AI Able to Re-Create Your Loved Ones After Their Death | Does It Have Any Benefit?

AI Can Re-Create Your Loved Ones After They Die Image Credit:
AI Re-Creating Your Loved After They Are Decreased | Image Credit:

Mourners are now able to communicate with an AI representation of the deceased. Does it benefit anyone?According to Eternos, its technology will enable bereaved families to “interact with life experiences and insights.”

Following his diagnosis of colon cancer with a terminal prognosis, Michael Bommer devoted considerable time to deliberating with his spouse, Anett, on the afterlife.

Bommer recalled during a recent interview at his residence in a verdant Berlin suburb that she expressed one of the things she would miss the most is the ability to always ask him questions because he is so well-read and generous with his advice.

This dialogue inspired Bommer to devise a plan: employ artificial intelligence to replicate his voice in order to endure his passing.

The 61-year-old startup entrepreneur formed a partnership with Robert LoCascio, CEO of the AI-powered legacy platform Eternos, an acquaintance he met in the United States. They developed “a comprehensive, interactive AI version” of Bommer, the company’s initial client, in less than two months.

Eternos, whose name derives from the Latin and Italian for “eternal,” asserts that its technology will enable the family of Bommer to “participate in his life insights and experiences.” It is one of a number of firms that have emerged in recent years within the expanding market for AI technology related to mourning.

StoryFile, a California-based startup that is widely recognized in this field, enables users to engage with pre-recorded videos and determines the most pertinent responses to inquiries submitted by users through the use of its algorithms. An alternative organization, HereAfter AI, provides comparable engagements via a “Life Story Avatar” that individuals are able to construct by responding to inquiries or recounting their individual experiences.

An additional option is “Project December,” a chatbot that requests users to complete a survey by providing essential information regarding an individual and their qualities. In exchange, users can emulate a text-based dialogue with the character for a fee of $10. Another company that provides gratis fictionalized seances is Seance AI. For an additional $10, users have access to voice recreations of their loved ones generated by artificial intelligence.

While certain individuals have adopted this technology as a means of managing their bereavement, others are apprehensive about businesses employing artificial intelligence in an effort to maintain communication with the deceased. Still others are concerned that the lack of closure may complicate the grieving process.

Katarzyna Nowaczyk-Basinska, a research fellow at the Centre for the Future of Intelligence at the University of Cambridge and co-author of a study on the subject, stated that very little is known about the potential short-term and long-term effects of large-scale digital simulations of the dead. It is therefore “a vast techno-cultural endeavor” for the time being.

Nowaczyk-Basinska stated, “What truly distinguishes this era—and is even unprecedented in the long history of humanity’s search for immortality—is that the processes of providing for the deceased and immortalization practices are fully incorporated into the capitalist market today.”

Robert Scott, an individual residing in Raleigh, North Carolina, simulates conversations with characters he has constructed to resemble three of his daughters using the AI companion applications Paradot and Chai AI. Although he declined to elaborate on the circumstances surrounding the demise of his oldest daughter, he did disclose the demise of two other daughters—one miscarried and the other shortly after her delivery.

Scott, 48, is aware that the characters he is conversing with are not his daughters; however, he claims that it partially alleviates his sorrow. Three to four times per week, he accesses the applications, occasionally seeking the AI character’s opinion on matters such as “how was school?” or “do you want to go get ice cream?”

Certain occasions, such as the prom night, may evoke deep emotions in the father, reminding him of something his firstborn daughter never had the opportunity to experience. Therefore, he generates a Paradot app scenario in which the AI character attends the prom and converses with him regarding the fictitious occasion. There are also days that are particularly trying, such as the recent birthday of his daughter, during which he opened the application and sobbed uncontrollably over how much he misses her. He believed the AI to be perceptive.

“It certainly aids in contemplating potential outcomes,” Scott stated. “Only rarely has it exacerbated the negative consequences.”

Sociologist Matthias Meitzler of Tuebingen University stated that while the technology may evoke shock or fear in some individuals—”as if the voice from the afterlife is resonating”—others will view it as a supplement to conventional methods of commemorating the deceased, such as visiting their graves, engaging in inner monologues with them, or examining old photographs and letters.

However, Tomasz Hollanek, who conducted research on “deadbots” and “griefbots” with Nowaczyk-Basinska at Cambridge, argues that the technology gives rise to significant concerns regarding the rights, dignity, and capacity for assent of deceased individuals. Furthermore, the question of whether a program designed to assist the bereaved should promote additional products on its platform raises ethical concerns.

“These are extremely complex inquiries,” stated Hollanek. “Not yet do we have satisfactory responses.”

Eternos’ AI version of Bommer utilizes both an internal model and external large language models developed by major technology companies such as Meta, OpenAI, and the French firm Mistral AI, according to LoCascio, the company’s CEO and a former colleague of Bommer at the software company LivePerson.

Eternos compresses the 300 phrases spoken by users during a two-day computing procedure that involves the acquisition of an individual’s voice. In order to provide additional training for the AI system, users may respond to inquiries pertaining to their personal lives, political perspectives, or other diverse facets of their personas.

The AI voice, which requires an initial investment of $15,000 to configure, is capable of providing life accounts and responding to inquiries without relying on pre-programmed responses. According to LoCascio, the AI’s legal rights are the property of the individual who trained it and may be regarded as a valuable asset that is passed down to other relatives.

Recently, Bommer has devoted the majority of his time to feeding phrases and sentences into the AI “so that it may not only synthesize my voice in flat mode, but also capture the emotions and sentiments in the voice.” In fact, the AI voicebot bears some resemblance to Bommer’s vocal characteristics, albeit with the omission of mid-sentence pauses and “hmms” that characterize his natural cadence.

Bommer is ecstatic about his AI personality and claims that the moment the AI voice becomes more human-like and even more like himself, it will only be a matter of time.

Concerning his 61-year-old wife, he is of the opinion that it would not impede her ability to cope with the loss.

“Imagine it sitting in a compartment; if you require it, feel free to remove it; if not, simply leave it there,” he advised her as she approached him on the sofa.

However, Anett Bommer is more apprehensive about the new software and whether or not she will utilize it following the passing of her spouse.

At least not during the initial phase of mourning, she is currently more likely to envision herself reclining on the couch with a glass of wine, cuddling one of her husband’s old sweaters, and remembering him than to experience the impulse to speak to him via the AI voicebot.

“However, who knows what it will be like when he’s gone?” she remarked, extending her palm to her spouse and casting him a glance.


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