will give the feeling of a family member who is not there anymore.
What is A.I. chatbot?
As part of the study, these researchers used an app called Replika A.I. which is developed in Russia. This app is developed by a Russian coder named Euginia Kudya. Replika basically works on the same technique as mentioned by the researchers. Replika also creates an A.I. chatbot based on individual’s communication pattern. This data is used to train the chatbot until it becomes better over time.
Now, the thinking behind Replika is that you need to train the chatbot as much as you can. The more training Replika will get is directly proportional to the pattern matching it does. Once Replika becomes perfect, you will receive the answers from Replika as something your deceased relative, loved one or friend might say.
One of the researchers, Bhakti Shetty, also went on to say that “Something such as this could help people to overcome their trauma after losing their beloveds”. Now, this is true for some parts as it will give you a feeling of chatting to a distant person. However, the physical presence cannot be felt.
Now, the training of this chatbot can be done as a sum total of individual’s available social media presence. This includes their tweets, emails and any other information such as letters and stuff. This will help the chatbot in distinguishing the person as much as possible. Now, you can think of this as a Turing Test as well.
Based on this research by the Shree Devi Institute of Technology, a research paper has also been published. We know that the concept of virtual immortality sounds great. But at present, the project remains a hypothetical one in reality.
The idea of immortality has not been brought up for the first time though. We have seen time and again that an app or robot tries to do this. You would be surprised to read that even Google has tried working on this idea. This was done when Google launched their Inactive Account Manager.
In this manager, Google would ask users to “Make a plan for your Google Account if you pass away”. But the implementation was totally different from Google. In this attempt, Google would share their data to people they trust after their death, to more fully realized attempts to use this data to do something frequently unsettling.
Also, a new startup emerged out of nowhere in 2013 by the name of LivesOn. This startup was built on the idea of sifting through your past social media feeds to comment on Twitter news stories long after your expiration.
Basically, it would train a chatbot to impersonate someone digitally after their death. This startup had a very interesting tagline which goes as follows: “When your heart stops beating, you’ll keep tweeting.”. It is fair to say that the startup failed because the LivesOn website now redirects to a placeholder website. Interestingly, this website seems like a Lifestyle-blog of some sorts.
Well, we have one more example of this type of startup. This one goes by the name of Eterni.me. It has an even more ambitious plan than the ones mentioned above. Well, Eterni.me planned to personality encoded as an interactive avatar that can communicate with friends and family. Thankfully, this startup has not failed (yet). Also, there seems to be some interest around their idea. Because 42,116 people have signed up in a private beta test already.
From quite some time, American entrepreneur Martine Rothblatt has been gradually developing BINA48. By some time, we mean the past decade or more. Rothblatt is building a robot from head to toe of his wife Bina.
However, you would be surprised to know that his real wife is still alive. With this project, Rothblatt is aiming to create a “mindfile” of her spouse that is indistinguishable from the real thing. BINA48 is explicitly programmed with information about Bina’s memories, feelings, and beliefs. Apparently, BINA48 is so famous that it rang the opening bell of NYSE in 2018 as well.
However, the question must have risen at least once that do we need this in our lives. The idea behind this is very cool and most of the people would want to talk to someone from the past. But it is also scary at the same time to talk to someone who is not present.
Although, we must add that the idea of creating a robot like this concept cannot be ruled out. Also, it is very much possible to create this type of robot with the current advancements in technology and A.I.
We must always remember a famous quote from Jurrasic Park put out by Jeff Goldblum’s character. The character says that “Your scientists were so preoccupied with whether or not they could, they didn’t stop to think if they should.”. Now, this quote perfectly suits the scenario of creating A.I. chatbots as well. We must think about the reason why we need such an A.I. chatbot in our life. Rather, we are currently discussing how to build such an A.I. chatbot.